VERIFY REGULATIONS OF THE TRAIL
Before heading out to the trailhead, verify dogs are allowed on the trail. Most are dog-friendly, but some may not allow dogs or have restrictions. Keep your dog close, or on a leash. This will protect your dog from any wildlife, or prevent them from wrestling in the bushes that may have poisonous plants.
KEEP YOUR DOG LEASHED
Of course it’s the law to have your dog on the leash, we all know that when you think you’re alone on the trail you let these little guys roam around, and for most trails it’s hard to see around switchback corners, which makes it difficult to see when someone is coming. For starters, not everyone is as in love with dogs as we are. Help Me Help You, by letting me know you’re not comfortable around dogs. Being a new dog owner, I quickly learned that there are loads of people that actually do not like dogs or are terrified of them. If you have your dog off leash, it could make other hikers very uncomfortable. In my personal experience, usually these individuals do not specify they are scared of dogs right away, until my dog goes to sniff them. To help each other out and to save each other from any misunderstanding, if you’re scared of these furry guys, let us know so we can keep the dogs on the opposite side while we pass. Secondly, they could become targets for wildlife. If your dog is anything like mine and likes to stay ahead several feet and greet any human being in site, then keep them leashed. If you are going to be a daredevil and have your dog off-leash, look into getting a shock collar. This maybe put your mind at ease if they decide to run a head, you can easily nick them. theaware that they are too far ahead.
PACK PLENTY OF WATER
It may seem like common sense, but make sure your dog is staying hydrated. It’s super important. Pack enough water for them if there won’t be a water source they can safely use. If you’re hiking in the summer, bring additional water to spray your furry friends and keep them cooled off. This squeezable water bowl is easy to use and doesn’t waste water, it’s very convenient to just grab and squeeze. Collapsible bowls are super handy as well. Normally I use the squeezable water dispenser while hiking and the collapsible bowls when I get to my final destination.
PACK FOOD AND TREATS
A day of hiking will burn considerably more calories than your dog’s normal routine. Bring a zip lock bag of food and several treats. If your dog is anything like mine, they get too excited and never want to eat their food. When that is the case, we use meal bars. It’s like a power bar for your dogs.
PROTECT THE PAWS
From snow and the hot ground. In the summer, you can use dog booties or if your dog is like mine and despises those things, you can touch the back of your hand to the ground to check if the ground is too warm for their paws. In the winter, you can use a wax product that you can put directly on your dogs paws.
LEAVE NO TRACE
Leave No Trace principles aren’t just for people, you are responsible for ensuring that your dog is respectful of the trail and ecosystems you visit. Do your best to keep your dog on the trail and off our sensitive/delicate areas. ( I have delegated a command word, “trail” to our dogs. When they get off the path, we state “Trail” to inform them they are not where they are supposed to be.) Leave No Trace also means picking up after your dog when nature calls. Dog waste should either be buried or packed out in a poop bag.
DOG SPECIFIC FIRST AID
You should have a first aid kit or supplement your own kit with items for your furry hiking buddy. As well as, up to date vaccinations. Depending on the state you are adventuring in, your furry friend should have some of these vaccinations, Rattle Snake, Leptospirosis, and Lyme. Be sure to check with your Vet.