5 Tips For Hiking with your Dog
Summer in Southern California is a great time to enjoy a hike with your dog. Hiking can be an excellent way to solidify the bond between you and your dog, not to mention being a great source of exercise and fun for you both!
As you prepare to hike with your dog this summer, there are several things to consider before you set out and while you are on your adventure.
1. Is your dog physically ready?
Speak with your vet before setting out and make sure that your dog is physically strong and well enough to make the hike. Also make sure that his vaccinations are up-to-date and that there are no additional shots your dog will need for where you are going. Before you tackle any major hikes, train with your dog and make sure he is physically able to handle the length, incline, and elevation you hope to hike.
2. Check out trail regulations.
Before heading out, confirm that the trail you are hoping to hike is dog-friendly and know whether or not you will be allowed to let your dog hike off leash. Even if he is allowed to hike off leash, make sure you still bring a leash--you never know when you’ll need it!
Make sure your dog is well-versed in all the basic commands, especially the recall command. Practice with your dog under distracting circumstances to ensure that he will come when called reliably.
Pack ample provisions for both you and your dog. Your dog will need plenty of water, food, and sunscreen. He may also need booties if it is hot out, or you are hiking rough terrain. Also bring a pet first-aid kit. You may want to consider investing in a backpack for your dog. Wearing a backpack (provided it’s not too heavy and properly fits) can create a mental distinction between going for a walk and hiking for your dog and can help him feel useful.
5. Pests, plants, pathogens, and other threats.
Before leaving study up what plants, pests, and diseases are present where you are going.
Check your dog thoroughly for ticks, and keep him away from any plant life you don’t recognize. Poison oak and ivy, nettles, and sumac are particularly irritating and can be dangerous for your dog.
Avoid letting your dog drink stream or lake water as he can easily pick up the parasite Giardia by doing so.
If you know there to be large carnivores such as bears or mountain lions where you are going, have your dog wear a bear bell which will make noise and discourage predators from encroaching on your space.
Discourage your dog from chasing squirrels and other small rodents as they can be plague carriers.
Keeping your dog leashed as much as possible is the safest way to discourage predators and to keep your dog out of mischief and potential danger
Finally, make sure your dog is microchipped and wearing up-to-date tags. If he should run off, these will be instrumental in getting him home safe.
Last, but not least, check out this list of dog-friendly hikes in Long Beach for a few ideas of fun places to hike with your pooch.