The hot summer months are just about here, which means more and more people will be gearing up for the great outdoors in search of a hiking adventure with their families! If you are one of these active individuals and are thinking about taking your pup out with you, then make sure you’re completely ready. While a trip with your best friend can be an amazing experience, it requires you to be completely aware and knowledgeable of your pup’s boundaries. Don’t know how to start? The veterinarians from Valley Animal Hospital have you covered.
Getting Physically Ready
Whether you’re planning a day trip or a lengthy one, it’s important to make sure your dog is physically ready. You can do this by easing him into the routine of hiking slowly. If your dog will be carrying a pack of his own, start him off by strapping the bag on at the house.
If your dog is in healthy physical condition, he can carry up to one third of his own weight! However, if your pup is getting on with age or still not physically ready, then you’ll be better off leaving him at home. They’ll be much safer and happier there.
You may be planning a hike around South Padre Island or maybe you’ll want to hit up the Mission Hike and Bike Trails. Whatever the case, your dog will need a few supplies of his own to stay as healthy and happy as can be. So what should you bring for the trip? Here’s a helpful list you can follow that includes some of the most important essentials:
- Fresh water
- Collapsible bowl
- Plenty of food and treats
- Current ID tags
- A strong leash
- Proper car restraints, such as a kennel
- Bed or blanket
- Doggie bags
- Protective booties
- First aid kit
- Snake bite kit for our area
- Dog sunscreen
- Doggie pack (only if he’s physically able to carry it)
Just because you’re not thirsty or hungry doesn’t mean your pup isn’t ready for a snack break! Make sure to stop frequently to offer your dog food and water. However, remember not to feed him a large meal before the hike. Instead, feed him just a portion of his regular meal and give him small snacks throughout the hike.
The great outdoors can be a hotbed for harmful fleas, ticks, worms and other parasites. To avoid any harm, make sure your dog’s vaccines are up-to-date before the hike. During your adventure, remember to keep the following things in mind:
- Keep your pup on a leash at all times while hiking
- Avoid poison ivy, oak and sumac at all times
- Avoid snakes, coyotes and other critters
- Make frequent rest stops
- Check your dog for fleas and ticks after the hike
If you find a tick on your pup, it may be a good idea to contact our veterinarians to help you determine if it’s safe to remove yourself. Wild plants can sometimes irritate your best friend’s belly, so give him a bath with some medicated shampoo as soon as you get home.
Things to Consider
A hike should be fun for you and your dog, and there are certain things to always consider to keep them as happy as ever! If at all possible, try to hike where there’s shade and water along the way. This will help your pup stay cool throughout the walk. If your dog is small or older, it may be a good idea to keep walks and hikes short. You may additionally want to consult with our vets to know if it’s safe for a dog with arthritis or other medical conditions to go on hikes.
Keep in mind that dogs that have been bred for sporting, herding or working are generally great hiking companions! This can include breeds such as:
- German Shepherds
- Irish Setters
- Golden/Labrador Retrievers
- Border Collies
- Australian Shepherds
Enjoy the Summer
The hot temperatures will have almost everyone looking for a great outdoor adventure, including your pup! If you’re ready to hit the trails and go for a hike, prepare in advance and stay safe. Remember, if you need our veterinarians’ help to keep your dog or any other pet healthy, just give us a call! Our McAllen team is ready to give your furry friends the care they need!