It’s no secret we love our dog and try to include him in some of our adventures. Harold loves trails and loves to camp, so it’s only fitting to take him hiking.
Although he’s not a large dog, he charges up mountains leaving me trailing behind in his dust!
Here are some tips if you want to take your dog hiking:
- Check park regulations. We generally hike in Jasper National Park in the Rocky Mountains of Alberta. Dogs are allowed in the park, on a leash. However, there are some trails where they aren’t allowed due to wildlife. Read up before you go and follow the park rules.
- Choose a trail that matches their ability. Know your dog’s fitness and activity level before choosing a hike. Take them on longer walks, up and down hills, and on various terrains before heading out.
- Read up about dangers in the area. Are there tics, snakes, poison ivy or other dangers to dogs? If so, what can you do protect your pet? Jasper has tics in summer, so we give Harold medicine before we go.
- Carry first aid tools. We take a pet first aid book with us that covers most topics. It’s also wise to take a mini first aid kit that can double for both humans and canines!
- Take food and water. You need to hydrate and fuel on a hike, and so does your pet! Take a collapsible bowl or a bottle with a large lid so your dog can easily drink.
- Understand wildlife in the area. Read up about local wildlife and their patterns. Jasper National Park posts bear activity on their website, and there are warnings posted at trailheads if there has been animal activity. It’s also good to know about the animals- where are bears more likely to be in spring versus autumn, when are elk calving and more aggressive, etc?
- Take the proper gear. Along with leashing your pet, make sure you have the proper gear. Will there be inclement weather and will they need a sweater, jacket or boots? Consider using a pet pack so they can carry some of their food and gear. (Be sure to start with a light pack and have them wear it a few times before a big hike.)
We have only taken Harold on day hikes, so that’s what this list is geared towards. Next summer we hope to take him on an overnight hike!
Do you take your pet hiking? What tips do you have to offer?