October 18, 2021
Hiking can be a great activity for you and your best friend, bringing you both closer together, and closer to nature. When preparing for any trip, however, preparation is key. Before you head out on the trail for a fun romp, make sure you and your pooch are ready for the trip.
Many parks allow pets to visit along with their owners, but they all have rules and regulations about behavior, and there may be some areas where your dog is not allowed. That’s why it’s important to look up your local park and find out more information so you’ll know what to expect from your trip. If you are planning to visit a national park, you can look up more information on the National Park Service’s website and find out what policies are in place for pet visitors, and check their policies for service animals if your special pooch is a service animal. If you don’t live near a national park, look up your local parks and check for their policies on their website. You can also check out lists of the best parks to visit with your dog.
Hiking can be a great way for your dog to stay in shape, but if your dog isn’t healthy enough, it may be an activity it’s better for you to do alone. Take your pet for a trip to the vet to make sure your pooch is healthy enough to go for a hike. Keep your dog up to date on vaccines, deworming and heartworm treatment, and flea and tick preventatives to make it less likely that your dog will catch or spread any illnesses. If you find your pet has allergies that might make being in nature difficult, consider giving them medicine or a supplement to help treat the symptoms, such as Ready Pet Go’s cheese-flavored Allergy + Immune Chews.
You won’t just encounter beautiful sights and sounds on your hike. You might also encounter other hikers, other dogs, wildlife, unexpected sounds, and things that could potentially startle them. Know your pooch’s physical limits, fears, and any other potential triggers they might encounter on the trail. Have a plan in place if your dog encounters anything that could cause stress.
The National Parks Service asks all visitors with pets to follow a basic set of rules to ensure that the visit is a safe and happy one. Be prepared to follow these guidelines if you plan to bring your dog on a hike.
B. Bag your dog’s waste
A. Always leash your pet
R. Respect wildlife
K. Know where you can go
When you’re preparing for your hike with your dog, make sure that you pack the supplies both of you will need for a successful trip. Pack extra water for both you and your dog (since dogs can’t sweat, panting and adequate hydration are essential for a good hike) poop bags, a good leash, a collar with ID tags, plenty of treats, a first aid kit for emergencies, booties for rough terrain, and other essentials for hiking with your dog.
Before a trip to the trail, your dog should understand basic obedience commands such as “Come,” “Sit,” “Stay,” “Quiet,” and “Down.” Your dog should also be properly socialized and able to walk on a loose leash politely.
Another reason it’s so important to know your dog and visit the vet before taking hikes together is that it is possible you will encounter local wildlife. Study up on local wildlife and make sure you have a plan if you encounter any of these creatures on the trail. Keeping your dog up-to-date on vaccines, dewormer, heartworm, and flea and tick preventative can help protect against illnesses that can be caught from wildlife, but it’s also important to keep your dog on a lead and under your control since wildlife can also catch illnesses from dogs, or be killed if your dog decides to give chase. Make sure you and your pet are prepared to give the local wildlife space if you meet on the trail.
Following these guidelines will help ensure that your trip to the park with your best friend is low-stress and a positive experience you will both remember for years to come.