Dog Hiking Etiquette
It’s that time of year again, the weather has changed and we are back out on the hiking trails with our 4 legged friends. In order to make your hiking experience as enjoyable as possible there will be certain items you will want to bring as well as certain unspoken rules we should all abide by. Items you should bring but not limited too are: Water for your self and the dog or dogs, small first aid kit, supplement bars for you and some treats for your pup & doggie bags. The doggie backpacks of today are able to carry many of your dog’s needs; some of them have water bladders built into the backpack, this way your dog carries its own supplies and gives it a job too.
1. Dogs should always be on leash – we have rattle snakes, sharp rocks and narrow trails, can all be hazards for your dog.
2. Dogs should always be very social with people and with other dogs. A tight hiking path is a terrible place for dogs that are aggressive towards other dogs to meet and if a fight breaks out everyone could be in trouble.
3. Make sure you only hike as far as your dog is physically capable of going. Over weight dogs and older dogs will need to work up to taking long hikes and a physical from your Vet before starting rigorous exercise is important.
4. If you go around a blind curve in the trail always make sure you are leading the way and not your dog. Again, if a person comes around a corner and the first face they see is a strange dog it could scare the person and cause the dog to react in an unsafe way.
5. Always check the pads of your dog’s feet, Pets have been mostly indoors all summer and that causes their pads to soften, so while they are hiking up sandy trails with stones that could cut their pads.
6. Always carry dog bags. Always pick up after your dog.
7. When hiking with small dogs always remember that they may not be able to keep up with you, so be prepared to carry them several times during the hike. Most importantly keep your eyes open for coyotes and birds of prey. Small dogs can be taken off leash by coyotes and picked up by birds off prey. It is important for dog owners to be courteous to everyone you share the trails with, If we want to continue to take our dogs out and about in public areas we need to prove to the public that dog owners can and will be responsible with their pet in public.
Best Paw Forward