Wanting to go hiking with your dog is quite normal. Who has never dreamed of going on a hike with his faithful canine companion as his only companion? It is also an opportunity to strengthen the bonds that unite the dog to his master. However, unlike a walk, the hike is prepared upstream. It would be unconscious to set off with your dog without prior precautions.
How to prepare for a hike with your dog? What to bring to go on a hike with your dog? Is my dog suitable for hiking? Yoolma answers all your questions about dog trekking in this article.
Which dogs to take on a hike?
All dogs can go on a dog trek. The only thing to take into account is his size because the chosen itinerary must be adapted to the dog and his physical abilities. A small dog will find it difficult to follow his master on steep paths, while large dogs, predisposed to joint problems and not very enduring, will suffer more quickly on long hikes. As for medium sized dogs with a long muzzle (German Shepherd, Belgian Shepherd…), they will not encounter any difficulty whatever the terrain.
It is useless to put your dog’s life in danger by going on hikes that are not adapted to his size. Small dogs are not ideal companions for mountain treks because it would be difficult for them to overcome obstacles. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t take your Yorkshire on flatland treks! It’s all about adaptation to make it easier for the animal to exercise. Otherwise, you will surely find yourself having to carry your dog… and if it is a big Great Dane, this can be a problem!
Another element to take into account, and not the least: the character of the dog. Although each dog has its own character, the fact remains that his breed predisposes him to certain instincts: hunting, running away or guarding. The Spaniel is known for its hunting genes and the Border Collie for its guarding instinct, for example. These are characteristics that should be taken into account before going on a hike and that may require precautions.
A hunting dog will tend to run after wildlife (Marmots, rabbits, cattle…), just as some guard dogs will be aggressive when crossing with other human or canine hikers. These cases may require keeping the dog on a leash all the way, which is neither pleasant nor practical. This is why it is important that the dog is on the one hand sociable, but on the other hand very obedient to avoid accidents.
Hiking with your dog: the necessary equipment
Hiking with your dog requires you to bring a few essentials for the animal’s safety:
A foldable bowl
A leash to attach it if necessary
A first aid kit (compresses, strips, plasters, tweezers, disinfectant, tick removers)
Dog shoes, practical in case of injury
Energy food for dogs
Other equipment can be brought according to the parameters of the hike:
A coat for dogs who are cold and/or in case of rain.
Food for multi-day hikes
A harness to carry the dog in case of obstacles that the dog cannot overcome (climbing, cliff edge, etc.).
A cani-rando harness if you practice this activity.
A tent, etc.
Finally, some dogs can carry their equipment themselves thanks to dog backpacks, without exceeding 10% of their weight so as not to injure them. This is the case for Molosses, Husky, Samoyeds, Wolfdogs or German Shepherds, to name but a few.
Preparing a hike with your dog
Before embarking on day-long routes, you should gradually start training on short distances without obstacles. Little by little, we will be able to tackle longer hikes and get the dog used to steep terrain or terrain with obstacles. This training will allow you to test the animal’s resistance and endurance and make sure that it is able to practice long hikes with you.
Precautions before the hike
The question to ask yourself before going on a hike will be “is the route suitable for my dog? ». Some hikes require climbing or crossing walkways that a dog cannot cross. Without taking these parameters into account, you will find yourself having to turn back, which is why it is important to make sure that the itinerary does not contain any impassable obstacles for your dog.
Are you planning to spend the night in a gîte? Make sure that animals are welcome. Some bivouacs do not allow animals and it would be a hassle to find out the news when you arrive.
Draw up a list with the contact details of veterinarians who cover the area in which you will be hiking. You are not safe from a bad fall, a snake bite or any other incident that requires you to have your dog checked urgently.
Precautions during the hike
During the hike make sure your dog is always within sight so you can keep an eye on him. Don’t hesitate to keep your dog on a leash at times when he may be wandering around (passing a herd of animals, for example).
Your dog needs breaks too. Stop as soon as you feel he starts to tire. Some freshwater, a few caresses, and off you go again for a ride! It’s better to make regular stops to give him time to rest a little than to end the hike carrying his dog.
With these tips, you are ready to go hiking with your dog! If you are a fan of this kind of activity, come and share your experience in the comments space below to make other dog owners want to go on a hike!