Paws on the Trail: Hiking Safely and Happily with Your Adventure-Loving Pet!
Ready to hit the hiking trails with your energetic and nature-loving furry friend? Hiking with your pet can be an exhilarating experience filled with breathtaking views, exciting discoveries, and endless tail wags. However, keeping safety in mind is essential to ensure a successful and enjoyable hiking adventure. So, lace up your hiking boots, and let's unleash the adventure!
Prepare for the Trail
Before you and your best friend venture into the great outdoors, take time to set yourself up for a safe and successful hiking experience. Research and choose dog-friendly hiking trails that allow pets. Be aware of any specific rules, restrictions, or trail closures.
When choosing your trail, consider your dog's age, breed, and physical condition. It is important to choose a trail that matches their fitness level to prevent overexertion or injuries. Make sure your pet is up to date on vaccinations, flea and tick preventatives, and overall health. If your pet has any pre-existing conditions, it is best to consult your veterinarian before embarking on a hike.
Pack the Hiking Essentials
Proper gear and supplies ensure your pet's safety and comfort during the hike.
Don't forget to bring:
A Sturdy Leash and Harness: Always keep your dog on a leash to maintain control and prevent them from wandering off or encountering wildlife. A well-fitting harness adds extra security and minimizes strain on their neck.
Collapsible Water Bowl & Fresh Water: Stay hydrated on the trail by packing a lightweight, portable water bowl and sufficient water for both you and your pet.
Snacks and Treats: Bring along small, lightweight treats to reward your pet during breaks or as a motivation for good behavior.
Pet First Aid Kit: Include basic first aid supplies like bandages, antiseptic wipes, and tweezers in case of minor injuries. Check out our full blog post to learn how to build a pet first aid kit.
Trail Etiquette and Safety
Respecting trail etiquette and practicing safety measures ensures a positive experience for everyone while you enjoy your hike. Always keep your pet leashed throughout the hike. This protects wildlife, prevents conflicts with other hikers or dogs, and keeps your pet safe. While on the trail, yield to hikers, bikers, or horseback riders by stepping to the side of the trail and allowing them to pass. Keep your dog close to you to avoid any disruptions.
Monitor your pet's energy levels throughout your hike and watch for signs of fatigue, such as excessive panting, lagging, or reluctance to continue. Take breaks as needed and adjust the hike accordingly. If they don’t want to continue up the trail it’s best to turn around and head back home.
Be aware of your surroundings and keep your dog away from wildlife encounters. Avoid areas with known wildlife risks or during sensitive breeding seasons.
Protect Those Paws
Your pet's paws are essential for a successful hiking adventure. Before and after the hike, check your pet's paws for any cuts, thorns, or signs of irritation. Clean their paws if needed and apply a pet-safe paw balm or protectant. Consider using dog booties or socks to provide extra protection from rough terrain, hot surfaces, or sharp objects.
Leave No Trace
Preserving the natural beauty of hiking trails is crucial. Carry waste bags and promptly clean up after your pet. Dispose of waste properly in designated bins or pack it out if necessary. Stick to designated trails and avoid cutting corners or creating new paths. This protects the local flora and fauna.
Quick Action Saves Lives
Emergencies can happen in the blink of an eye. If you believe that your animal is ill or may have ingested a toxic substance, contact your local veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 1-888-426-4435.
If your pet needs is ill or injured and needs care, call your primary veterinarian if they are available or call DoveLewis at 503-228-7281 for help if you see any signs of pet distress including sudden changes in behavior, depression, pain, vomiting, or diarrhea. We have veterinary technicians available 24/7 to help.