If you enjoy hiking and camping, you may want to include your dog on the adventure. Our Mercer Street Veterinary Hospital team encourages you to enjoy nature with your four-legged friend, and we provide do’s and don’ts to help ensure your next hiking or camping trip is safe and drama-free.
DO ensure your dog is fit and healthy enough for the trip
Pets often hide illness signs. To help ensure your dog does not experience a veterinary emergency when on the trail or at the campsite, schedule a wellness examination so our team can evaluate your furry pal from nose to tail. In addition, we can ensure your dog’s core vaccinations are up-to-date and determine if they need optional vaccinations such as leptospirosis, Lyme disease, or Bordetella.
Before hiking or camping, you should also consider your dog’s fitness level. If your pooch isn’t typically active, don’t take them on a strenuous hike. Start by taking your furry pal on short excursions around your neighborhood, and gradually increase their activity level over several weeks. Your four-legged friend will enjoy the trip much more and be less likely to encounter difficulties if they are fit.
DON’T forget your dog’s parasite control
Nature is great, but your dog has a high risk for parasite exposure when enjoying the great outdoors. To help protect your pet from infectious disease, ensure your pooch receives year-round protection against heartworms, fleas, ticks, and intestinal parasites. In addition, frequently check your dog’s fur and skin for ticks.
DO identify your dog properly
Proper identification is a necessity when you take your dog hiking or camping. All the interesting sights and smells can distract your furry pal, and your four-legged friend may wander or bolt off and become lost. To help ensure your pet can be returned if you become separated, follow these recommendations:
- Microchipping — Microchipping your pet is the best way to provide permanent identification for your four-legged friend. Our Mercer Street Veterinary Hospital team can easily perform this procedure at your dog’s next wellness visit. In addition, always ensure your identification information is updated in the microchip registry.
- Tags and collar — In addition to a microchip, your dog should always wear a collar and identification tags that have your current contact information. Ensure the tags are legible and firmly attached to your pooch’s collar.
DON’T forget to research your destination’s pet regulations
You should be respectful and follow the trail and campsite’s regulations. When planning your trip, check your destination’s website to help ensure you know the rules. By following the rules, you can avoid having to pay a hefty fine. Consider the following important information:
- Does the destination allow dogs? — Some locations don’t allow dogs, and some only allow dogs in certain areas and on particular trails.
- Do you need a permit? — Some campgrounds may allow dogs but require a permit. Ensure you are prepared to show your pet’s appropriate documentation, such as their vaccination record, if necessary.
- Are leashes required? — Most trails and campsites have strict leash laws, and you should check the website to ensure you know your destination’s specific requirements.
DO pack supplies for your dog
Pack appropriate supplies for your dog, so they have what they need for the trip. Recommendations include:
- Water — Drinking from natural water sources can expose your dog to pathogens such as leptospirosis. Pack bottled water and a portable bowl.
- Food — Pack enough dog food for your trip, plus a few days extra. Remember to bring a can opener if your pooch’s canned food does not have a pop-top.
- Treats — Pack treats so you can reward your dog for being on their best behavior.
- Leash — Always pack an extra leash in case the original is lost or damaged. In addition, never put your pet on a retractable leash when hiking or camping.
- Tether — If you are camping, pack a tether so you can restrain your dog at the campsite.
- Plastic bags — Pack plastic bags so you can clean up after your dog.
- Pet first-aid kit — Bring a pet first-aid kit that includes a guide to various injuries or illnesses, tweezers, bandages, bandage scissors, disinfectant wipes, antibiotic ointment, saline, and antihistamine. Contact our Mercer Street Veterinary Hospital team to learn your pet’s safe and appropriate antihistamine dose.
DON’T let your dog annoy fellow hikers and campers
Follow appropriate trail etiquette to ensure your dog doesn’t annoy your fellow hikers and campers. Follow these tips:
- Train your dog — Ensure your dog knows how to obey commands before taking them hiking or camping. In addition, consider leaving your furry pal at home if they bark a lot.
- Control your dog — Keep your dog leashed and under your command at all times.
- Maintain a manageable dog-to-person ratio — When hiking or camping, you should only have one dog per person and no more than two dogs per group.
- Allow others to pass — When you encounter hikers on the trail, you and your dog should step to the side and allow others to pass.
- Say hello — Greet oncoming hikers cordially to signal to your dog that others pose no threat.
- Pick up waste — Bag your dog’s waste and place it in an appropriate trash receptacle.
- Prevent interaction — Don’t allow your dog to approach other hikers or dogs.
- Protect nature — Don’t allow your dog to disturb wildlife or plants.
Follow these do’s and don’ts so you, your furry pal, and other nature lovers enjoy their hiking or camping experience. To help ensure your pooch is prepared for their next adventure, schedule your dog’s wellness with our Mercer Street Veterinary Hospital team.