Depending on where you live, we’re soon to be entering what is arguably the most wonderful time of the year to be outdoors!
And as the humidity starts to (finally) drop and leaves begin their slow fade from green to the gorgeous colors of fall, there’s no better activity than a hike with your best friend! And with just a few considerations, both you and your dog will have a safe, fun and enjoyable romp in the woods.
Location, location, location:
- Websites for your local parks and recreation department, state or National Parks Service are great resources for hikes near you.
- A local outdoors store or hiking club can offer tips, too.
- Check the park or trail website, or call ahead to check on any restrictions, etc., regarding trail access for dogs.
- First timers should choose well-marked routes, and trails with plenty of options to bail out early.
- Print or carry your trail map and stay on marked trails only.
- Always let someone know where you’re going and when you expect to return.
- Different trails have different rules on leashes. Your best bet is to keep your dog on leash.
- You may encounter wildlife, horses or other dogs on your hike. A leash helps ensure everyone stays safe.
- Leave the retractable leash at home. They can get wrapped around trees, caught up in brush, etc.
- Hydration is important for both you and your pet. Even though the weather is cooling off, be sure to bring water for yourself AND your dog.
- Bring doggie bags. Picking up after your dog helps keep parks and hiking trails pristine for you and other hikers.
- Be sure to that your dog’s license is up to date. Better yet, have them microchipped. Should they get away or get lost, they’ll have a better chance of getting back home once found.
- Make sure your dog has all necessary vaccinations, including rabies. You never know what kind of wildlife your dog could encounter on the trail.
- Be sure your dog is physically fit enough for the hike. Keep in mind your dog’s physical limitations.
- Take care if your dog is older or has particular health issues.
- If your dog isn’t used to a lot of exercise, start slowly and work up to a longer hike.
- Don’t push your dog beyond his limits. If you are unsure of your dog’s fitness, ask your veterinarian.