by Hailey Hudson
Ready to get out on the trails and celebrate spring? Don’t leave your pup(s) behind. Hiking with your dog is an easy way for you both to get some exercise and grow your bond. Here’s what you’ll need to do before, during and after your hike.
Do Your Research
Not all hiking trails allow dogs, so before you hop in the car, make sure you’ve done plenty of research to learn which local trails are dog-friendly and whether they have any special rules hikers need to follow. If your dog isn’t used to hiking with you, start out with a short, flat trail to ease into things.
Your veterinarian can also be a helpful resource as you kick off the hiking season. Speak with your vet about whether your dog needs any vaccinations or specific medications to protect against diseases or plants common in your area. He or she will also be able to guide you as you figure out the best trail length and difficulty for your dog’s fitness level.
Pack a Bag
Bring fresh bottled water specifically for your dog, along with a collapsible water dish that’s easy to carry. Pack some kibble (one cup of dried food per 20 pounds of your dog’s body weight), jerky treats and peanut butter. You’ll also need to pack poop bags and plan to carry filled bags with you until you reach a trash can. Other items you may be glad to have just in case: a small first-aid kit, dog sunscreen and a dog raincoat.
Brush Up on Trail Etiquette
Before you set out, it’s important to make sure your dog is well-trained and doesn’t have any behavior issues that could derail your hike (or somebody else’s). Your dog must be leashed and fully under your control at all times. Step to the side of the trail to let other hikers pass. Otherwise, only walk on the marked trail so you don’t disturb plant and animal life.
Beware of Trail Hazards
When hiking with a dog, keep an eye out for any potential dangers. Stay away from wildlife and don’t let your dog eat any plants. Your dog shouldn’t drink any water except for your bottled water because waterborne diseases found in ponds and lakes and puddles can potentially be fatal.
Additionally, be mindful of the temperature so your dog doesn’t overheat. Extra water breaks in the shade and hiking early in the day can help with this.
Groom Session Once You’re Home
Finally, you’ll want to groom your dog when you get home. After a trek through the woods, your dog will probably be dusty at best and dirty or muddy at worst. But they could also have burrs stuck on their fur or be carrying ticks that need to be removed. Inspect their fur and make sure there is no cause for concern.
The Skout’s Honor Adventure Dog Kit is the perfect way to clean up after a day on the trails hiking with your dog. Created specifically for outdoorsy dogs and their owners, the kit includes a Probiotic Shampoo and Conditioner and Probiotic Deodorizer for your dog’s skin and coat. It also has a Paw and Hand Sanitizer and an Odor Eliminator, plus a Prebiotic Pet Balm Travel Stick made to moisturize your dog’s paws and nose.
Grooming with probiotics after hiking with your dog is the best way to help your dog’s body ward off skin problems that can come from environmental irritants. It also gives you the opportunity to make sure your dog didn’t get injured on your hike. Give both yourself and your dog some time to rest after you groom, and before long you’ll be ready to hit the trails again.
Hailey Hudson is a full-time freelance writer and content marketer based out of Atlanta, Georgia, where her cat acts as her co-worker and supervisor. She writes about pet-based topics for clients such as PetFirst Pet Insurance, Just Labs Magazine and Pet Product News.