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Hiking With Your Dog

Taking your pup out on the trail with you can be a wonderful experience. But, before taking your dog out on the trail you should ensure their shots are current, they are collared, (including proper identification) and leashed. You should also make sure they respond to voice commands, especially when calling them back.

You must also respect the established rules for the area in which you are hiking. Dogs are not allowed on trails in National Parks, they are usually allowed in National Forests, and the rules are wide and varied for State Parks. So be sure to check park regulations concerning dogs before heading out. Even when dogs are allowed on trails, nearly all parks require that dogs be leashed at all times.

Don’t expect your pooch to simply get right out there and go for a ten mile hike either. The same training regimen that you undertake also applies to your dog. Start by taking the pup out for short hikes while slowly increasing the distance and difficulty of the trail. Try dog booties to protect their paws and trim their toenails too.

Especially in this desert climate it is imperative that you take enough water for both you and your dog. Since they are covered with fur and have fewer sweat glands dogs can overheat much faster than humans. Collapsible dog bowls work great and most dogs can get used to drinking from squirt bottles too. Avoid the mid-day heat, and try choosing a shady trail.

Most of all - pay attention! If you notice your dog is panting excessively, wants to stay in the shade, or keeps plopping down on the trail and doesn’t seem to want to go on, check to see if they have a dry mouth and nose, or their gums are red. I’ve also read that if you pinch the skin on their upper backs and it doesn’t spring back quickly it is another sign of dehydration. If so, get them into the shade, provide plenty of water, rub water on their stomach and legs, and let them rest before heading back to the trailhead.

Hike Smart & Have Fun!

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