When Tails Meet Trails: 5 Tips for Keeping Your Dog Healthy and Happy on Your Next Hike

There are few things that will set a tail to wagging faster than the sight of an open trail. Even the laziest of dogs enjoy an occasional (brief) stroll in the great outdoors. So, as the summer winds down, why not treat your four-legged adventurer to one last warm-weather trek?

Before you do, though, be sure to follow these 5 tips to help keep your dog healthy and happy along the way:

  • two climbers and a dogKeep the Leash in the Car – We want nothing more than for you to #UnleashAdventure and let your pooch run free. Some trails require leashes however, so know the rules before your feet leave the pavement. But for those that don’t, feel free to leave that leash in the vehicle. Your dog is ready to explore.
  • Load up on Food & Water – Your dog is going to burn a lot of energy on the trail. So, make sure to bring more food and water than they usually consume at home. Pack plenty of their favorite food and make frequent stops to see if they need to refuel. An abundant supply of water (and a collapsible drinking bowl) are essential for your dog’s safety. Even if it isn’t a particularly hot day, your dog will most likely need plenty of water along the way.
  • Know Your Canine’s Capabilities – You wouldn’t take your grandma to a KISS concert, so don’t take your elderly, arthritic dog on a 10-mile hike. Plan ahead to make sure that the length of the hike, and the difficulty of the trail, are appropriate for your dog. And if it’s your pooch’s first ever time on the trails, you may want to check with your vet to be sure they’re fit for the adventure ahead.
  • Know When to Call It Quits – Even if your dog is trail-tested and given a clean bill of health by your vet, remember that every dog has their limits. If your dog starts to pant rapidly and/or pause frequently on the path, it’s definitely time for a break (preferably in the shade). Dogs are a lot less efficient than humans at dissipating heat, so if you’re feeling uncomfortably hot, your dog is probably roasting. Get them to rest and use a cool compress to help lower their body temperature.
  • Gear Up – If there’s a chance of cold or rain in the forecast, be sure to bring along some appropriate clothing for your little friend. And for you hardcore adventurers, if you’re encountering extreme terrain, consider getting Fido some footwear to protect their paws against cuts, slips, and burns.

Fall is upon us, and it doesn’t take Dr. Doolittle to know that your dog would probably enjoy at least one last trek before the summer’s end. So, get out there and unleash adventure with your dog and tell us how it goes.

Happy trails.

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