A successful hike begins with finding the right spot. Many different apps can guide you to local trails as well as listings of provincial and national parks. Check out the reviews before choosing your route to help you find one best suited to your hiking goals. These apps can uncover hidden gems; your new favourite trail may be just around the corner!
Obey the Regulations
Most hiking areas have leash laws. Leash laws prevent dogs from harassing wildlife. Keeping your dog leashed and on the trail protects fragile fauna that an enthusiastically bounding dog could damage.
Respecting leash laws also helps keep your dog safe! You may encounter unexpected hazards on a hike, like old fences and wire, that could injure your dog. Not every dog appreciates meeting new friends; keeping dogs leashed prevents scuffles on the trail. For the sake of your dog’s safety, the safety of flora and fauna, and for other people and dogs you may encounter, please obey leash laws.
Some areas allow off-leash hiking. An off-leash hike can be an incredible adventure but needs some additional preparation. It is critical that your dog has a very solid recall. When you call your dog, they need to come back promptly and reliably, despite the distractions of other people, dogs, and wildlife. If your dog starts chasing a squirrel and totally ignores you, they could run onto a road or into another hazard or get lost!
Get the Right Gear
A harness may be a good option for your on-leash hike; it allows your dog to pull ahead, sniffing and investigating, without pressure on their neck. A sturdy leash is a must. Flexi-leads are rarely a good fit for hiking. Dogs can become tangled, you can drop your clunky end and startle your dog, and your dog can get dangerously far away from you. There are belts you can wear that you can hook your dog’s leash to, leaving your hands free for balancing yourself on a hike, accessing water, etc.
Your pooch may be able to pull their own weight and carry a small backpack with poop bags and treats. If your dog hasn’t worn a pack before, start slow and light, then work up to them carrying a moderate weight. Dogs shouldn’t carry more than 10% of their weight for any significant distances.
Always bring along more poop bags than you think you’ll need. You don’t want to run out!
Don’t be a Weekend Warrior
If you and your dog typically enjoy short walks around the neighbourhood during the week, don’t set out for a 10 km hike on Saturday, or you will both end up sore and overly exhausted! Start slow and build up together.
Being out in nature is wonderful but can bring risks. Talk to your veterinary team to ensure your pet is protected against anything they might encounter. Dogs who drink from streams and puddles may need different vaccines to keep them safe from infectious diseases. Your pooch may need additional parasitology prevention, depending on where you are headed. Your veterinary team will be able to work with you to protect your precious pet.
Pack an emergency first aid kit, so you’re ready to handle any minor crisis on the trail. Having the right supplies can give you the time you need to get your pup to the vet after an accident or incident.
Whenever you’re out and about with your furry best friend, bring along some of their favourite treats. You want to be prepared to reward their stellar behaviour and be ready to entice their attention if you need to.
Rollover dog food makes the perfect treat. Dogs go wild for the delicious taste, and you can feel comfortable knowing you’re feeding a well-balanced, premium food as their treat. The semi-soft shelf-stable format is perfect for tossing in your pack for a day of hiking.
With a bit of planning and preparation, you and your furry best friend can be ready to hit the trails and enjoy an adventure!