Exercising with your dog is beneficial to you and your dog, so why not take your dog along when you go hiking? There’s lots of things to do with your dog. You both get to enjoy the outdoors and breathing fresh air, and you get the exercise you need that will improve your health overall. Here are the essential things you need when hiking with your dog.
Most dogs love being outdoors because they can explore new things, new scents, and above all, move around and have fun while being by your side.
But, it’s essential to understand that, just like you have specific needs when you go hiking, your dog will have its own.
Get the Green Light From the Vet Before Going Hiking
Consider, however, that some dogs can’t go on long hikes in the wilderness for different reasons. So, before you decide to head out, discuss the issue with your dog’s vet. From its size to its breed or age, the vet may discourage it.
But, if your dog’s vet is all for it, then you have to make sure, above all else, that your dog’s vaccinations are entirely up-to-date. You just never know what’s out there in the wilderness that could make your dog sick or worse.
You also have to consider that your dog may get bitten, so certain immunizations may be required just to be safe. Once you have the okay, grab your poop bags and don’t forget anything on the list below.
Top 5 Things You’ll Need to Go Hiking with Your Dog
- Choose a Colorful Reflective Harness
For one thing, a colorful reflective harness, when out in the wilderness with your dog, is just safer than a collar as it can help you find your dog easily in the dark. For another thing, using a leash on the collar could be potentially dangerous because, if your dog gets caught on a branch when chasing after an animal, it could choke.
2. Choosing the Right Leash For Hiking
Forget those retractable leashes because when you go hiking with your dog, you need a leash that is only up to 6 feet long. This is for your dog’s safety because a longer lead can become entangled in a low branch or a bush. The ideal leash must be in good shape and ideally, reflective for when it gets dark. With a good hiking leash, you have reasonable control over your dog to keep him safe on a narrow trail or away from animals.
3. The Essentials
Just like you need food and water when hiking, so too will your dog. A lot of energy is burned when hiking, so your dog will get hungry. Also, your dog must stay hydrated during the hike. Your dog will be hungrier and thirstier than usual, so be prepared with a lightweight, collapsible bowl and treats.
Make sure you stop for a water break for your dog every 15 or 30 minutes.
4. Dress Your Dog Right For the Hike
Whether you hike in the summer, the winter, on a hot and sunny day, or in the pouring rain, dress your dog right for the hike. If it’s freezing out, your dog may need a jacket or coat, and possibly boots.
Some dogs can’t handle certain weather conditions, so be prepared. Also, be prepared for different conditions because the weather is often unpredictable, possibly going from hot and sunny to cold and rainy.
That said, you’ll need to prepare for different weather conditions to keep your dog safe, like:
- Sunscreen for dogs, as recommended by your vet
- A raincoat
- A reflective vest
- Dog boots (to protect from the snow, abrasive trails, or mud)
- A backpack for dogs
The reflective vest or jacket is a good idea if you’re hiking close to sundown. As for the backpack, choose one that your dog can carry and that’s perfect for his size. And, when it comes to sunscreen, never use sunscreen for humans — choose specially formulated sunscreens for dogs.
5. First-Aid Kit
Whether you’re hiking alone, with a friend, or with your four-legged best friend, you need a first-aid kit. You need to consider special items in your first-aid kit when hiking with your dog. For instance, pack:
- extra padding
- extra gauze
- liquid bandages for paw injuries
- antiseptic to clean wounds
- tweezers to remove ticks
Now, you have the list of the most essential things you need when hiking with your dog. Do you have any other suggestions? We’d love to hear them, so let us know.