Social distancing is here to stay for the foreseeable future, and it can make taking walks with your dog a chore as you try to avoid other people on your route. Fortunately, there are many dog friendly trail systems open to help you escape the crowds while you and your dog get much-needed exercise. Hiking is great for you and your dog's health as it helps the two (or more) of you stay fit and strong while other exercise options are closed. Make sure to stop and see the veterinarian for a wellness check and flea and tick prevention before hiking a lot this summer.
Get a Backpack for Your Dog
You and your dog are going to need comfort and practical items while you hike, even if it's just a short trip. Water, an extra collar and leash, waste bags, treats and a portable water bowl are all necessities for your dog and lightweight. Carrying a first aid kit for the two of you is also highly advisable. Your dog is capable of carrying most these items in a backpack which lets you pack your own items and carry less weight.
Teach Your Dog to Wear Booties
The pads of a dog's foot adapt to the type of terrain they regularly walk upon, but that's no guarantee that your dog won't suffer a torn pad during a hike. Teaching your dog how to adjust to wearing booties before going out on long hikes on variable terrain can be a life saver for you and your dog.
In the event your dog suffers a torn pad, you can care for the tear with first aid items, then put a bootie on over the tear. Your dog may be comfortable enough to hike out on all fours and save you the trouble of carrying them for long distances. Alternatively, prevent tears altogether by teaching your dog to tolerate booties for long periods of time.
Microchip Your Dog Before You Start Hiking
It may sometimes happen that a dog slips the leash or loses recall and runs away from its owner. Lost dogs also get found and attempts are made to return them to their owner. If your dog hasn't been microchipped, make an appointment with a veterinarian and get the chip inserted, then registered to you. Microchipped animals are much more likely to be returned to their owners than ones who are not. Collars with ID tags and contact information also help with a lost dog, but the microchip can't be lost whereas a collar can come off.
Follow Trail Etiquette at All Times
Prior to starting out on the hiking trails, you want to make sure that you and your dog are welcome. Not all trails are dog friendly and you don't want to find out the hard way. Always be aware of where your dog is in relation to you, pick up all waste, and make sure to pack everything out that you brought in. It's good manners and keeps the trails pleasant for other users.