Nothing beats a great hike in the woods. Fresh air, great exercise, and becoming one with nature. Could anything beat that? Yes, something is better than a great hike in the woods. Hiking with dogs!
Hiking with your four-legged friends takes hiking to a whole new level. But for a great day (or week) with your furry friend(s) you need to understand, know, and prepare for the differences that Bingo will bring to your hiking experience. Not only will you enjoy the trail with your friend, but it will give your dog a much-needed workout.
Apart from the extra responsibility of taking care of your canine friends, there’s a whole lot more to hiking with him/her.
How Do I Find Dog Friendly Parks Near Me?
Excellent question. But before answering that question, you first need to understand that your furry friend shouldn’t hike on just any trail. There are trails that are suitable for dogs and others that are not. So how do you know which park or hiking trail is best for your dog?
Avoid Rocks, Roots, and Rattle Snake-Infested Trails
Dogs have soft padding under their feet that can easily get cut. Taking your dog on a hiking trail with sharp rocks is tantamount to torture.
Roots, on the other hand, may not cut your dog’s feet but they can become insurmountable obstacles that will cut your hike short. The physical danger to your dog is that they can sprain or break a leg if a paw gets stuck in the roots.
Snakes are sneaky creatures. You never know when you will bump into one. But some places are well known for their snake populations. Avoid them as much as you can. Especially rattle-snake territory. Dogs are naturally curious animals, and a rattler’s rattle will only attract their attention.
Avoid Trails with Animals
Especially if your dog is not as well trained as it could be, trails with animals are not a good idea. The best thing will be to keep your dog on a leash at all times. But that takes the fun out of hiking and can add more work for you.
Trails with a River, Pool, Pond or Lake are a Plus
Trails with water along the way or at the destination are good for dogs. For one, your dog will have plenty of water to drink on the hike. The other 2 benefits are:
- The water will help cool Bingo down. You too if it’s possible to take a dip.
- Bingo will have fun playing in the water
Make Sure the Trail Has Plenty of Shade
Dogs easily succumb to the elements, especially the heat. Because their fur coat is good at keeping in heat, it can become a disadvantage when the workout increases your dog’s temperature. Shady trails help overcome this challenge.
Preparing Bingo for the Trail
Now that you know what kind of trails are best for your dog, it’s time to prepare your dog (and yourself) for the adventure ahead. Here are a few ways you can do that.
5 Best Dog Harnesses for Hiking
Make Sure Your Leash is Close at Hand
Whether the trail you are going on has animals or not, you still need to take a leash with you. And keep it close. You never know what you will meet on the way. For example, some trails have horses on them. When approaching or being approached by horse riders, it’s best to put your dog on a leash and move off the trail. This is to prevent Bingo from startling the horse.
- EASY GLIDE BELT CLIP: Unlike other hands free leashes which force your leash to stay in one position, our durable clip...
- EASILY CONTROL YOUR DOG: It's no fun having to stop right in the middle of an energetic run. Our TWO conveniently placed...
- ADEQUATE RUNNING ROOM: Your dog can comfortably run in front of you, or beside you, without feeling like you are...
- Make sure the harness is tight enough to be comfortable, loose enough not to chafe.
- Ensure the pack is well balanced.
- Load it with essentials (especially food and water).
- COOLING MESH - Breathable mesh provides airflow & keeps your dog cool on the go
- HIGH VISIBILITY - Never lose sight of your dog with bright coloring & reflective piping
- ADJUSTABLE STRAPS - Comfortable adjustable straps enable full range of motion and keep the pack in place
Buy (or Better Still, Make) Some Booties
- RUGGED: Tough waterproof anti slip sole provides stability and traction, protection from sharp thorns, hot pavement and...
- QUALITY: Our shoes have a rugged sole and high quality fabrics that are then sewn together (not glued like cheaper dog...
- SIZING: Use the size chart located in the pictures to determine the right size shoe for your dog's paws. We are also...
These are to help prevent paw cuts. You can never be too careful on a hiking trail. Besides avoiding cuts, dog booties protect your dog from extreme temperatures. Rocks and paths can be extremely hot or cold depending on the season. These extremes can be damaging to your dog’s paws.
Start with Short Trails
In order to determine your dog’s behavior, stamina, and food and water requirements, it’s best to start with short hikes. Increase the distances as you understand your dog better. Shorter hiking trails also help your dog get used to hiking and strengthens his muscles.
Hiking With Dogs – The Adventure of a Lifetime
After doing your research and finding the “dog-friendly parks near me”, take the tips above and prepare for the adventure of a lifetime with your trusted dog. Hopefully with many others to follow. Not only will the exercise be good for the both of you, but hiking with your dog is the best way to bond.
Ready for a great hike with your dog? I am. Here boy!