Hiking with Your Dog

Do you like to hike? How about with your dog? If you said yes, you are in luck – we have some of the world’s best hiking trails close to home. And your dog just may be the best hiking buddy of all time.

Here are some tips to ensure you are prepared before hitting the trails:

Is Your Pet Fit Enough for the Hike?

Make sure your dog is capable of the physical exertion involved in a hike – more specifically, the hike you have chosen. Things to consider are your pet’s age, weight and breed. Also, make sure you take the temperature into consideration. Dogs can overheat on hot days. Take lots of breaks to ensure your dog does not get too hot. You should ask your veterinarian for guidance on whether your dog has any limitations.

Flea and Tick Prevention
It is always best to be safe and ensure those nasty ticks and fleas will not be a problem for your dog. Talk to your vet about the best preventative for your dog and for where you will be hiking.

Dog Restrictions/Park Regulations
Most hikes in the Canadian national and provincial parks allow dogs, but it is always best to do your research before heading out. Remember, most regulations state that dogs must be on a leash at all times. For those of you heading south of the border, make sure you do your homework. Most US national parks do not allow pets.

You and your dog will be burning up lots of calories while on the trail. It is important to make sure he has the energy to endure the day. Bring along his favourite snacks or even some of his normal kibble and keep him energized throughout the day. Also, bring along a collapsible bowl and plenty of water to last the trip. It is a good idea to have some extra left in the vehicle – perhaps in a small cooler – for the end of the day as well. While some of the trickling streams may look inviting to drink from, it is best to avoid and drink the water you brought from home. That clear mountain water could have nasty parasites and make both you and your pooch very sick.

Pick up After Your Pet
Although not a pleasant thought, you must pack out your pup’s poop! Be prepared and bring lots of poop bags. You can also bring a plastic bag or container to carry it in, so it does not leave a lingering odour. Typically hiking trails have garbage bins at the trailhead, so you don’t have to pack all the way home.

First Aid Kit
Many of us already bring along a first aid kit, but it is equally important to bring a pet first aid kit and know-how and what to use in case of an emergency. Many things can happen while out there, so make sure you are prepared to provide first until you are able to get to a veterinarian.

Here is a link to help you build your pet first aid kit and learn about some common conditions that require first aid.

Written by: Shelly Loree, Practice Manager