The Right Way To Hike With Your Dog
Your neighborhood walk route was fun the first time, but now you and your dog know it too well. If your schedule allows for a longer walk, hikes are a great way to expand your dog's routine. Your dog will love the exciting new smells, sights, and sounds of the great outdoors. Longer walks in nature can also help vary you and your dog's exercise regimen.
If you're ready to start planning your first hike, consider your dog's age and ability before tackling super strenuous or long hikes. Also be sure to pack all the items on your hiking essentials list before heading out the door.
Best Practices to Follow When Hiking With Your Dog
Learn the B.A.R.K. Rules
Even if you're not taking your dog on a national park hike, the National Park Service's B.A.R.K. principles will help you have a positive experience with your pet in an unfamiliar environment.
- Bag your pet's waste: Leave no trace by picking up your dog's poop on the trail and "packing out" any filled bags. It's bad practice to leave bags by the trailhead for later pickup, so throw them out when you get home. Also try to lead your dog away from water sources to pee.
- Always leash your pet: Prioritize safety and control while hiking by keeping your dog on a short leash. Other hikers and their dogs will greatly appreciate this. Additionally, by keeping your dog on a leash you'll be able to see what they're doing and keep them from doing anything dangerous. Only let your dog off leash in a designated off-leash area where you have verbal control of your dog and can see them at all times.
- Respect wildlife: The goal of a hike is to enjoy nature, but also to leave the area better than you found it. Respect plant and animal life by keeping your dog on the trail.
- Know where you can go: Before launching into your hike, know the regulations for the area where you intend to hike. Always check to ensure your dog is allowed to accompany you prior to driving to or beginning your hike.
Don't forget to take photos while you're out on your hike! Tag @DailyPawsMag on Instagram for a chance to be featured.