Some dogs love to get out in the woods and go absolutely ballistic, chasing anything that they can smell. Taking your dogs on hikes through the woods is an extremely enjoyable activity for dogs and owners alike.
However, some owners are a bit oblivious to the hazards that can await a dog in the forest, and really put their dog in unnecessary danger. One of the first steps of preparing for a dog hike should be to ask yourself some simple questions relating to your particular dog.
The size and health of a dog are of extreme importance when getting ready to embark on a great expedition with your canine. Obviously, if you have a toy breed, they are going to have smaller legs, and not be able to walk as far, and as fast, as a larger dog. Dont subject a dog with short legs to miles of walking.
They most likely wont be able to handle the journey. You can always pick the dog up, if they are small enough, but if youre hiking in the heat, simply being next to your hot body may be enough to exhaust the dog, and give them a heat stroke or some other complication.
If you have a large dog, they should be able to handle just about any reasonable hike you can handle. But, you need to ask yourself if you think your dog is in shape. A dog is just like a human; if they sit around the house all winter long, they are not going to be able to handle a five mile hike on the first nice day of spring.
Make sure that you are not hiking with your dog in extreme heat or cold. A long haired dog can get overheated very quickly in temperatures above 70 degrees, especially if they are running.
Some dogs dont have an off switch, and they will run themselves silly until they are about to pass out, so you need to calm them down every once in a while so they can take a breather.
Before you go on a hike with any dog, you want to make sure that their nails are properly trimmed. Long dog nails can cause extreme pain to any dog, and will cause the dog to not want to walk. Make sure that your dog is properly licensed and understand all the regulations of the areas where you are going to take your dog for a walk.
Some state parks and forests have very strict leash laws for non hunting dogs. If you live in an area with a good deal of wildlife, never let your dog get too far ahead of you, many animals can cause serious injuries to even the largest of dogs, especially coyotes, and obviously wolves and grizzlies.
In desert terrain, keep your dog out of holes and rocks. Poisonous snakes, scorpions, and spiders can all do serious damage to your precious pooch.
Some dogs with well developed scent capabilities will seek out the scents that the aforementioned creatures give off, and try to find them. Leashing your dog in desert environments where poisonous animals are known to reside is the best way to keep your pet safe.
Keeping your dog on a long leash is probably the best course of action no matter where you happen to live. And, of course, you always want to bring sufficient water for your dog. Dont just try to give them water out of your water bottle; they need lots of water from a bowl.