Hiking with a Dog: Summer Safety Tips

Taking your dog for a hike can be a great way to enjoy some fresh air and spend quality time with your pup. As with any activity, accidents can happen, and it’s essential to take certain precautions to help keep your pet safe during a hike. In this article, we’ll discuss what to bring and how to keep your dog safe while hiking. 

What to Bring When Hiking with a Dog

Before setting out on a big adventure, it’s essential you and your dog are properly prepared. Some important items you will need include:

  • Dog First-Aid Kit – You can buy a pre-made kit or make one yourself. Keep reading for what to include.
  • Collar with Pet ID tag
  • Leash – While some parks allow dogs to be off-leash, many require one.
  • Water – Keep them hydrated on long hikes. Bring your dog their own water!
  • Food – You likely won’t need to feed your pup a full meal while on a hike, but taking snacks or treats might be helpful for encouragement or keeping them on task.

Depending on your pet’s comfort level and hiking experience, some other items you may want to consider are a hiking harness, dog backpack, and dog hiking boots. Hiking boots can be a great way to protect your dog’s paw pads on rough terrain. However, it may take your dog some time to get used to having strange objects on their feet. 

There are a variety of dog first-aid kits available for purchase. However, dog first-aid kits are also easy to make at home. You can use a small bag to keep all your supplies neatly organized and easy to access. Some useful items for your kit include: 

  • Bandage material
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Sterile saline
  • Latex gloves 
  • Tweezers 
  • Adhesive tape 

When putting together a dog first-aid kit, it is also helpful to include a spare leash and muzzle. Even if your dog wouldn’t usually hurt a fly, pain can cause your pet to react in unexpected ways. A muzzle will keep you safe and help you tend to your dog in an emergency. 

Keeping Your Dog Safe During a Hike

Keeping your pup safe should always be a top priority when hiking. The most crucial step in dog hiking safety is to pick an appropriate route for your hike. The difficulty of hiking trails can vary, and it’s essential to choose a trail that’s an appropriate level for your dog. Be mindful of the terrain and the length of your intended route. 

If your dog is new to hiking, consider picking a short beginner-level trail. This will help build your pup’s endurance and reduce the risk of injury. As your pet gets more hiking experience, you can gradually increase the length and difficulty of your adventures. 

When hiking with your dog, it’s also important to be mindful of common trail dangers. These include poisonous plants and dangerous wildlife such as snakes. These dangers can vary depending on your location, so it’s essential to do some research ahead of time.

Once you are on the trail, limit your dog’s exposure to danger by keeping them on a leash. This will help you monitor what your dog comes in contact with and reduce their risk of harm. 

What to Do if Your Dog is Hurt on a Hike

While we always do our best to keep our pets safe, accidents happen. If your dog gets injured on your hike, you will need to assess the situation and provide first aid. Seeing your dog in pain can be stressful, so start by taking a deep breath and focusing on how you can help your pup. 

Next, you will need to assess the situation. Did your dog slip and fall? Have they been injured by another animal on the trail? This information can be extremely helpful for understanding the extent of your pet’s injuries and what kind of care they may need. Approach your pet cautiously, and avoid putting yourself in danger. If you get hurt trying to rush to your pet’s side, it may create a bigger problem for both you and your dog. 

The first aid your pet will need will depend on what kind of injury they have sustained. Clean and bandage minor wounds. More substantial injuries may require pressure to stop the bleeding. Having a basic understanding of dog first aid is helpful, but you don’t have to become a medical whiz. The goal of dog first aid is to stabilize your pet until you can get them to a veterinarian. 

When planning your hike, it’s always a good idea to locate the nearest emergency vet clinic. While we hope you will never have to use this information, it can save you valuable time in an emergency. 

Final Thoughts on Hiking With a Dog

Hiking is a great way to enjoy quality time with your furry friend. Knowing what to pack and how to keep your dog out of harm’s way is an essential part of dog hiking safety. We hope this information will serve as a helpful guide as you plan for your next big adventure. Happy hiking!

New at Nulo: Try Our Functional Granola Bars for Dogs

Granola Bars come in four different delicious varieties. This better-for-them snack is easily packable for long hikes!