Responsible pet owners know the significance of exercise for pets. More so than some other pets, most dog breeds require daily walks and runs. These physical activities serve a number of purposes; keeping the dogs busy, spend their energy in a meaningful manner, valuable time spent with the pet owner (ideally), and much more. One of the more niche habits in the same mould is going hiking with pet dogs. Though, this usually happens only when the pet owner is the one who likes to backpack/hike.
Of course, even if you are a hiker, it isn’t a given that your dog would share your passion. While some dog breeds are very suitable for long hikes on uneven terrains, some are not suited for them due to their physical and mental attributes, or the lack of them.
So before you go for your first hike with your dog, it is important that you know if your pet dog would enjoy it. If yes, then figure out ahead of time what kind of trail is best for your dog. A long, challenging one or one which that lets you test the waters a little but doesn’t pose a big challenge.
Keep in mind that individual dogs from the same breed may have different attitudes, habits and nature. Which means you have to assess for yourself if your dog is fit for such a trip.
Do you think you can control your dog when it is excited? Does your dog’s age and health permit it to go on a trail, long or short? Even a healthy dog can lack in stamina which can lead to exhaustion in the latter parts of the hike. If that happens, your dog may become an extra burden on the way back.
External factors such as weather and the complexity of the hiking trail with regards to terrain, wildlife, and length play a big role in the decision of experienced hikers on whether or not they would bring their dogs along. So you should always try to find dog-friendly backpacking trails.
Finally, get the vet’s opinion on the subject and if there is a strong objection to a particular dog’s hiking trip, forget about taking it with you.
Essential Items to Take When Hiking with Pet Dogs
Now admittedly, there are better resources available if you want to learn how to prepare for a hike. But in the context of hiking with a pet, we have some important tips on what essential items you should pack. We will focus more on dog backpacking gear for your adventure.
- First of all, you must have fully prepared and separate backpacks for yourself and the dog. That way your chances of forgetting any important item are less. The weight of the dog’s backpack should not be more than 25 percent of its body weight.
- Keep plenty of food and water and by that, we mean enough, no more, no less. Usually, it is a little more than the everyday amount, however, based on weather, the weight of the dog and terrain.
- Plastic bags are always handy and useful. Especially when your dog starts emptying its stomach right on the trail instead of a spot further away from the designated tracks.
- Dog booties protect your dog’s paws during the hike. You don’t always need them but there’s no harm in having your dog wear these booties from start to finish.
- Take an extra rope on account of another living being with you. It can be conveniently used in many situations.
- Some dogs abhor a coat that is all tangled up and in turn can be quite difficult to handle. A dog brush or a comb helps you prevent any such scenario.
- Make sure your dog collar has its name, your name and number, and dog license on it. Bonus points for rabies and other vaccination tags.
- Keep a first aid kit that also contains lotions, disinfectants, dressing and bandages for the dog in case of injury. Also keep a muzzle to keep your dog in check if it gets angry due to injury, heat or some other factor.
We will talk about how to handle a dog while on the hike in the next article. Meanwhile, if you want more information about pets, dog walking and pet sitting, visit SunnydaysPets.co.uk.