In honor of Pet Health and Safety Month this April, we have developed the ultimate guide to keeping your pet safe and healthy on your next hike!
Hiking can be a dangerous activity for both you and your dog. Bringing your dog to a new environment can pose a threat to their health and safety. Even the most experienced dog can still be placed in danger on a hike. As a result, you should take the time to do your research and learn about some of the ways you can better protect you and your pet on your next adventure!
Before you head to the trails, make sure you look into the route first. Double check that it is dog-friendly, and research the wildlife and terrain in the area. If there tends to be poisonous or dangerous animals on the trail, you may want to reconsider bringing your dog. If your dog has any joint problems or mobility issues, reconsider bringing them to a trail with terrain that is difficult to maneuver.
Be prepared to reschedule your hike if the weather isn’t ideal for you and your dog to have a safe and fun time. Rain can increase the likelihood of slips or injuries, and too warm temperatures can lead to dehydration and damage to your dog’s paws. If it’s going to be cold, make sure you have the proper blankets, boots, or jackets required to keep your dog comfortable and consider staying home if needed.
Make sure to pack enough food and water not only for yourself, but for your dog too! Think about how much you might need, and bring a little bit extra. Your dog will burn more calories hiking than a typical day, so make sure to keep them well-fed. Consider using a dog pack, like the ones from our sister brand, Alpha Pak, to allow your dog to carry their own supplies on your hike. You should also be sure to bring a bowl for food and water for your dog, like this one that collapses and fits easily on your backpack or even belt loop!
A lot can happen when you’re hiking with your dog. They could become scared by something in the wilderness and run off. Make sure your dog has proper identification on their collar. Also consider microchipping your pet to make the process easier if they get separated from you.
First aid kids aren’t just for humans! Consider bringing a first aid kit for your dog that has all the necessities in case your dog gets injured, like absorbent gauze pads, tweezers, an ice pack, and information about your veterinarian. These items could fit easily into one of Alpha Pak’s dog packs so your dog can carry their own supplies!
Check out our blog on what to pack in your dog’s first aid kid.
Hiking is a really exciting time for your dog, so they might not be as aware of their needs. Take regular breaks to check in with your dog to see if they’re feeling fatigued, thirsty, or hungry. Slow them down, and offer them some water and snacks while you rest and recover.
Most trails have a leash requirement and will fine any owners who allow their dogs off-leash, but you should still consider keeping your dog on a leash even if the trail doesn’t have a rule in place. This allows you to prevent injuries and keep your dog safe. If they encounter a wild animal, you can easily pull them in and keep them close to you. Also, other people on the trail might be afraid of dogs or bring a reactive dog, so keeping your dog on a leash can ensure everyone’s safety. If you don’t want to worry about having to hold a leash the whole time, check out Alpha Pak’s hands-free runner’s leash.
It’s very easy for your dog to pick up fleas and ticks on the trails without proper precautions. At least twelve hours before you go on your hike, be sure to give your dog a flea and tick preventative. In warmer months, ensure protection from heartworm. When you get home from the trails, check your dog for ticks during a bath, being sure to clean their fur and wipe down their paws.
Are you planning on going hiking with your dog soon? Tell us about it in the comments below, and follow @campingwithdogs and @myalphapak on Instagram to stay updated on other safety tips for you and your dog!