Hiking with your dog - everything you need to know.

Hiking with your dog - everything you need to know.

Hiking with your dog is one of the greatest bonding exercises! Dogs love the great outdoors and make the best-hiking partners. Here in the UK, we are blessed with beautiful countryside and mountains. There is also no better way to align your soul and mind than being in nature. So what's stopping you from getting outdoors with your best friend?

What do you need to think about? 

Just like us, dogs need a certain fitness level before taking on any lengthy hike. I would advise doing an hour hike, maybe somewhere local but also somewhere that's going to test your dog's fitness level. If after returning your dog is still going strong and ready for round two you could next time try upping your hours out. Improving your dog's fitness level will also help keep aging diseases away! It is also advisable to get a vet check before any strenuous hike. The vet will be able to help you get a clear picture of your dog's health. 

Once you are confident that your dog can do the miles you planning it's time to think about the legal stuff! So it is a legal obligation in the UK to have a dog tag on your dog with the relevant information on there. It's also a good idea to make sure your chip details are up to date. 

What to take.

When I prepare for a hike with my pack I always sort the dog packs out first! In my dog packs, I pack a basic first aid kit which has a bandage, trimmex, anti-bac powder, scissors, gauze, tic remover, paw cream, and tweezers. It may be simple but these will potentially save your dog's life. Then I always pack a protein bar, skinners make a fabulous protein bar for dogs and they love them! Water is the biggest essential in my book. How much to take will depend on your dog and the weather you are hiking in. On my last hike in July, my Belgium Malinois went through around 5, 500ml bottles as well as taking advantage of the fresh spring streams that were around. Next to think about is your leads/harnesses and collars. I always use the dog's trail harnesses that have separate bags on them for them to carry things but this is optional. A waist lead is a great tool to have as your dog must be under control at all times! (Always carry a spare lead too). Poo bags are another essential and an obvious fact but please always tell someone where you are going as I have found, the phone signal is not great sometimes. 

What you need to know. 

Hiking with your dog is just the best experience but things can go wrong very quickly so it's always best to be prepared. Teaching your dog basic obedience beforehand is the best tool you can give! Not only could this save their life but it also makes your life so much simpler. 

Poisonous plants are another thing you need to be aware of! It's best to gain basic knowledge on plants that could harm your dog as some can simply burn them if they walk on one. 

Keep your dog on a lead. Hiking and watching people frantically searching for their best friend has taught me that no amount of off lead time is worth that pain. Off-lead exercise is great but you will be in a place that both of you are unfamiliar with and it's also courteous to the local wildlife and farm animals that you may pass on your journey. As well as being respectful to other hikers. Remember that not everyone loves dogs! 

Great places to go hiking with your dog! 

* The 3 peaks in the Yorkshire dales. 

* The seven sisters in Sussex. 

* Pendle Hill in Pendle. 

* Malham Tarn walkway in The Yorkshire Dales. 

* Rossendale boot trail. 

Happy hiking!!!


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