Hiking with your dog requires planning and preparation. Though a few of your dog's needs mimic yours, as in the need for food and water, there are a few others to keep in mind as you prepare to head outdoors.
1. Find a Dog-Friendly Hiking Trail
Finding a dog-friendly trail may be easier said than done. The National Park Service website, for example, does not organize parks in regards to dog access. Even if dogs are allowed, they may be restricted to a small number of trails. Be sure to double check; call ahead and ask for specific information as to dog tolerance and trail access for your canine.
2. Take Plenty of Water
Hiking with your dog requires extra water. And, this not only includes water for your hike, but enough for after, as well. Hydration requirements will depend on the ambient temperature, breed of dog and your dog in particular.
Some breeds, such as shepherds or huskies, with double-layered coats, may require more cooling than other thin haired dogs. The color of their coat, as in black versus white, will also determine how quickly your pup will heat up.
Finally, know your particular dog. How does your pet normally handle medium to heavy exercise at home? Does it take a while for fido to wipe-out, or is overheating a problem?
If your dog's body temperature reaches 109 degrees fahrenheit, it's susceptible to heat stroke. Look for your dog's tongue hanging from the side of their mouth and whether it's rounded at the end; this may be a sign they are overheated. Rapid or heavy panting is another important indicator. If this happens, place your dog in the shade immediately and wet the armpits and chest area.
More: Dog-Friendly Campgrounds