165 million people visit the myriad of national forests in the U.S.
Not only that, 40% of these visitors are hiking the trails at these forests. Hiking is not only a great form of exercise but it’s also a great escape and you can see some scenic views.
Should you hike alone? That’s never any fun! But it can be difficult hiking with a friend, a family member, your children, and even your significant other. So, who should you take hiking? Your dog, of course!
Do you plan on hiking with your dog? Keep these 10 tips in mind.
1. Find a Dog-Friendly Trail
You may think all outdoor environments are perfectly suitable for your pup.
However, not all trails are fond of Fido. Always plan your trip and ensure the places you’re taking your dog to allows dogs on the trail. Failure to do this can result in you and Fido being denied at the door with nowhere to hike.
Most trails have websites that state the rules. You can also contact the trail personally and ask if you can bring your dog.
2. Train Your Dog
All dogs love the outdoors. But hiking can tire out your doggy, especially if it’s not used to lots of physical activity. Train your dog to hike. If you plan on hiking a long trail, find a short trail nearby or take your dog to the park.
In addition, there’s a chance your dog will run into other people and maybe even other dogs. Make sure they’re well-behaved and have great social skills.
Keep in mind, some dogs can’t endure hiking. Puppies may be too young and senior dogs are susceptible to pain and weakness.
3. Bring Poop Bags
Even on the hiking trail, Pick Up Poop is the law. And your dog will see the hiking trail as a big toilet. So bring plenty of poop bags.
What if the trail doesn’t require picking up poop? Picking up your dog’s poop means you’re still mindful of others.
Besides, you wouldn’t want the perfect scenic view ruined because you inhaled a big whiff of doggy doo-doo, right? Neither would anyone else.
Another eco-friendly alternative to poopy bags is burying the poop. You should only bury poop if your dog did its business away from the trail, in case an unsuspecting hiker steps in it.
4. Pack Food, Water, and Treats
You need food and water while on the trail. And so does your dog! Food will help keep up Fido’s energy and they will get pretty thirsty on long walks. In addition, bring some extra bowls so your dog can eat and drink easily.
You should also feed your dog a little before the hike and give it some water so doggo is well-hydrated before the hike begins.
And will your dog be a good boy/girl? If so, they need some treats! Offer a treat when they have a big accomplishment.
5. Give Your Dog a Pack
Is all of your gear-carrying you down? If so, give some of your pack to your dog!
Depending on its breed and strength, carrying some supplies will help improve its fitness levels and create a little challenge for the hike.
What should your dog carry? Your dog should hold the essential doggy supplies!
This includes treats, a water bottle, an extra leash and harness, and other essential doggy gear.
If you decide to give your dog a pack, introduce to pack before the hike. Place the pack on the dog for each walk. Ensure it’s not too heavy and fits properly.
6. Bring a Doggy First Aid Kit
Will your human first aid kit also work for Fido? Don’t count on it. Fortunately, they make doggy first aid kits. These kits include supplies such as bandages, antibacterial wipes, gauze, anti-allergy medication, and flea/tick medication.
Ideally, you should never need it. But better safe than sorry, right? Your puppy could get some bad flea bites and cut itself. You don’t want doggo to suffer, so have the first aid kit ready.
7. Bring Their Favorite Toy
Is hiking only about walking and stopping to admire the nature? Maybe for you but not for doggo.
They will want to roll in the mud, lay out in the sun, and take a dip in the lake. If you don’t bring their favorite toy, they may resort to finding whatever sticks or stones and playing with them.
If your puppy is in a playful mood, you will at least know you have their favorite toy on-hand. This is especially important for long hikes or if you plan on camping overnight.
8. Pack Dog Clothes
Sure, your dog may get hot in the sun. But you never know about the weather and temperature changes. Always bring an extra pair of dog clothes.
For example, maybe it’s hot during the summer days, but the nights can get chilly.
Bring a little doggy sweater if you camp overnight. This also prevents your dog from sneaking in your sleeping bag (even though they probably will anyway!).
In case it rains, a rain shell will keep them nice and dry.
9. Always Be Financially Prepared
These tips aren’t limited to your doggy care. You should always have plenty of money in case anything arises. What if you need to take Fido to the emergency vet? What if he/she eats all of the food or a rodent gets to the food?
Save up plenty of money before your hike. If not, you can take out an installment loan. This helpful website explains these loans really well.
Hiking With Your Dog Is an Amazing Experience
Do you love hiking? If so, a hiking companion always makes the experience more fun. Hiking with your dog comes with many benefits. Following these tips ensures your dog will be safe and will have an amazing time.
Why is hiking so amazing? One of the many reasons why is it’s an affordable way to travel! We offer additional tips for travel bugs who also want to save extra dimes.