The “Dog Days” of Summer are fast coming to an end, and there is beginning to be a crispness in the air as the Autumn leaves are swirling around us. This is an awesome opportunity for you to consider taking your relationship with your canine companion a few steps further as you try out these hiking tips with your furry best friend. Hopefully these tips will help you become best hiking buddies for many years to come!
As nature lovers, we also seem to be avid animal lovers. There is often a very close bond between us and our furry companions. Since we will be taking our babies for walks anyway, why not consider creating an even closer bond by including them on our hiking adventures!
The first thing we should do is make sure our dogs are physically up to the hike ahead. Begin with a visit to the Veterinarian, and after all the necessary vaccinations, make sure he or she is old – or young – and healthy enough, for this activity. If your Baby has not been spayed or neutered, and you want to avoid any problems with you becoming a Fur Baby Grandparent on your hiking adventures, you just may want to take care of this “problem” while you are at the Vet’s Office. If you do want Grandpuppies one day – just not right now – you may want to plan your adventure during the proper time of the month for your Little Ladies . . .
If you are the proud parent of one of the short nose breeds of dogs, such as Boxers, Pugs, Bulldogs, etc, please discuss their ability to hike in the first place due to their respiratory complications. Just plan beginning with short, easy hikes on cool, shaded trails, take it slow and be sure to include lots of breaks!
UH OH . . . . DID I HEAR THE WORD “VET”??????
It is also EXTREMELY important that your dog knows, understands, and follows ALL of your commands, or instructions. Please make sure that you two have this training down to a fine art, and it is totally second nature to you and your dog – well before you even consider taking him on a hike with you. You will probably be meeting many fellow hikers, and a lot of them may be with their families, including young children, and their dogs also. Your companion must know how to interact with anyone they come in contact with, and it is a great benefit if your dog is friendly, easygoing, and definitely not aggressive. It is also very charming to other hikers if your dog knows how to greet them by sitting and possibly shaking their hand. Our canine companions are an extension of ourselves – they often share our personalities and traits, and so many times, they easily pick up on our moods and vibes. We need to keep this in mind, and always try to stay calm, relaxed, and positive, for ourselves, our dogs, and anyone, including other animals, we encounter along the trails.
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It is now time to locate the perfect trails so the hiking adventures can get underway! Look for short, easy shaded trails, and make sure the trails are pet-friendly. Almost all hiking trails will allow dogs, but they will specify that they be on a leash, that you have doggie poop bags, and that you please clean up after your dog. These are chores that good, responsible pet owners will perform anyway, and it is no inconvenience at all when you get to spend awesome, quality time enjoying nature with your very best friend!
Now, there are some supplies that you will have to invest in to make sure your dog is comfortable, safe, and well protected while on the hiking trails. A collar with your pet’s name and your phone number is a must, just in case the worst happens and you become separated. A well-fitted harness that your dog cannot slip out of is important also. It will be more comfortable to them without causing any injury to their armpits or any other body parts.
You can make the hike more enjoyable for your dog by purchasing a retractable leash. They will feel freer, but you will still be in total control of just how far ahead they can wander.
You may also want to take along a pet first aid kit, because it is always better to be prepared for anything. It never hurts to have something with you and not need it, than to need something and not have it. I have heard this saying all of my life, and it really has paid off for me more times than I can remember! While you’re at it, don’t forget the insect repellent – for you and for your dog. Insects are just as much of a nusience to our babies as they are to us, plus preventing them from being bitten or stung in the first place could keep them from an illness caused by the insects later on, such as heart worm.
Give your canine companion a chance to take numerous breaks, hopefully in cool, shady areas, if at all possible. Also, be sure to bring along plenty of water for you both. When in doubt if you have enough water, bring along a little more. Please don’t forget a snack or some food to increase your energy levels! I have discovered just how convenient and efficient collapsible food and water bowls are for our pets. No more lugging around large containers of food and water, then the big, awkward bowls also! These collapsible bowls are life savers, especially when it comes to saving every bit of space you can!
With all the time you and your best friend have invested in training to follow your instructions, trips to the vet, all the cool gear you have purchased for your hiking buddy, it is finally time to get out there and go for that hike! Just remember to take this new adventure slowly, be kind and patient, and you two will hopefully become the very best hiking buddies for life!