Safety Tips For Hiking With Your Dog

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Fall is a great time of year to take your dog on a hike with you; it’s not too hot, the scenery is beautiful, and trails are typically less crowded.  Dogs who love being outdoors will especially like to go hiking with you, but there are certain things you should know in order to make the outing as safe as possible for your dog, yourself, and anyone else you may encounter.  Certain rules of dog etiquette apply when taking Fido into public, starting with being up to date on all shots and vaccinations.

Before Hiking With Your Dog

1. Make sure that you are able to control your dog.  This is where certain rules of etiquette come in.  If you are unable to maintain control of your dog while walking in the neighborhood, chances are he won’t do well on a hiking trail.

2. Find a dog-friendly hiking trail ahead of time.  It can spoil the trip if you get to a hiking trail only to discover that dogs are not welcome.  Hiking trails that do allow dogs will typically have amenities like poop bags and water stations.

What to Bring With You

Before making the trip to your favorite dog friendly hiking trail, you’ll need to pack some essentials.

-bags to clean up after your dog
-leash
-harness
-plenty of water
-bowl for water
-food
-towel
-safety kit

Once You are at the Hiking Trail

1. Harness and leash your dog before you even let him out of the car.  You never know who else (or what else) is around and no matter how well behaved your dog is, he could become startled and take off.

2. Stay on the trail. Although it may be enticing to wander off the trail to explore, that is not in the best interest of your dog.

3. Always keep dogs to your right, allowing adequate room for bicyclists and others to pass you.

4. Be aware of your surroundings at all times.  It is important to know who’s coming, who’s passing, and watch for certain land marks to keep from getting lost.

5. Never let your dog approach other people without their permission.

6. Always clean up after your dog.  One of the most important aspects of taking your dog outdoors anywhere is to pick up after them.  Dog feces can carry certain diseases and you want to maintain a safe hiking trail for everyone.

7. Last but not least, don’t forget to bring your camera to catch those candid shots of man’s best friend enjoying himself in the great outdoors!