There is almost no more enjoyable and effective way to get exericse with your dog, as well as strengthening the bond between you, than going on a hike together. But before you head out, make sure you and your dog are properly prepared.
While it’s beyond the scope of this article to try to prepare you if you are a novice hiker, suffice it to say you need to be in proper physical condition and know at least the basics of hiking safety before you even think of taking your dog with you. There are lots of resources such as local hiking clubs which you can join to get experience and also online resources such as these from the American Hiking Society.
Also, before you go hiking with your dog, he should be trained to follow basic commands and should be well socialized and also be comfortable walking on a loose lease. If this base is not in place, you might well find yourself in the uncomfortable situation of having to deal with a misbehaving dog or a dog that is fearful while on the hike.
Here are some of the supplies you will want to take along:
One – You will need a good sturdy dog leash. Avoid retractable leashes as they are all too easy for your dog to get tangled in something.
Two – Your dog should be wearing a good quality collar with attached identification. Optimally, he will also be microchipped.
Three – Tie a brightly colored (preferable hunter orange) bandana around his neck as well. This will let you easily spot him if he wanders away from you and also prevents hunters if they are in the area from mistaking your dog for prey.
Four – Carry plenty of fresh water for both you and your dog and a lightweight, collapsible bowl so he can drink.
Five – You will also want to take along some food or dog treats if the hike is going to be a long one.
Six – First aid supplies for any accidents on the trail are a must have, for both you and your dog. Carry basic items such as roll guaze and vet wrap to keep it in place, a small pair of scissors, sterile Telfa pads to cover any scrapes or wounds, one inch medical tape and antibiotic ointment.
Seven – And don’t forget those all important poop bags or a small shovel if you plan to bury your dog’s waste away from the trail.
That’s it! Enjoy your hike. Next time we’ll look at more hiking basics.