By Laura Potts, Digital Marketing Specialist
The warm weather is here, and it’s a perfect time to head outdoors. What better way to spend a beautiful afternoon than on a hike with your dog? Let me just say, I love hiking! It’s a great, free way to clear my mind and get some exercise with my dogs. Before you head out, here are a few points to keep in mind.
Does the destination allow dogs? Many national parks prohibit pets or have strict guidelines around where we can explore with our furry friends. Oftentimes this is to protect the park and to protect our pets. State parks and local trails are usually more dog friendly. Check ahead before venturing out.
What about water and snacks? Our dogs can’t tell us they’re thirsty, so plan for short breaks to help them stay hydrated. In addition to water breaks, my dogs and I like to stop to have a little picnic on our hikes. I recommend packing a collapsible water bowl, 12 – 16 ounces of water per dog, and some tasty snacks. Ensure the treats you pick are ones they are accustomed to so you can avoid an upset tummy on the trail. Oh, and a PB&J for yourself can’t hurt either.
What is the fitness level of your pet? While we may be able to set out on a 10 mile hike, what about our dogs? Every dog is different, so I recommend starting out with short hikes and closely watching your pets. Increase the difficulty and duration of hikes as the pet is ready. For our family, the stamina of each pet is also a consideration. While Ellie could probably hike Mt. Everest, Lincoln is done after a mile. Plan every outing around each pet and consider what you will do when they get tired.
Are there bears in them thar hills? A peaceful hike can turn dangerous with wild animals around. Keeping pets on a leash or remote trainer is the best way to prevent an unfortunate accident. Also, research the wildlife in your area and have a crisis plan in mind just in case.
Are you ready for fleas and ticks? Unfortunately, this is the only bad part of hiking. Warm weather and wooded areas can equal fleas and ticks. A good monthly treatment plan beforehand and an “inspection” of your pets before getting back in the car can help tremendously in preventing a bug problem.
Laura manages the complete digital media presence for the PetSafe Brand. Laura also donates her time to helping improve animal welfare. She has helped saved the lives of many pets through her work and more directly by adopting two dogs of her own, Ellie and Lincoln who often accompany her to work and to volunteer events in Knoxville.