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The only thing your dog enjoys more than napping and eating is spending time with you, their beloved owner! Now that the snow has melted and the temperatures are warmer, you may find yourself wanting to spend more time outdoors soaking up the sunshine. What better way to do so than to hike with your dog! Hiking is fantastic exercise and a perfect way to enjoy the great outdoors with your dog! Dogs make great companions and watching them take in the sights, sounds, and spend time in nature is invigorating. That being said, it is so important that you keep the safety of your pet at the forefront at all times. Oftentimes like humans, dogs tire easily and can be at risk for heatstroke on warmer days! We have compiled a list of some precautions to take before you and your four-legged friend hit the trail that should help keep your experience fun and safe!
- Take your dog’s physical condition into consideration
First off, you may want to take your dog on long walks around your neighborhood before hitting the trail. This will help you gauge how your dog will fare on a 2-mile hike vs. a 6-mile hike. Doing this is also great for helping your pet build their endurance. It is important to remember that dogs will typically not show you that they are tired while they are walking so it is your job to notice these signs and not push them too hard! Even your well-seasoned hiking pooch will at some point begin to slow down. Your dog will do anything for you, so it’s very likely to push its boundaries to please you.
- Prepare for weather and terrain
This is so important and one step you do not want to miss! The night before, make sure you know what the weather looks like for the following day of your hike. If the temperatures are going to be very high please, and we can not stress this enough, please be sure to pack enough water for your pup. Hot weather can be extremely dangerous for you and your dog if you are not prepared! If there is not a stream or river on the trail that you will be passing by, consider packing extra water that you can bathe your dog in when you stop for a break. As mentioned before, your dog can suffer from heat exhaustion if it becomes dehydrated and can not cool down. In order to prepare for the terrain, it is a good idea to read reviews of any trails you’re considering walking on. This is also the perfect time to make yourself aware of any dangers you and your dog may encounter. Depending on where you are hiking you could come across scorpions, poisonous caterpillars, snakes, bears, poisonous plants, etc. This leads us to our next tip!
- Pack a first aid kit
Even though dogs tend to be more nimble than us humans, they can still succumb to the same injuries when hiking! Your regular human first aid kit will typically have the supplies that both you and your pet could need for any simple cut or abrasions. There are a few things we recommend adding which include booties for your pet’s paws, and our Matico Natural Healing Spray! This spray will come in handy especially if your pet forms a wound on the trail to their paw or inside of their mouth! The Matico Natural Healing Spray will also help treat sweat glands and sunburns as well. Another item you will want to have is a digital thermometer to check your dog’s temperature. A dog’s normal temperature should be between 101 and 102.5F. We also suggest talking to your vet in case there is anything they may recommend, for example, an antihistamine in case your pet gets stung and has an allergic reaction.
- Check for ticks
Once you and your pet have returned from an amazing day on the trails, make sure you look over them for any ticks they may have picked up along the way. Ticks can cause terrible medical problems such as Lyme Disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Even if you have your dog on some type of prevention they can still pick them up and transport them back to your home! You can check your dog by combing through their fur with your fingers. Press gently so you can feel any bumps on the skin. Ticks can be as small as a pinhead or as big as a grape. Don't forget to check their feet (including between their toes), inside their ears, and around the face and neck. This is also an ideal time to look over your pet for any cuts or scrapes too!
Hiking with your dog can be an extremely rewarding experience that creates lasting memories and a special bond! Be sure to give your pet plenty of breaks and watch for any signs of fatigue. We hope our list of tips helps you accomplish hiking safely with your dog and you and you have an unforgettable experience this summer!