If you are planning to have Fido join you on an upcoming hiking trip, follow these easy tips before loading up the car and hitting the road. You're dog certainly won't be making the to-do list, so its up to you to pack the essentials and cover all the bases.
Though a few of your dog's needs mimic yours, as in 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 access to a large number of trails.
Your best bet is to phone ahead and ask for specific information as to dog tolerance and trail access for your canine. Here's a handy resource of park information throughout the country to help get you started.
More: Park Info to Find Your Camping Spot
2. Take Plenty of Water
This not only includes water during your hike, but water after the trails as well. For example, if you are anticipating to consume 1 liter of water while on a hike and your pet weighs more than 50 pounds, plan on packing an equal amount for your dog. Hydration requirements will also depend on the ambient temperature, breed of dog and your dog specifically.
More: Purify Your Water
Some breeds, such as shepherds or huskies with double-layered coats, may require more cooling off than other breeds with thinner coats. The color of their coat, as in black versus white, will also determine how quickly your dog 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 your pet to wipe-out, or is overheating a problem? Overheating occurs when body temperature reaches or exceeds 104 degrees Celsius.
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A good way to gauge overheating without a thermometer is when the tongue hangs from the side of the mouth and is weighed or rounded at the end. Also, rapid or heavy panting may be an indication. Place your dog in the shade immediately and wet the "armpits" and chest area.
Also remember, your dog can pack gear as well. There are a variety of dog packs on the market for this very purpose.
More: Dog-Friendly Campgrounds