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Make your dog’s next outing a fun one by hiking a dog-friendly trail. When hiking with dogs it’s important to be prepared, so you and your dog have the best time possible. Any active dog owner can tell you that hiking with your dog is time well spent.

Choose a dog-friendly trail

When choosing a trail for your next outing, look for areas that are easy on your dog’s paws. Avoid trails covered with sharp rocks, steep drops, off-trail paths, and hot surfaces. Look for trails that offer soft leaf or needle-covered terrain and plenty of shade. Lastly, refrain from choosing areas with mountain bikes, or the chase may be on.

Bring a dog hiking pack

When backpacking with dogs it’s best to bring a dog pack with supplies. Load the pack with treats, dog food, bowls, and plenty of water. Include any additional gear only if the load weight limit permits. Both sides of the dog pack should be weighted equally and the load should not exceed one-third of your dog’s weight. To avoid chafing, you should adjust your dog’s harness to fit snug, but still be able to fit two fingers comfortably under the harness.

Camp with your dog

If you really want to give your dog an outdoor hiking experience, consider an overnight trip. Here are five dog hiking and camping tips for spending a night outdoors with your dog:

  • Keep your dog leashed around fellow hikers, bikers, and horses. When hiking with your dog, yield the trail to others appropriately.
  • Double-bag poop bags. For longer day-hikes, follow the LNT regulations.
  • Brush your dog thoroughly with a camp towel before he gets in the tent. Have your dog’s nails trimmed pre-trip in order to prevent tears in tent material.
  • Pack a down or wool blanket for cold weather nights and a foam sleeping pad for comfort.
  • Bring LED lights or glow-stick collars to keep track of your dog.

Keep your dog hydrated and healthy

Hiking with dogs not only burns more calories in your body but in your dog’s as well. You’ll want to adjust your dog’s food intake appropriately. Some dogs can increase the amount by fifty percent, depending on fitness level, typical exercise, and the difficulty of the hike. In addition to food intake, make sure your dog is receiving enough water in order to avoid heat exhaustion and heatstroke. When you stop to drink water every 15 to 30 minutes, offer your pooch a thirst-quenching drink. Due to the risk of bacterial infections, limit your dog’s water intake from streams and lakes.

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