Safely Hiking and Camping with Dogs

Applicable For:
  • Dogs

Most dogs love adventure and are thrilled when they get to go hiking, camping, boating or fishing with their family. However, taking a dog on outdoor excursions can end in disaster if the owner is not properly prepared. Dogs that accompany their owners on outdoor adventures should have at least basic obedience training, and owners should take a few precautions to help avoid any accidents or problems.

Before leaving home there are certain things owners should do to ensure their canine friend will be as safe as possible during the trip. The dog should be fully up to date on their vaccines, and have some sort of flea and tick repellent applied. Mosquitoes may also be a problem for some dogs. Owners should buy a special mosquito repellent made especially for dogs; most human mosquito repellents contain Deet, which is poisonous for dogs.

Dogs should also have an up to date ID tag securely fastened on their collar or harness. Owners should also have a current photo of their dogs just in case they go missing.

When out hiking and exploring, a harness is far safer and gives better control than a collar. Owners should carry an extra leash with them at all times, just in case the dog’s usual one breaks.

Dogs that are going boating, fishing or hiking near fast moving water should wear a life jacket. Yes, the majority of dogs can swim, but undercurrents, waves and long distances can be too much for them and a life jacket could save their life.

When out hiking, it is tempting to let the dog off lead so they can run around and explore. However, this is extremely dangerous and even dogs with excellent obedience may take off in pursuit of something exciting. Terriers, scenthounds and sighthounds are especially at risk at running off and should remain on lead at all times. Dogs that run off are not only a danger to themselves, but put all the wildlife in the area in danger. When out hiking, do not forget to bring along fresh water for the dog. There are backpacks made especially for dogs available for sale in most pet stores; dogs can be in charge of carrying their own bowl and water.

Anyone who plans to be out at night with their dog may want to attach a glow stick to their collar so they are easier to see in the dark. Anyone hiking in an area where there are hunters should purchase a bright orange vest for their dog so they are easily recognized by hunters and not shot by mistake.

A fully stocked first-aid kit is mandatory for those out adventuring with their dog. The first aid kit should include a bottle of skunk-off shampoo just in case the dog is sprayed while out. Depending on the time of year and the breed of dog, owners may want to bring along a sweater or jacket to help keep the dog warm if the nights get chilly.

Toy dogs are often underestimated in their physical prowess. Many toy dogs can happily do a several hour hike with ease and make wonderful boating companions. However, when planning for a daylong hike, owners of toy dogs may want to pack a papoose in their knapsack, just in case their little dog gets tired. Dogs fewer than fifteen pounds can be viewed as prey by large birds, large snakes and other predatory animals and should be careful watched.

Much like humans, dogs need to work up to intense physical activity and should start slow. Hikes that end with either the human or the dog limping and sore are not good. Going outdoor adventuring can be an amazing experience and is so much the better with a best friend at your side. By being prepared, owners can help guarantee the experience always ends with both them and their dog smiling.

Located in: Nutrition and Care