Here are some K9 tips adapted from hiking expert Wendy Pope, founder of Mountain Trek Fitness Retreat & Health Spa in Ainsworth Hot Springs, British Columbia:
Doggy 411: Whether you are day hiking or planning a longer excursion, make sure your pet is fit, vaccinated and has identification.
- Call in advance to see if the trail you are planning to hike will allow dogs. This will save time and disappointment if you get to the park only to find out that dogs are not allowed.
- Dogs get dehydrated faster than humans, because they expend more energy in a short amount of time. The higher the altitude, the drier they get. You must carry enough water for your dog (and yourself), as well as a bowl – dogs can’t drinks from cupped hands very easily. There are light-weight fabric bowls and dog canteens available in pet supply catalogs.
- Dogs get the munchies too! Bring a small amount of kibble even if you only plan to be out for a couple of hours – there could be an emergency and your time on the trail extended. If you train your dog to wear a light pack, he can carry his own supplies.
- Be prepared for common injuries such as cut paws and bites. Bring a tensor (ACE) bandage, gauze bandage, adhesive tape, small towel and antiseptic lotion. Also carry tweezers (for ticks), small nail scissors, a razor, and a SAM splint. This is also for human first aid response! A first aid kit for your dog should include: gauze sponges, roll gauze, hydrogen peroxide, muzzle, styptic powder, diphenhydramine (benadryc), sterile eye wash, antibiotic ointment.
- Don’t allow your dog to harass wildlife, other dogs, or people. Keep your dog on leash. It is the only way to prevent his sense of adventure from getting him into trouble.
- In case of emergency: Always carry a cell phone, if within the range, or a telephone-equipped radio.
At Mountain Trek, owner Wendy Pope stresses the importance of preparing yourself well for hiking. This goes for your dog too! Be prepared, be knowledgeable, and be well.