Taking Your Dog on a Hike This Summer? What You Should Know!

Taking Your Dog on a Hike This Summer? What You Should Know!

The summertime offers us many opportunities to bond with our dog by taking them with us on seasonal adventures.  One of the most exciting ways to spend the day with your precious pup is to bring them along for a hike, since the sights, smells, and sounds of the great outdoors can offer them all of the mental stimulation they need to be a happy canine.  

Before You Plan Your Next Hiking Trip

Hiking with your dog is generally a great idea, and an excellent form of exercise for everyone.  But, of course, any new environment poses a variety of risks that you need to be conscious of to keep your dog safe and happy throughout the experience.  Yes, there are more risks with hiking than there are with say, walking them around the block.  Still, as long as you make smart choices, it can be an incredibly rewarding experience.  So, this summer, consider bringing your dog on a hike by following each of these tips below, as this can hopefully once again, ensure that the experience is enjoyable and safe for both you and your pup. 

Tip #1: Consider the Time of Day, and the Weather

You definitely want to consider the time of day when planning out a hike with your dog, to make sure that they’re as comfortable as can be.  For instance, during a stretch of particularly hot, you’ll probably want to avoid the afternoon, when the temperature is at its peak.  Similarly, on a chillier summer day, the morning can be a bit too cold for your pup to be comfortable.  

Not only that, but you will need to be aware of the forecast before heading out.  For examples: 

  • If there is a thunderstorm threat that day, you don’t want to be stuck in the middle of the forest by yourself, let alone with your dog who is likely petrified of thunder and lightning.  
  • If there is a risk for high winds that day, you don’t want to be walking your dog through a wooded forest while tree branches may fall.  

Tip #2: Make Sure Your Dog is Fully Comfortable on a Leash

You should never take your dog on a hike until they’re completely leash-trained, and also, can handle being in a leash for a long stretch of time.  Otherwise, the hike can be a major struggle, and a frustrating experience for both you and them.  This is extra crucial because you never know what you’ll encounter on a hike, and you don’t want your dog to try to pull you in order to chase every chipmunk that passes across the trail.  Of course, you also need to keep in mind that you may come across other dogs while hiking, and you need to know that your dog is able to obey you rather than attempt to run over to another dog.

A dog that’s not fully leash-trained can even get injured if they struggle at any point, so you gotta take leash-training seriously.  Get your dog used to going on fairly long walks while leashed around your neighborhood before attempting to bring them to a more complex environment like a forest.

Tip #3: Be Aware of Ticks and Fleas 

Of course, ticks and fleas are always a threat in the summer, even in your own backyard.  But, the woods have higher populations of both critters, and you want to make sure that your dog is up to date with their flea and tick treatment so that they don’t take any home with them.  Ticks can be particularly dangerous, and are extremely common in the woods, where there’s plenty of tall grass where they can hide.  Coming home with a potential case of Lyme disease isn’t worth the fun of a hike, so make sure that you’re following preventative protocol so your dog can enjoy the great outdoors without taking the chance.

Tip #4: Consider Where You’re Taking Them

In general, dogs make great hiking companions, but you’ll want to consider the nature of the hike that you plan on taking them on.  For instance, an older or smaller dog may not be able to handle a particularly demanding, rocky or uphill hike.  If you’re feeling winded while hiking, you can imagine that your dog is getting quite fatigued.  It may be helpful to get them accustomed to hiking by starting out with a relatively short and easy trail.

Tip #5: Bring Water and Food

Water is a must, for you and your dog, while hiking.  Especially during the summer, it’s all too easy to get dehydrated, and a dehydrated dog is dangerous.  We recommend bringing some bottled water along with a bowl that is easy for you to put down so that they can lap up as much as they want.  Also, bring some sort of snack for them, since it’s very likely that they’ll get hungry.  If you’ve a particularly food-motivated dog, some treats are a great way to make sure that they obey you and avoid certain dangers while hiking.

Tip #6: Be Conscious of Wildlife

Of course, whenever you’re hiking, there is always the chance you will encounter some wildlife, whether it be snakes, chipmunks or bears.  Some species are more dangerous than others, and you’ll want to be extra aware if you’re bringing your dog with you.  For instance, encountering a mama bear and her cubs while hiking can be scary enough, but if your dog starts going after them, you can be in real danger.  The key is sticking to the trail, and always looking around you to stay away from dangerous animals as much as possible.

Tip #7: Think About Their Paw Pads

Be extra mindful of your dog’s paw pads, which aren’t used to wooded terrain.  For instance, hiking on a particularly rocky trail can mean that their pads dry out, and if the trail is covered in pine mulch, they may get some pesky pine needles poking them repeatedly.  When you get home, make sure to inspect their pads to make sure there aren’t any punctures, scrapes or signs of irritation.

Tip #8: Bring Some CBD Along

If you’ve a hyperactive dog, you might wanna give them Chill Paws CBD to help mellow their mood before you decide to go hiking.  Basically, a small dose of CBD oil, or a CBD treat, can help them become more focused, calm, and attentive throughout the entire hike.  Now, if you notice that your dog is getting too tired, best to head back or stop for a while until they can get their energy back to normal.  Also, before doing this, best to speak with your veterinarian first.

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