Hiking is a great way to get exercise while appreciating the beauty of nature. It can be even more enjoyable with your canine pals. Most dogs love the outdoors. It’s a completely new world of exciting sights, smells, and sounds. Hiking with your Labradoodle can be a lot of fun, but you also need to take some extra steps to ensure that both of you have a great time. Here are some tips that will help you get started.
Before you go
Make sure that your dog’s vaccinations are current and carry proof when you travel. Also, check to ensure that the information on your pet’s ID and microchip is up-to-date. When hiking through the woods, your Labradoodle will also need flea, tick, and heartworm preventative.
If your Labradoodle has been spending a lot of time napping lately, you’ll need to condition him before a long hike. You can start with short walks and gradually increase the distance. If you want to hike in places with rough terrain, spend some time getting your dog used to that type of exercise. Also, remember that dogs less than one year old cannot go on hikes until fully grown.
Always check the canine regulations for the areas where you’ll be hiking. For example, many U.S. national parks do not permit dogs on trails. If dogs are allowed, be sure to find out about leashing requirements. Your Labradoodle should be trained to walk calmly on a leash. A dog that pulls can be dangerous to you and others on a steep or narrow trail.
Packing for your dog
Once your dog is conditioned, it’s time to start gathering supplies. Hydration is crucial for an active dog. Bring at least 1-2 quarts of water for a daytime hike, unless you know that clean water will be available. You’ll also need to have a way to dispose of pet waste. Bring plenty of plastic bags or tools to bury the waste at least 200 feet away from trails, camps, and water sources.
It’s a good idea to bring a pair of dog booties if you’ll be traveling with your dog over rough terrain. It may take a few tries to find the right pair. Be sure to test them out on short hikes before a big trip. In cooler conditions, your Labradoodle may also benefit from a vest or coat.
When planning a trip, it’s always best to be prepared. As dog owners, we have to be ready to take care of our dogs no matter what circumstances arise. Be sure to bring a basic first aid kit for minor injuries. Sites such as peteducation.com can also provide plenty of useful information about pet first aid.
On the trail
Now it’s time to head out for an adventure. When you’re out on the trail, you and your dog are both ambassadors for everyone who enjoys hiking with dogs. If you keep that in mind, you’ll be sure to make a positive impression.
It’s a good idea to keep your dog on a leash at all times, even if it’s not required. This will prevent your dog from getting into an unsafe situation. Unless you’re very confident that your dog will obey your commands no matter what, leashing is best. Always keep your dog on the trail. Be sure to avoid plants with three leaves such as poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac.
Allow time for frequent rest and water breaks, preferably in a shaded area. If your Labradoodle isn’t wearing booties, stop periodically to check his paws for cuts. Also, if you’re in an area where you might encounter hunters, be sure to get a bright orange vest or bandana for your dog.
After the trip
After a day’s hike, thoroughly check your dog for fleas, ticks, and scrapes. Since dogs can’t tell us what might be ailing them, we must be diligent in checking them for issues. You might also want to give your Labradoodle a quick bath. With any luck, now you’ve found a fun activity that you can do with your dog. Happy trails!