As someone who loves to hike, you have probably thought about taking your dog with you at one point or another. However, getting your dog involved in this activity may not be appropriate if he or she doesn't meet at least a few standards. This guide explains when you should not take your dog hiking and when you can.
The Age of Your Dog
Your dog's age is an important factor to consider before taking it on a hike. Older dogs are prone to joint and bone problems. An extended, strenuous hike can actually cause these sorts of problems to flare up.
A young puppy should not be hiking regularly either. Even though young dogs have lots of energy, they're still in a fragile stage of growth and bone structure development. Most dogs have finished growing when they have reached the age of around a year a half. A fully-grown dog that is in good health is a prime candidate for a hike.
Your Dog Has Had the Appropriate Shots
Wooded areas and hiking trails are often homes to ticks, fleas, and other bugs. Hiking with your dog exposes him or her to some potential threats that can be prevented. Visit a veterinarian at a clinic like University Pet Hospital and make sure your dog's shots are up to date to protect it from disease. Also, request that your vet provide the appropriate tick and flea preventions.
Some tick and flea medications have longer protection period than others. However, your dog's size and weight may be a determining factor in what sort of dosage should be given.
Make Sure Dogs Are Allowed
Look up the details of the park or trail that you plan on hiking with your dog. These places usually have explanations posted that describe the intensity of the trails and explain the terrain and length of time to expect for the hike. Your primary concern is whether or not dogs are allowed on the trail.
Once you're sure that pets are welcome, consider how your dog will fare on the trail with all the information you have.
Note: Don't forget to take your baggies to clean up after your dog, should they decide that the hiking trail is a great place to defecate.
Get your dog as involved as you can in as many activities as possible. Hiking gets your dog out into the great outdoors, but make sure you have considered all the above, so you don't end up with problems that you could have avoided. Ask your vet about other precautions to take or if there are some other reasons to refrain from taking your dog with you on your next hiking adventure.