It’s that time of year when the leaves start changing, the temperature starts dropping, and people want to get out there and enjoy! There’s no better time of the year to hike some of these wonderful trails and mountains that NC has to offer. Have you brought your dog along before? Are you thinking about bringing your dog with you for the first time? Here are some things to think about:
- Look for places that will be “easy on the paws,” so to speak. Think about the ground temperature. The ideal trail will be shady and soft. It’s best to avoid sharp rocks and steep drops. Remember, you have strong and sturdy shoes on. Your dog’s pads are completely exposed to the elements.
- Whether you use a collar or a harness, make sure that they are snug enough that it won’t cause chafing. Have you heard of the two-finger rule? If you can’t fit two fingers in between the collar/harness and your dog’s skin, it is TOO TIGHT. But, the collar/harness being too loose can be just as problematic.
- Make sure you pack food and water for your dog, and bring two separate bowls for them to eat and drink out of. Keep in mind, you may have to increase their food during the hike by up to 50%, depending on how strenuous the hike is. It’s also a good idea to start with a small serving of food BEFORE the hike to get the energy level up and moving beforehand. Same as if you had a protein bar before. It’s a good rule of thumb to say that whenever you’re thirsty, they’re thirsty. Are you taking a sip of water every 15-20 minutes? Your dog is probably thirsty, too. Also, try to limit drinking from lakes or streams.
- Make sure you bring specific animal-approved first aid products. Maybe a pair of tweezers for tick removal? Maybe some anti-biotic cream for scrapes? Things like that.
- ALWAYS keep your dog leashed! Around people, and if you’re alone as well. They could run off. They could slip and fall. Just make sure to always have control of them, regardless.
- When your dog goes #2, don’t leave it. The two best options are double-bagging it and throwing it away at an approved waste station, or burying it away from trail and water sources. Leaving it could attract unwanted animals, could inconvenience other hikers… plus, it’s just yucky!
- If your dog is a first-timer, or has only hiked with you just a couple of times, be sure to start with shorter hikes. Don’t overstrain yourself, and especially your pet.
- Most importantly, have fun!!! And take lots of pictures! And send them to us so we can enjoy them, too!
Pics From: rei.com, pinterest.com, wilderness.org, backpackerverse.com