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Hiking with Dogs

A basset hound laying with his head on a trail map
My pup plans our hike for the next day

I love dogs even more than I love to hike. My pup is a basset hound named Wendell (pictured above). He is wily and stubborn and absolutely LOVES to hike. Wendell was found wandering around Alabama and so, like me, he has a bit of restless streak. He needs to be out sniffing merrily. That is when he is happiest.

So, there are some things you should do if you are going to take your dog hiking. First and foremost, snacks and water are vital. Water is the most important. Just like you, your dog needs to stay hydrated when hiking. I have a small, collapsible water bowl that I take with me. I also bring snacks, too, because he’s burning calories just like I am.

Make sure to take periodic breaks to give your dog a chance to drink and take a break. Much like children, dogs often need reminding to hydrate and take breaks.

And, I’m going to say the following because it’s best for both your dog and nature: Keep your dog on a leash. For real. I know you might think that he or she wants to roam free. They do. But that’s what dog parks are for. Dogs off leash pose a danger to other dogs and people. And, they will likely go off trail where they could potentially damage the environment. Just leash them. And in most parks, it’s the law. So, there’s that. Ok. Off my soapbox.

When you finish your hike, it’s always a good idea to do a thorough flea and tick check. The fleas are harder to see, but those ticks are usually easy to spot. Even if your dog is on anti-flea and tick meds, a check could keep your pooch from getting bitten by an unsavory insect. A flea comb is a super small, super cheap item you can throw in your pack to do an extra check.

Poison ivy is something to keep an eye out for as well. If your dog comes in contact with poison ivy, they can transmit the oils to you and cause an allergic reaction. Giving your pup a wipe down before snuggling could prevent possible itchies.

And if you don’t have your dog microchipped, consider doing it. At the very least, make sure your dog has identification on his/her collar in case your somehow get separated.

And, enjoy the great outdoors in the wilds of Philadelphia with your pup!!!


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