HIKING WITH YOUR DOG
Dogs can be the best hiking buddies but there are things you can do to keep your partner safe and happy.
HOW TO PICK A TRAIL: Look for trails that are easy on the paws. Pick shady trails with soft terrain. Avoid paths with sharp rocks or hot surfaces.
DOG PACK: If you're going to use a pack for your dog, adjust harness so it's snug but won't chafe. You should be able to fit two fingers under it.The total load should not exceed one-third of dog's body weight. Make sure both sides are weighted equally.
FOOD: Rule of thumb is one cup of food per 20 pounds of dog per day. Give a small serving of food about an hour before the hike.
WATER: Use your own thirst as a guide and offer water when you stop to drink, every 15 - 30 minutes depending on terrain and difficulty. Dogs can get Giardia, so use treated water.
GENERAL RULES: Keep dogs on leash. Pack out poop or follow the LNT regs and bury away from trail and water source. Bring a camp towel and brush to clean and dry dog before letting them in the tent. Trim nails! Keep track of dog at night with LED collar light. Make sure you have a foam pad and blanket for them in cold weather.
TRAINING: Build up to longer trips with a series of shorter hikes. This will help toughen paw pads and develop stamina.
HEALTH: Clear your dog's health with your Veterinarian. Making sure your dog is protected from mosquitoes, tics, and flees is important.
FIRST AID: Don't forget your four-legged friend! I recommend having 3M Pet Care Spray-On Bandage for split or cut paw pads, and tweezers for tick removal. It's also a good idea to carry dog booties.
Allowing and encouraging your dog to move is a critical component of keeping him healthy in his old age. So don't leave your old dog home when you hit the trail. He may meander along and need to stop frequently, but he will still enjoy himself. It's important to let him dictate the pace and distance. Choose shorter and easier hikes. It's also a great idea to choose trails that have water sources. Standing in a cool creek for a few minutes may make sore joints feel better. It's also important to do early morning or evening hikes when it's cooler. Keeping your dogs weight in check puts less stress on his body and helps prolong mobility. So what better way to do this then hiking. Senior dogs need a longer recovery period in between hikes. If you are taking him on an overnight trip, you may want to plan an extra day to give him time to relax and recover.
Enjoy the great outdoors with your hiking buddy!!!