Nothing is better than taking your best buddy out for a walk or a hike. Nothing is worse than having an emergency on a trail or remote road. Remember that in order to set your dog up for success, you should first set yourself up for success. Bringing a puppy, or an untrustworthy dog with you, may be difficult. Here are some suggestions to keep you both safe and sound while hiking with dogs.
If your dog has a strong prey drive, consider bringing a long leash in order to allow him the freedom to run but within the safe radius of you and others. For those with a dog who does not always play nicely with others, make sure to be mindful that others may be on the trail with their dogs off leash too. Remember that if your dog is off leash and runs off or harms another dog, you will most likely still be subject to the “dog at large” charge.
Every state has leash laws but some municipalities can change these requirements at a local level. If your dog is on a leash and is attacked by another dog, in most municipalities, you are covered. If you dog has even been unpredictable or aggressive, our strong recommendation is that you never leave your dog off leash unless at home or in a secure location.
When hiking with dogs, it’s also a great idea to pack a small first aide kit, and one that can double for other hikers and bikers is even better. . Make sure to have a doggy backpack or other way of carrying fresh cool water. There are numerous choices for dog backpacks, so you can refer to our section on dog accessories (add link). Also, included in that list you’ll find collapsable bowls and special water bottles.
Double check that the ID tag is secure and that your GPS tracking device is securely fastened to the collar or harness. This can be activated immediately and alert members of the Wyatt’s List community so that they can help locate your best fur-pal.
Just as you might wear specialized hiking boots or sneakers, so should you have proper foot protection for your dog. There are many wonderful brands of dog booties and fit is critical. A dog boot that is too loose will certainly fall off while one that is too tight may cut off circulation and cause injury or damage to the legs or feet. Bring your dog for a fitting and try on a bunch of options to see what works best for your dog. Consider also a brightly colored vest or harness such as neon green, yellow, pink or orange.