If you love the outdoors, I’m sure you’re canine companion would be able to make them much more enjoyable by accompanying you. Your pup will love the freedom that comes with hiking as well as allowing them to explore different parts of the environment. However, for these big hikes preparation is the key, so follow these simple steps to make hiking with your dog enjoyable and safe!
Finding the right track
It is important to do some thorough research before you go. The first thing to note is not all hiking areas allow dogs. Many of Australia’s National Parks do not allow canines so picking your hike will very much rely on this factor.
Determining your pup’s fitness levels will help you decide on how far you will hike and the difficulty of your journey. If you’re starting off, it is good to start with short hikes and build up their fitness. Dogs will often push themselves to the limits and this could cause some health problems if they push too hard!
Other things to take in into account when choosing your hike are:
- Shady and leaf covered trails are often best as it protects their paws
- Avoid trails covered with sharp rocks or ones that have steep drop-offs
- Steer clear of areas frequented by horses and mountain bikes/motorbikes
- Be sure to tell someone where you are going and when to expect you back in case you get lost
What to bring
Depending on how far you are thinking of hiking will determine what sort of items you will need to pack. Packing the right gear will go a long way to making your hikes more enjoyable with your canine companion. Some of the most important items that you should pack in your backpack include:
- Water (collapsible bowl for your dog to drink from)
- Food and treats in sealed bags
- First aid kit including crucial items for your pup
- Poop bags or trowel to bury waste
- Leash and harness
- Towel to dry your dog if it rains or they find water
Possible dangers on the hike
Preparing adequately is a great way to keep you and your pet safe, however, there are some things that no matter how much you prepare, can never truly be avoided. Many of these dangers involve the natural fauna including snakes, kangaroos and dingoes. All these animals have the potential to seriously harm your dog, which is why it is imperative to keep them on a leash at all times and be equipped with a first aid kit.
Other things to look for are signs of heat exhaustion in your pup, fleas and ticks, and cut paws. The terrain can sometimes be gruelling on your pet’s feet and result in wounds that can become infected if not properly treated. If you are doing hikes in rocky areas, it may be wise to invest in some dog booties that will help keep your pooches paws intact!
Like all activities we do with our dogs, leave no trace that you were there. Pick up after yourselves and keep your dog’s safety in mind as you take part in this bond strengthening activity.