Hiking With Your Dog : 13 Ways To Keep Your Pet Safe On Your Next Wilderness Adventure - Charleston SC Pet Boarding, Grooming | Pet Hotel in Johns Island, SC | Moonshadow Pet Resort - Charleston SC Pet Boarding, Grooming | Pet Hotel in Johns Island, SC | Moonshadow Pet Resort

Hiking With Your Dog : 13 Ways To Keep Your Pet Safe On Your Next Wilderness Adventure

Hiking With Your Dog : 13 Ways To Keep Your Pet Safe On Your Next Wilderness Adventure


As the best dog boarding facility in Charleston, SC, we want to always provide you ways to improve the quality of your pet lives.

One of the ways to do that is by bringing your pet on hikes.

Hitting the trails with your canine friend can be a fantastic way to deepen the canine-human connection first established 30,000 years ago when the wolves were domesticated by Paleolithic hunter-gatherers in East Asia.

Hiking is also one of the best ways to get you and your doggo into peak physical condition.

However, when you take your pooch for a hike, you’ve got to keep a few things in mind:

  1. Make Sure Your Dog is Physically Fit

Make sure that your hound is physically fit enough to go trekking through the wilderness with you. Don’t bring a pet with a serious health problem because, unfortunately, veterinary services aren’t available when you’re smack dab in the middle of a secluded forest.

Have your vet do a thorough medical evaluation to make sure that Fido is up for the challenge.

  1. Be Aware of Heat-Related Dangers

Instead of sweating to dissipate excess heat, dogs cool themselves by panting. That’s not nearly as good as perspiring. This means your canine companion can be at serious risk for heatstroke. That’s especially true when it’s so blisteringly hot the mercury is ready to break free of its glass tube and shoot skyward.

Limit the amount of time you spend hiking with your pet in hot weather and make sure she stays hydrated. Some owners train their pets to drink water as they pour it from their drinking receptacle. You can also use a collapsible dish.

Larger dogs might drink one ounce of water per pound per day. Dogs 20 pounds and lighter will slurp up closer to 1.5 ounces of water per pound per day.  If your dog’s nose is dry, you’re not giving her enough water.

You should be taking lots of breaks and stay in the shaded parts of the forest as much as possible. Some breeds are so hypersensitive to heat they should only go for short treks in warm weather.

  1. Watch Out For Hidden Forest Hazards

There are animals in the forest’s hidden recesses who are just trying to eke out their little ecological niche. Suddenly, your pooch emerges in the clearing barking up a storm believing that the critter represents a horrific threat to both herself and you.

Now, 99% of these animals won’t want to mess with your canine protector and will beat a hasty retreat. However, some of them will aggressively defend their domain, and your dog could get injured.

It’s critical that you keep an eye on your dog and don’t let her wander off. There are lots of venomous vipers, poisonous plants, and wild animals out there!

Regularly check your dog’s for thistles, pebbles, and burrs that can lodge themselves into your poor dog’s paws, causing untold pain and misery.

Even though many dogs who get Lyme disease are asymptomatic, you still need to carefully inspect your pooch for ticks after a backcountry excursion.

  1. Put Your Pooch on A Training Regimen

If you were going to run a marathon, you wouldn’t do it without training first. Taking a dog hiking is no different. For some pets (especially those who aren’t physically active), hiking is akin to running a twenty-six-mile footrace.

So, establish a realistic training regimen. Start out with short hikes of thirty minutes or so with frequent rest breaks. Carefully assess your pooch’s physical condition to make sure you’re not overdoing it. You don’t want to be in the middle of the woods and find out your dog is suffering unbearable agony because you didn’t know your canine’s limits!

Canine companions often push themselves until they collapse because they want to please their owners.

Watch how long it takes for your dogs’ breathing and heart rate to normalize after a wilderness adventure. If your dog seems too winded, take more frequent breaks.

  1. Keep Your Dog Leashed at All Times

Make sure your pet is always on a leash. Use a regular one. That’s because retractable leashes have a nasty habit of getting tangled up with the intertwining brambles, prickly shrubs, and assorted other snarling vegetation the woods are full of.

