While it may be tempting to just let your furry friend tag along with you, it’s important to take some considerations when bringing them with you. Despite being energetic and seemingly independent creatures, your four-legged friend still has certain limitations. Therefore you need to practice specific precautionary measures when you bring them with you on your hiking trip.
Here are some things to consider when going on a hiking or camping trip with your dog:
Check Your Dog’s Stamina
Hiking and camping is a physically challenging activity - quite different from having the zoomies in the backyard. Dogs have varying strength and stamina. Make sure that your companion can last several hours on the trail. While some dogs can endure a long hike or walk, some might need a little bit of training to be able to reach your target destination.
Consider your dog’s age and health, as these factors can significantly affect its capacity to go on long hikes. Another thing to consider is their nature. Certain breeds should not be taken on endurance hikes and are not physically fit for such strenuous activities. It is best to check with your vet to see if your dog can be brought along on adventure trips.
Find Pet-Friendly Camping and Hiking Grounds
Research trails and campsites that allow dogs. While some campgrounds do not permit dogs, there are plenty who do welcome them, often in certain areas and with restrictions. Do your research in advance to make sure you and Sparky will have a place to rest your heads after a long day’s hike.
Clean After Your Dog
When you bring your pet along, be responsible and pick up their waste. It keeps other’s shoes clean and prevents bacteria in their waste from contaminating groundwater supplies.
Bring plenty of doggie bags with you every time you go out on the trail. Doggie bag stations are not typically found along a path or at a campsite, so bring your own and don’t let Fido get caught with his pants down.
When disposing your pup’s poo, throw it in covered trash bins. If you are at a backcountry site, and containers are not available, follow the same rule of thumb for burying your waste - bury it at least 8 inches in the ground, and at least 200 feet from any campsite and water source.
Pack Enough Food and Water
Dogs also get exhausted and hungry. Therefore, you need to pack enough food and water for your pet. Keep your dog hydrated and bring ample treats to keep its energy level up.
Also, while you’re on the trail, be on the lookout for anything dangerous that your dog might try to eat. If you see it chewing on something, it’s essential that you figure out what it is. Having your dog on a leash reduces the possibility of it munching on mushrooms and other random, potentially poisonous plants or animals that it finds on the trail. If you decide to let your dog off-leash, make sure to keep an eye out as it runs and roams around.
Avoid Going Off-Road
Aside from a potential injury due to sharp rocks and rough terrain, going off-road can lead you to unstable roads, steep trails, and cliffs. It pays to follow the trail markers and make sure you and your furry buddy stay on the right track.
Hiking and camping are best shared with family and friends, As most of us consider our dogs to be our family members and best friends, sharing adventures and creating memories with them in nature is a sure way to make the most of our limited time with our pups. Just be sure that you are prepared and ready for anything that you have to face on the trail.