Make sure you take these things into consideration before taking your dog on a hiking adventure
Take a Hike!
As fall is settling in nicely and we are all enjoying the break from the heat, let’s hit the trails and enjoy our beautiful coastal community. We have so many wonderful trails to visit to get our furry friend’s sniffer working in overdrive! Try the Skidaway Island State Park for some beautiful scenic paths along the waterways. For only a $5 parking pass in the gate, you can enjoy a day of hiking and even pack a picnic as there are many places to sit and eat while enjoying the fresh air!
Every pet owner loves bringing their furry friend along on adventures, and dogs can make excellent hiking companions, regardless of their size. Before you hit the trail with your pet, however, there are a few things you need to consider:
- Just as you choose trails that match your fitness level and abilities, you should also consider Fido’s physical fitness before hitting the trail. Hiking is more strenuous than walking and often involves uneven terrain and vertical climbs. Consider your dog’s normal level of activity when planning a hike. If a typical walk is less than a mile, for example, an 8-mile climb should be out of the question. Be sure to check the weather the day of the hike, too, because no matter how fit you and your companion are, a hot, humid day can wreak havoc on your health. You should also note any health issues, such as hip dysplasia or arthritis, that may affect your dog’s ability to enjoy a hike. While it’s obvious why senior pets may not be up to the climb, it’s important to remember that puppies’ bodies are still developing and may not be suited for hiking on uneven terrain, either.
- After considering your pet’s fitness, it’s equally important to take note of his obedience and behavior when planning a hike. You’ll be sharing the trail with other people and animals, so it’s important to bring only well-socialized pets on popular routes. Hiking companions should also be experts at sit, stay, heel and come and feel comfortable walking both on- and off-leash. Aggressive or timid pets will not be good at sharing the trail, so it’s best to work on socializing these dogs before taking them hiking. On the trail, you and your pet will be ambassadors for other hiking dogs, so always practice good etiquette by giving dog-free hikers the right of way and maintaining control of your pet. If you encounter a loose dog on the trail, put your own pet on a leash to avoid any potential confrontations. And remember: Always pick up after your pet both on and off the trail.
- Ensure your companion stays safe by choosing hiking routes without exceptionally steep climbs or ladders. Do your best to stop your pet from drinking standing water by packing his own water and dish. Especially on longer treks, plan on bringing plenty of fresh water and food for both you and your pet. You should consider buying a doggy “backpack” so your pet can carry his own supplies, making him feel useful and taking some of the burden off of your own back. Make sure your dog is up-to-date on vaccinations and has been adequately treated for fleas, ticks and heartworms before visiting your favorite hiking spot.
- With some planning, you and your four-legged friend can enjoy hiking together. It’s important to choose routes based on both of your fitness levels, always maintain control of your pet, and follow the “leave no trace” rule when it comes to picking up after your pet. By adhering to these simply guidelines, you can make hiking the best experience for you and your pet and act as positive ambassadors for other four-legged friends on the trail.
- For more helpful tips, be sure to visit Pet Bucket!
As the Holidays are approaching, One Love is always in need of foster pet babysitters for those families who travel during the holiday. Please remember that even though the holidays are here, pet overpopulation does not stop so there are always so many in need. Make a new year’s resolution to save a life! One Love supports their foster homes 100% in vetting and supplies. We host foster dog training and adoption events weekly. Please consider joining our family.
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