Unfortunately, I was a little under the weather this past weekend so I had to deprive Otto of his weekly hike. Though he did act a little sassier than usual, I think he had a good time lazing around and annoying our other dog, Gretchen. While watching Otto be a general nuisance, I started thinking of different ways that it would be easier to hike with a pup and dogs in general, so I thought I would share my thoughts with you all!

  1.     Bringing water and a collapsible bowl

The number one thing I could think of was bringing some water for your dog on the hike. E-coli, leptospirosis and blue-green algae are all different bacteria that live in natural water sources that your dog might be tempted to drink on their hikes. These different bacteria can cause your dog to get very sick; causing fevers, diarrhea and dehydration. Instead of allowing them to drink out of these natural water sources, I would suggest bringing the dog their own clean water bottle and a bowl they can easily drink out of when they get tired. A great bowl to purchase for your pup is the Petmate® Collapsible Travel Dog Bowl at PetSmart for $5.99-$7.99.

  1.     Bring a sturdy leash to keep your dog on when it is necessary

Though not all trails require your dog to be on a leash, many require that your dog always be on their best behavior. At least in Otto’s case, a leash is usually necessary for him, though he will come when called about 70 percent of the time. Personally, like to keep a leash on myself just in case he gets out of hand. Many national parks require dogs to stay on their leashes, for example in Colorado, Rocky Mountain National Park and Arapaho & Roosevelt National Forests require leashes. In Wyoming, dogs in Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park are also required to stay on a leash.

  1.     First-Aid preparedness

Just like you would bring first-aid supplies for yourself, bringing a first-aid kit for your dog is also important. To be prepared, sites such as peteducation.com offer great articles on dogs, including first-aid education. According to The Clymb, the top eight items that should be included in your doggy first-aid kits are styptic swabs, rubber gloves, gauze and heavy duty bandages, saline, lights, bells, whistles, pliers, water bowl, water, food and treats. For a more detailed understanding of how to take care of your dog if he or she gets into a sticky situation, Petco and the Red Cross offer first-aid classes.

  1.     After the hike check for fleas and ticks

While more of an inconvenience, fleas and ticks can cause a lot of discomfort for your dog and the parasites can also carry onto you. If scratched too much, the irritated skin caused by fleas can lead to secondary infections for your dog. Ticks however can cause may more problems for your dog such as anemia and and Lyme Disease. While also annoying, depending on the region you will be hiking in, ticks can infect dogs with Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever which can be fatal.

There are many more tips for hiking with your dog, but in my opinion, these were the most important. I think Otto would agree as well. Hopefully by next weekend my cold will have improved enough to take him on a good hike. With these tip, I now know how to properly hike with him as well.