Hiking is a fun activity that can be enjoyed at any time of the year, and it’s a great way to get exercise, breathe in fresh air, and spend some quality bonding time with your furry friend. However, you’ll need to do a little planning before hitting the trails.
First and foremost, it’s important to consult your veterinarian to assess your dog’s physical health and abilities. They can also ensure that your dog is up to date on vaccinations, including flea and tick treatments.
Once you get the green light and determine a hiking trail that matches your dog’s fitness level, it’s time to pack for your adventure! Here’s a few things you’ll want to include in your hiking gear:
Animal First Aid Kit: If you don’t already have a first aid kit, you will want to put one together. Check out our list of things you should include for a basic animal first aid kit. In addition, it’s a good idea to have an extra leash or tether on hand.
Water bowl: Always have a water bowl and fresh water supply for your dog. Lakes and streams can contain contaminants and parasites that could make your dog very ill. The same can be said for snow if you are hiking in the winter. If you need to purchase a compact water bowl, the Ontario SPCA and Humane Society has a great option that gives back to the animals in need.
Collars and tags: In addition to keeping your dog leashed, always keep your tags up to date and attached securely to your dog when hiking. You never know when your dog might get spooked or have the urgency to run after a forest critter and get separated from you. You should also ensure that your dog is microchipped as a permanent form of identification.
Protective gear: Attaching a bear bell to your animal is a great way to scare off animals and keep both your dog, and wildlife, safe. In addition, a brightly coloured and reflective vest or jacket will ensure your dog is visible in both in daylight and as the sun begins to set.
Poop bags: It’s just as important to pick up after your dog on a hike as it is when walking him in your neighbourhood.
Belt bag: A good belt bag can help you carry some of your supplies while keeping your hands free. Check out our Paws & Give site to see an example.
These are some of the essential items to help you stay safe and comfortable on your hiking adventures. Remember, this is going to be new for both of you, so start things off slowly. Regardless of your dog’s level of athleticism, begin by taking shorter hikes and see how they respond to a new environment and activity. Chances are that your dog will be excited and intrigued by all the new sounds and smells.
Looking for additional advice on hiking your dog? Check out the blog post Hiking with Fido for additional tips.
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