The Keys to Pet Hiking Safety
The hills are alive with the sound of music (of course), but they’re also brimming with wildlife, budding foliage, and beautiful trails. It’s time to get out into nature and enjoy all that Maine has to offer – a fact that’s not lost on an adventurous dog. Everyone’s chomping at the bit to get out for a better view, but without a thorough understanding – and application – of pet hiking safety, your daytrip could go from lovely to dangerous in minutes.
Before you and your dog embark on mountainous trails or forested pathways, it’s a good idea to get them checked out. Hiking is wonderful exercise, but depending on your dog’s age, lifestyle, and previous experience, they may not be up for a long journey. We’re happy to help you figure out how much exertion your dog can handle safely.
Over time, you can train your dog to be a long-distance hiker by starting out with shorter hikes (less than an hour to begin with), building stamina and toughening up paw pads.
What About Bugs?
One of the biggest considerations of pet hiking safety has to do with parasites. Mosquitoes are a definite hazard, but ticks are equally threatening. If your dog isn’t currently on a parasite prevention medication or isn’t up to date with their vaccinations, we urge you to get this done before hitting the trails.
Other Aspects of Pet Hiking Safety
Allowing your dog to roam away from you is tempting if they’ve proven they can follow voice commands, but please be sure to follow the leash laws in the area where you’re hiking. This decreases the chance of wildlife encounters, protects against a lost pet situation, and prevents falls from unsafe heights. Please be sure to microchip your pet and furnish new ID tags if worn. Also consider the following:
- Pack a pet first aid kit with antiseptic, tweezers, liquid bandages, etc.
- Bring plenty of fresh water and a collapsible bowl (prohibit drinking from streams or puddles).
- Provide lots of breaks in the shade.
- Prepare meals and snacks for your dog to keep them going throughout the day.
- Watch closely for any hazardous terrain and provide protective boots, if necessary.
- Keep an eye out for poisonous plants, toxic mushrooms, snakes, and other wildlife.
- Be mindful of deep water when crossing; be sure to outfit your pet in a life jacket.
- Bring lots of waste bags and always pack out your dog’s poop.
- Always check the weather before you leave, and tell someone where you’re going.
- Know the signs of distress and map out your departure route without delay.
If you have additional questions about pet hiking safety, we’re only a phone call away. Happy trails!