Going with a hike with your canine companion is not the same as going for a walk around the park or even a jog at the beach. There is no question that canines can physiologically endure a wilderness hike; in 2019, a mutt named Cactus left his desert camp in Morocco to join a group of ultramarathon runners through the Sahara Desert, and he actually ended up covering a greater distance than the endurance athletes.
It should be noted, however, that Cactus grew up running alongside nomad clans, thus having the prior stamina to complete a race that only high-endurance human athletes are able to. With this in mind, here are a few recommendations for taking your dog along when hiking:
Along with this, make sure you don’t miss out on the 10 essentials of hiking.
Make Sure Your Dog is Allowed on the Trail
Just like there are many city parks that do not allow dogs, the same can be said about nature preserves. Make sure that the trail you intend to hike allows canines, and bring a couple of leashes and collars even if the dog hiking route is short.
Make Sure Your Dog Can Keep Up
Think about the longest distance your canine has previously covered in a single day; now think about the distance of the chosen trail. If your companion has not walked such distance in the past, you should think about physical preparation.
Let’s say your dog is used to walking a mile at the beach; he or she should be able to endure the same distance on the trail, but anything longer could become a risk when hiking with dogs.
Think About Parasites and Other Microorganisms
Just because the bacterial life at your favorite trails does not seem to affect you does not mean it will not affect your dog. Inform your veterinarian so that a decision can be made about vaccination before hiking with dogs; remember that you may need to wait up to two weeks for your dog’s immune system to be ready. As for more complex forms of life such as fleas and ticks, pack some repellent and fit your dog with a flea collar a couple of days before the trip.
Unless your dog is already used to drinking from local ponds in the neighborhood, you should not let it drink trail water, particularly if it is stagnant. You will need to carry twice the volume of water your canine drinks at home, and don’t forget to pack a collapsible bowl when preparing for your dog hiking trip. As for pet food, treats tend to work better on hiking trips, and you can always share protein bars as long as they do not have chocolate. Check out this article on How Much Protein Your Pet Should Get.
First Aid Kit
Emergency supplies for treating your dog on the trail are very important and will not take up too much room. Many of the items are the same that you would pack for humans, just make sure you include extra gauze, disinfectant, cold packs, wraps, and tweezers. If you do not bring an extra mylar blanket, be prepared to share it with your dog in case of hypothermia.
So, that is it guys! I hope you have a great time hiking with your dogs. Have fun and most importantly stay safe 🙂
Author’s BIO: I’m Mark and I have a serious thing for travel, outdoors and wilderness. I grew up in Oregon and camping outdoors with my father was one of the fondest memories of childhood. I enjoy camping and hiking and love to share what I’ve learnt over these years. You can find more of my adventures and tips at Outdoorily.