The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and nature is practically calling you to set off with your four-legged trail buddy and start exploring. But before you do, we’ve put together a list of tips, tricks, and things to keep in mind before escaping to the great outdoors.
Don’t leave anything for the last minute
Or in other words, have everything planned in advance. Not all parks allow pets and those that do often only allocate a specific part of their trails for pets. To save yourself the surprise of being denied entry to a park because of your furry friend, do your research in advance.
Know your pet and make sure that it’s physically capable of hiking with you. Older doggos may have a harder time keeping up with you on more challenging trails, which leads us to our next thing you should do.
Consult your vet. Make sure your pet’s vaccination is up to date and get the vet’s approval that your pet is physically capable of hiking in the trail you have in mind.
Last but not least, teach your pet trail manners. You have no control over how busy the trail is going to be, but you do have control over is how your four-legged buddy is going to react to people and animals you come across along the way. If your pet gets overly excited whenever he meets new people, then either get him used to being around new people or leave him at home, for his safety and the safety of those around it.
Have the right gear
Now that you educated yourself and you have the information you need, it’s time to make sure you have the right gear to hike with your pet.
Let’s start with the absolute essentials – water. NEVER rely on finding puddles or fountains along the way. Be sure to bring more than enough water for both you and your furry friend, preferably in a dog bottle, to make serving your dog water along the route more convenient.
Remember: dogs don’t sweat like us humans and can overheat a lot faster than us. Check on your pooch regularly, and be sure to make enough water breaks along the way. Having a dog bottle allows serving water while walking, and the included clip means you can clip it to the outside of your backpack and save yourself the time and effort of making a special stop to take your bag off.
The same rule goes for food – it’s better to have more than you need than not to have enough. That, of course, doesn’t mean that you should let your pet eat too much. That will only make your pet throw up, putting it at risk of dehydrating. Consider buying a collapsable food bowl to save up space in your backpack.
Be considerate to other hikers and bring poop bags to pick up after your pet. No one wants to hike in a trail covered in poop, especially when it’s your dog’s poop and not the poop of some rare exotic animal.
Hiking in nature can be a lot of fun, but you never know what you’re going to encounter, so it’s important to always be prepared for the worst. It’s important to research the rules and regulations of the park your planning to visit and consult friends and people who hiked the same trail with pets before.
As far as the gear and things to take with you go, a good rule of thumb is to always take more than you need. A dog bottle can help make serving water while walking more convenient and a folding food bowl will help you save up on some much-needed room in your backpack.
Lastly – always keep your dog away from the wild animals you encounter along the trail. Even if an animal seems to be harmless and to interact with your pet positively, you can never know what diseases it carries.