What Should You Know About Hiking With Your Dog?
We’re right in the middle of the summer season, and this is the perfect time to go on a hiking or camping trip, and bring your dog along with you! Before you start out on the trails, though, there are a few things you should know about hiking with your dog.
First off, make sure you are allowed to bring your dog with you on the trail you are planning to hike. Some parks in Canada allow dogs to share the trail, while others do not. You do not want to break park regulations and get into trouble.
Thankfully many Canadian parks are very open-minded about hikers with dogs. These parks still generally have restrictions in place, though, so you will need to familiarize yourself with them. Your dog must be kept on a leash at all times on many public trails. Some parks may have specific requirements about the length of your leash (extendable leashes are not always appreciated or allowed). So if you do not have a short leash which fits the standard requirements, this is a great time to buy a dog lead for hiking.
Dog Hiking Etiquette
So long as you have a leash and a park says you can walk your dog on the trails, you should be good to go with regulations. But it is also vital to observe dog hiking etiquette:
- Only bring a dog hiking with you if your dog is able to remain calm in unfamiliar situations (tip: giving your dog a job like carrying his own dog hiking pack is a great way to help keep him calm and focused).
- Do not allow your dog to run up to other hikers, their dogs, or wildlife. Your dog should also not bark at the wildlife.
- Keep your dog from barking or running around bothering others at campgrounds and other public areas.
- Your dog should not come in the washroom with you.
- Always pick up after your dog as you are walking. A public trail is not a place to leave your dog’s excrement, even though it is the wilderness. Always think about the other hikers on the trail and be courteous.
Is Your Dog Ready to Hike?
Now that you know about rules and etiquette, you need to make sure your dog is ready to hike! Dogs that are old, very young, sickly, or are otherwise in poor condition should be left at home, as should dogs that do not enjoy long walks. If you give your dog a pack for the first time, make sure to start with a very light load and work your way up gradually on future hikes. Never load a dog down with more than 25% of her ideal weight.
Finally, make sure you pack the supplies you need to go hiking with your dog! Bring along first aid, food and water, dog jackets and other useful attire, hiking boots for your dog, sleeping gear, and anything else you think your pet may need for a day out in the wild. Your dog will probably be able to carry some of these supplies herself if you outfit her with a pack. Have fun enjoying the great outdoors with your best furry friend!