Taking A Hike With Your Dog
Hiking with your best friend is a great way for both of you to get some exercise and enjoy nature. For you, it may be all about the sights, but for your dog, it will be all about the new smells!
Whether you are hiking at a local park minutes from home or in a National Forest across the country, there are a few basics you need to know first.
Like the Scout motto says, “Be Prepared.” Visit your veterinarian to make sure your dog is up to date on his vaccinations, especially rabies, leptospirosis, and in the Northeast US, Lyme disease. These are all diseases your dog could be at risk for as he explores nature with you. Ask your veterinarian for a copy of his health certificate to tuck in your backpack just in case. Making sure your dog has received his monthly heartworm and Flea & Tick Prevention is also a must. There is no escape from mosquitoes on the trail which can transmit Heartworm to your dog. Ticks can transmit multiple diseases to your dog: Lyme, Rocky Mounted Spotted Fever and Ehrlichia are the most common. If your dog does not already have a Microchip implanted, now is the time, your veterinarian can do this in just a few minutes during an exam. A registered microchip will help you reunite with your pet should you become separated on the trail. If your pup already has a chip please double check to make sure all contact information is up to date before your hike.
Pack Smart. Make sure to take enough water for both you and your dog. Your pup may be tempted to drink from puddles, ponds or steams but this can lead to infections such as leptospirosis or giardia. Poop bags and a first aid kit. Your kit should include: gauze squares, vet wrap, tweezers, triple antibiotic ointment, hydrogen peroxide and Diphenhydramine (Benadryl) for allergic reactions or bug bites (dosage is 1mg per pound of dog’s body weight). You can even purchase a doggie backpack and have your 4 footed friend carry his own first aid kit!
Remember dogs cannot sweat like humans so keep your hiking buddy well hydrated and in the shade when hiking in the summer.
If hiking far from home, research nearby emergency veterinary hospitals so you are prepared should a true emergency occur
At the end of your hike make sure to properly dispose of those poop bags and check your dog for any ticks that may have hitched a ride.
If you have any questions about protecting your dog while hiking please call World of Animals and speak to one of our Team.