Lexi gets to go just about everywhere I go. She doesn’t complain. In fact, when I grab her doggy hiking backpack, she runs to the front door and waits for me to get myself together so that we can GOOOOO!!! In order for me to take her on all of these adventures, I have to do some advanced planning.
Before we leave the house I check the weather and have a plan in place. Along with a back up plan. If there’s anything I’ve learned over the years, things don’t always go as planned. Also, know that it is better to err on the side of caution then get yourself and your pet into something that could end up turning deadly. The summer’s heat for example can be deadly.
So, if you’d like to take your dog with you, here are a few tips and suggestions:
- Make sure you and your dog are in good physical condition – hiking can be much more strenuous than walking your neighborhood. Start slow and easy but start.
- Always have a leash and a good collar or harness
- Always have identification – dog tags with your pets name and phone number. My cell number is on Lexi so that just in case she gets lost, someone can call my cell, which I always have with me, and I can go pick her up. Luckily, I’ve never had a call.
- Water – I cannot stress the importance of having more than enough water for your dog. Summer is upon us and it can get really hot really fast. Know when you’re going, know the water sources, and always pack more than you think you will need.
- Don’t forget the bow! – a collapsible bowl is a lightweight space saving option
- Treats or dog food – These come in very handy as rewards for good behavior or in case your hike turns out to be longer than expected. You pack snacks for your self so pack them for your pooch too. They’ll thank you.
- Poo bags – Leave no trace guys. No one wants to step in a pile of poo on the trail because you were inconsiderate. So, do us all a favor and pick up after your pet.
- First Aid Kit – Accidents happen and it’s always best to be prepared.
- Special Gear – Will you be hiking where the terrain is going to be rough? If so, doggy boots are your friend. These also come in really handy in the snow. Not all dogs like boots though. Lexi, for example, hates them and they’re off before they’re on in her world.
- Not everyone likes dogs – As much as I think everyone should love dogs, some people are just not dog people, and that’s okay. I’m not always a people person. Haha! Respect fellow hikers and make sure you’re dog leaves them alone. Teach them to walk right on by and not engage unless it’s been cleared by the other person first. The same could be said about dogs not liking people. Don’t think that all dogs will like you. Some dogs bite, and if you’re stupid enough to reach out to pet them without asking, then, I’m sorry, but you deserved it. Respect each others space.
While out, pay attention to your surroundings. Keep a look out for poison oak, poison ivy, poodle dog bush, sumac, along with snakes, bears, porcupines, mountain lines, coyotes, etc. Also, watch for environmental hazzards like cliffs, loose rocks, ice, and the like. When you get back to the car or to your house check for ticks. Ticks can carry Lyme Disease and other diseases. If you live in an area that has a lot of ticks your vet can vaccinate your fuzzy hiking partner in crime.
Now, go find an adventure, check the weather, and grab your gear. Let’s go for a hike!