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Animal Skin and Allergy Clinic Blog

8 Great Tips for Hiking With Your Pet

Hiking with your pet is a great opportunity for pet health, pet exercise, and to combat pet obesitySpring has finally sprung, and it’s that time of year in the PNW when we have a small window between rainy seasons (yeah, right!). Nonetheless, most outdoor enthusiasts don’t mind a little inclement weather and are gearing up for some hiking fun this season.

Since hiking safety means a lot of awareness and little bit of preparation, hiking with your pet naturally requires an added level of safety and legwork. To help make the most out of the great outdoors with your furry loved one, the Animal Skin and Allergy Clinic has a few tips to make sure every trek is an awesome one.

Hiking With Your Pet

Whether you are a long-time hiking enthusiast, with all the gear and experience to go with it, or this will be your first year hitting the trails it’s important to be prepared before venturing into the great outdoors. There are many great guides and resources available out there with hundreds of hiking tips and gear needs. So many, in fact, that you might end up experiencing a bout of information overload so our team took a stab at paring things down to 8 simple tips for hiking with your pet.

  1. Parasite prevention is your first step. Make sure your pet is on a monthly heartworm, flea, and tick prevention medication. You should also ensure they receive any vaccines that may be necessary to protect them from diseases carried by wildlife.

  2. Pack plenty of water for your pet. It’s tempting to allow your pet to drink from creeks and rivers, but there’s been a definite rise in water-borne parasitic illnesses, such as giardia and leptospirosis. Resist the urge, and offer fresh water instead.

  3. Rest and snacks are important. No matter how energetic your fur friend is, make sure to schedule enough rest stops throughout the day; remember to bring healthy treats to refuel.

  4. Condition for longer hikes. Like us, our pets need to be conditioned to sustain longer, more rigorous hikes. Start out easy, and gradually work your way up to more difficult and longer trails over time. If you’re ever in doubt about your pet’s ability, opt for the easier route!

  5. Mind the weather. A sudden storm can threaten you and your pet with hypothermia. When it’s hot out, stick to walking during cooler times of day, like mornings or evenings.

  6. Stick to the trail. Off trail hikes can be fun, but the potential for running into trouble is much more likely when you go exploring. Plus, you’re less likely to encounter wildlife on a well-used path. Don’t forget to keep your dog leashed at all times. Make lots of noise to avoid surprising wildlife.

  7. Mind the paws. Rocky terrain, or longer hikes in general, can take a toll on your pet’s sensitive paw pads. Check every so often for redness, cuts, or thorns/spurs. If the terrain is rough, opt for dog booties to protect those precious paws.

  8. Check for ticks and foxtails. After a hike, inspect your pet’s skin, coat, ears, and other hard-to-reach areas for ticks and foxtails. Foxtails are dangerous because they can burrow into the skin, urethra, and other sensitive areas. Remove any debris or ticks immediately.

Lastly, don’t forget to make it fun for your pet! Even if your goal is fitness, try to consider how your pet is feeling, and make it enjoyable for them. After all, the journey is more important than the destination. Please give us a call if you need any pointers. Happy trails!