Hiking with dogs: tips 'n tricks
We both have our favorite outdoor activities, for Joram that is surfing and for me Noémie it's hiking. And especially hiking in the mountains with our two dogs Roxy & Lena. So we thought we might share some tips that we already learned along all of our hikes.
Hiking is fantastic exercise and a great way to enjoy all the beauty nature has to offer. So, it makes perfect sense that you would want your dog to join you on the hike. Dogs make awesome companions and watching them enjoying themselves, listening to sounds and sniffing the smells of nature is invigorating.
What to consider before you leave for the hike
1) Make sure that dogs are allowed on the trail that you want to do. In some national parks, areas or beaches dogs are not allowed. Most of the time this information is given at the beginning of the hike. Usually it also says if they should be on a leash or not. But don't worry there are plenty of hikes where your dog can join!
2) Know your dog's physical condition. Start with walks in your neighborhood and slowly build up to longer walks and hikes. Gradually go on longer hikes and don't start immediately with hiking 10km. For example if your dog has hip problems don't choose hikes with steep hills.
3) Make sure you bring enough water. If you're thirsty on a hike, your dog probably is thirsty aswell. We always take the same amount of water for ourselves also for the dogs. So yes most of the time I'm hiking with 4 drinking bottles of water. You can also buy a special made backpack for your dog so he can help you carry some water, but this we haven't tried yet.
4) Invest in a high quality harness and leash so that your dog feels comfortable walking long distances wearing it. For example it should not be to close behind their front legs otherwise it may chafe. We recently bought harnesses from Ruffwear and I must say they are really good.
5) Don't forget to bring all of the other necessities like treats, poopbags, maybe a bit of food if your doing a really long hike and a first aid kid.
Last but not least - and this also counts if you're hiking without dogs - don't leave trash behind and check your dog (and yourself) for ticks, cause those little bastards are everywhere. Also make sure that are protected against ticks and got the right vaccinations for each destination.
But most importantly have fun and make sure they have a great time exploring the big outdoors!
Pictures taken by Noémie Peeters - Property of Vagabundo