If you are stuck for new ideas of what to do with your dog, have you given consideration to taking them on a hike? While the prospect of undertaking that kind of challenge may fill you with dread and overwhelm you, it could be one of the best adventures you have. You need to put in the legwork beforehand, however, by planning and preparing properly and in this article, we will highlight some key tips.
Ensure You Are Both Fit and Healthy
It is important to make sure that both you and your dog are fit and healthy to take on the challenge of hiking up a mountain. Your dog’s age, breed, health history and weight all play a part in this and that’s even before figuring out the peak and even trail you are going to take. Sticking with that subject for the moment, you need to pick a mountain and specific hike that suit you both. Avoid choosing the route that you think will be the most exciting or challenging for you alone. Your dog is the pacemaker because he or she will ultimately be slower.
As dogs have a tendency to overheat easily when it is too warm, you need to pay close attention to the weather and climate of your desired location. Training is a must because the only exercise you and your dog may have done is a brisk jog around the local park. That is obviously not the same as taking on a mountain or steep hill.
While you may have some peaks and trails that you are interested in tackling; you need to check whether or not your dog is actually welcome. Remember, not all trails are dog-friendly, either because of the difficulty or just to give hikers a freer run of the mountainside. It is crucial that you find out the rules on the use of leashes. Some trails have strict rules, whereas others are more lenient.
Collar and Leash
It is likely you already have a collar and leash for your dog that works perfectly fine. However, it may be worthwhile investing a durable and robust enough for hiking. You should invest in a 4 ft or 6 ft leash instead of a retractable one to increase the amount of control you had. If you have a larger breed of dog though, you should consider buying a harness, as this will also improve the amount of control you have over your four-legged.
Pack Enough Food And Water For Both Of You
Food and water are a primary concern when you are hiking up a mountain on your own, so is even more important when you have man’s best friend at your side. Aim to pack more than enough food for your dog – it is usually best to take their favorite, regular dry food and some high energy snacks that will give them boosts when they need it.
Remember, it is more of a journey than a race and that you should take regular breaks. Not only can you use this as a chance for both of you to refuel while you rest, but you can also take time to enjoy the views. Bring more than enough water and even more if it is a particularly hot day. A big bottle of water may be enough but that will really depend on your dog’s size and how easily he or she sweats.
To go along with the food and water you take for your dog, you should give serious consideration to investing in a collapsible dog bowl. They fold away making them incredibly portable and do not take up much space in your backpack.
Remember The Golden Rule
The golden rule of spending time in the great outdoors is ‘leave no trace’. In other words, clean up after yourself and in this case, your dog too. If and when your dog goes to the toilet, don’t just leave it there for someone to trample on. Pick it up and put it into a bag, ready to be disposed of in a designated bin. If there aren’t any bins marked up specifically for dog waste, you may have to keep it in a rubbish bag in your backpack or somewhere. Before you despair at how nasty that might sound, it is worth noting that there are various dog poop bags out there now and most have a fragrance that blocks out any horrible scents.