Even if you’re in an area where dogs aren’t required to be leashed, it’s still better to do it for your own animal’s protection.

  1. Respect the Rules

Keep in mind that most state and national parks don’t allow dogs—even those on a leash. Before heading out on your backwoods adventure with your furry friend, find out if she’s going to be permitted to accompany you.

Don’t let your pet dig holes in the forest floor, pull plants out of the ground, or harass wildlife, such as ducks swimming peacefully in a pond.

  1. Steer Clear of Unfamiliar Bodies of Water

Don’t allow your pooch to swim in or drink from water you’re not sure about because dogs are susceptible to many of the same waterborne pathogens as humans are. Many ponds, lakes, and rivers are a breeding ground for harmful bacteria such as leptospirosis or giardia.

If you know you’ll be hiking in an area without a water source you’re sure is clean and safe, bring along some bottled water, or a portable water purifier.

  1. Pick up After Your Pooch

Keep the environment clean by putting your pet’s waste into bags. You can also bury it in a hole at least six to eight inches deep and at least 200 feet away from hiking paths, encampments, and drinking water sources.

  1. Get Identification for Your Pet

Your dog might get lost in the woods if she sees a critter scurrying away in the underbrush, and in her intense excitement, pulls her leash right out of your hands.

When you own a dog, you should always be prepared for the unexpected.

That’s why she must always have an ID on her in the form of a harness tag or a microchip. A dog shouldn’t be wearing a collar in the wilderness because it could get caught on brambles, branches or bushes, choking your dog.

  1. Keep Your Pet Safe with A Bandana

Put a bandana or other brightly colored clothing on your dog, so a hunter doesn’t mistake her for a wild animal. Of course, this only applies during hunting season.

  1. Make Sure Your Dog Has A Current Rabies Vaccination

Forest creatures can carry rabies.

That’s why you need to make sure your dog is current on all her shots. Your dog should also be on medications for heartworms, ticks, and fleas because the woods are full of these nasty parasites.

To them, your cute dog is their latest meal ticket!

  1. Learn Doggie First Aid

Learn how to take care of your pet in case an emergency rears its ugly head while you’re out in the wilderness.

Knowing these essential skills could even save your dog’s life!

There are courses, books, and videos that can teach you how to do this. However, most of these skills are useless without a decent doggie first aid kit, so make sure you get one of those too.

  1. Think About Getting Some Doggie Hiking Accessories

Dog boots can prevent many hiking-related injuries by protecting your canine’s paws from the ravages of trail life such as stinging insects, sharp rocks, thorns, and burrs. They’re also an excellent idea if your dog is getting older and requires joint support.

If you’re planning on going on an extended ramble and want your dog to carry her own gear, get a doggie hiking pack. With one, your pooch can carry all her own hiking essentials such as her travel bowl, snacks, and water. Get a brightly colored pack with reflective trim to increase your dog’s visibility to hunters.

To make sure it fits, measure your dog’s chest’s circumference around the broadest part of her rib cage. Select the pack that most closely equals these measurements. Make sure it fits snugly without it being too tight.

Final Thoughts

Those are some ways you can ensure your dog has a safe and enjoyable time when you next venture out into the heart-aching beauty and all-encompassing solitude of the forest. And by meeting one of your pet’s most basic, primal needs, you’ll be pampering her.

Another way is to treat her to a luxury experience at Moonshadow Pet Resort, Charleston’s premier doggy daycare, boarding, and grooming facility.

Our premium baths cleanse away all the muck, crud, grime, and dirt she picked up in the woods. Her deluxe spa treatment will soothe tired muscles as our top-secret combination of shampoo and conditioners will imbue her with a delightfully aromatic fragrance.

The pampering doesn’t stop there because every bath includes a blow dry, nail trimming, and ear cleaning. We also offer dog grooming so your pet can look her stunning best.

If you have daily commitments that keep you away from your pet, try our doggie daycare service. Your dog will have everything she needs for an enjoyable stay, such as delicious food, a comfortable bed, toys, treats, and endless hugs and kisses.

We also offer the most exceptional dog boarding in all of Charleston.

Call us today to give your pet a luxurious spa experience that’ll make her tail waggle with delirious joy!

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