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6 Hiking Mistakes to Avoid with Dogs

6 Hiking Mistakes to Avoid with Dogs

Hiking with dogs can be absolutely wonderful. Just imagine being in the great outdoors with your furry friend, hiking along beautiful streams, and taking in the wonder that nature has to offer. The outdoors is a great way to bond with your dog, especially if done right. 

However, it is easy to overlook important things when you are excited about taking your dog on a hike. To make sure that both you and your dog have a good time and that no one gets injured, you have got to be on your toes, ready for anything that nature or your pet can throw at you. Hiking with pets requires some preparation and planning to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. In this blog, we will discuss some common hiking mistakes to avoid when with pets.

Common Hiking Mistakes with Pets

1. Starting Too Young

While hiking with a puppy sounds like fun, more often than not, young puppies are not physically ready to take on rigorous hikes. Their joints and bones are developing, and hiking too soon can cause issues later on down the road. 

In fact, larger dogs' bones and joints aren’t fully formed until they are about two years old. While they can go on small excursions, puppies shouldn't go on substantial hikes until their bodies have fully matured; otherwise, they could be prone to growth plate injuries.

2. Not Thinking About Water

Dehydration is a serious concern for pets during hikes, especially in hot weather conditions. It is easy to bring water along with you and think that they will drink enough throughout the hiking trip as long as you provide it for them.

Like humans, dogs are complicated creatures and will sometimes refuse to drink even when they need to. This can be for a multitude of reasons, some of which are:

  • Anxiety
  • Distraction
  • Tiredness
  • Discomfort

If your dog is experiencing any of these issues, it may be time to slow down and assess the situation. In some cases, you may be able to entice them to drink by throwing treats into the water bowl or adding a flavored electrolyte mix. 

3. Going Too Hard

Dogs, much like people, do not always do well when they are pushed beyond their limits. If your pet is not in shape for the upcoming hike, they could tire quickly, or get injured. This could lead to a less than an enjoyable trip with an exhausted dog and a frustrated human. 

It is best to train and scale your dog, starting out with short walks and slowly graduating to harder and more strenuous hikes over time. Building up endurance takes time, but it will make time outdoors with your pet far more enjoyable for both of you.

4. Forgetting to Check the Weather Forecast

High temperatures and exhausted dogs do not go hand in hand. If there is not enough water to drink or nothing for a dog to cool down in, then it may not be a good time to take your dog out for a hike. Much like humans, dogs can get dehydrated and experience heat exhaustion or heat stroke. 

If you do decide to go out when it is warm, make sure to bring plenty of water, and plan your hike alongside a stream so that your furry friend can hop in and cool off if they get overheated.

5. Not Following Local Regulations

There is nothing quite as embarrassing as getting a ticket for breaking a local ordinance regarding pets on trails. Before embarking on a hiking trip with your dogs, it is essential to check the rules and regulations of the hiking trail. 

Some hiking trails may not allow pets, while others may have specific rules about leashes and dog waste. Ignoring these rules can lead to unwanted fines and safety issues for both you and your pets.

6. Forgetting About Wildlife

When out on the trail, you are no longer in your world but in the world of nature and its inhabitants. Not planning for wildlife encounters can lead to highly dangerous situations without pets. 

However, wildlife encounters can be even more dangerous when involving pets, especially if they are not well-trained. Be sure to keep your pet on a leash and avoid areas known for wildlife encounters. Additionally, be cautious of poisonous plants and insects that may harm your pet.

Hiking with pets can be a fun and rewarding experience, but it requires preparation and planning. By avoiding the above common hiking mistakes, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable hike for you and your furry friend. Remember to always respect the rules and regulations of the hiking trail, prepare your pet, pack essentials, be mindful of wildlife, train your pet, and respect other hikers. Happy hiking!

Barkwells Is a Great Home Base for Your Next Outdoor Adventure!

If you and your dogs are outdoor lovers and you are looking for a pet-centric retreat, then look no further than Barkwells, The Dog Lover’s Vacation Retreat. We have ten cabins between Asheville and Brevard. 

We offer everything you and your dogs need to enjoy all of the comforts of home, along with access to a wide variety of activities and amenities, including private ponds and acres of fenced-in meadows. At Barkwells, we have plenty of space for your dogs to explore in a safe and secure environment

For reservations or more information about our dog lovers' getaway, get in touch with us or visit our website.