Dog owners in San Fernando Valley know that hiking is an inexpensive outdoor recreation that brings a lot of health benefits to them and their beloved pets. It is a perfect opportunity for your dog to stretch its muscles and maintain a healthy metabolism.
Hiking enhances your pooch's intuition and alertness, which directly provides you with a sense of security. It allows you to spend distraction-free and quality time with your dog. All this leads to increased bonding between you and your furry friend.
San Fernando Valley has many hiking trails, including Aliso Canyon Park, Deervale Trail, Chandler Motorway, and Fryman Canyon (you can read my reviews of these trails here). In today's article, we will give you a list of the top 9 tips for hiking with your dog. Read on!
1. Socialize your Dog
Although going for a hike with your dog is the best experience you can share with your furry friend, it requires careful planning and preparation. Before you hit a trail in the San Fernando Valley, make sure your dog is comfortable with other people and animals. Socialization plays a crucial role in familiarizing your canine companion with the outdoor environment. Unlike wilderness hiking with its own requirements, we believe that hiking with your dog in an urban trail requires you to train your furry friend.
Take a training class with your dog to learn valuable lessons before hitting the trail. You can take your dog to a park for socialization. Some dog-friendly parks in San Fernando Valley are Valley Glen Community Park and Sepulveda Basin Off-Leash Dog Park. The purpose is to see how your pup experiences new people and handles excitement.
2. Visit Your Veterinarian
Experts at The Crate Escape recommend visiting your veterinarian before taking your pup out on the trail. Because your dog should be in good shape and ready for hiking, confirming it with your vet is essential. The vet will evaluate your pup's fitness level, range of motion, alertness, muscles, and other health concerns.
Bear in mind that age, size, and development are key factors when deciding to take your dog out on the trail. Your vet can give you accurate advice, and you must consider it to make an informed decision. Visiting your vet also ensures your dog has up-to-date vaccination, microchipping, and preventative medications.
3. Bring Food and Water
Feed your dog a few treats while on the trail to ensure they have enough energy. Every dog has its own nutritional needs, meaning you should consult your vet for the best food advice. If you have an active dog, he will need food. We suggest giving about 25% more kibble than the regular meal for hiking.
Hiking causes your dog to burn more calories, so you should reward your canine friend with extra treats. Make sure you bring a separate water bottle and collapsible bowl to keep your dog hydrated.
Your puppy will require more water consumption if you are hiking on a hot day. Provide extra water to keep your dog's body cool, but make sure you avoid over-hydration as it can cause nausea and vomiting.
4. Bring Poop Bags
As a responsible citizen, you must keep the trail clean and free of dog poop. We recommend bringing a few dog poop bags to ensure everything goes smoothly. The rule of thumb is to leave no trace on the trail. Make sure you follow the eco-friendly practice and ensure your dog is respectful throughout the adventure.
Keep the environment clean by using biodegradable poop bags. Tossing the bag in the city trash is a simple way to get rid of it. However, you can bring the bags home and flush the poop down the toilet. In that case, you need to wear a mask and gloves to protect yourself from getting contaminated.
5. Bring a First-Aid Kit
Although dogs that walk regularly have a reduced likelihood of getting footpad injuries, if your dog is new to hiking, bringing a first-aid kit can help you avoid unpleasant situations. If your dog gets scrapes or cuts, you can easily manage by cleaning and covering the wound. Keep an eye on your canine companion to avoid traumatic situations.
The first-aid kit should include stretchy bandages, booties, medical stapler, anti-inflammatory medicine or pain reliever, tick nipper, alcohol wipes, a pair of tweezers, gauze pads, vet medical tape, and ointments for minor cuts and scrapes.
6. Bring a Dog Toy
Bringing your dog's favorite toy is a great way to make him feel comfortable. It relieves stress for your pup, especially in new situations, such as hiking in an urban area. We suggest bringing a squeaky toy or ball to distract your puppy and avoid him running away.
7. Pack Extra Clothing
Although it is wise to review the weather forecast before going on the trail, sometimes, the weather is unpredictable, meaning you should be well prepared. For instance, booties come in handy if the terrain is slightly rocky and uncomfortable for your canine companion or if the weather is cold. You must also pack a bandana or cooling color if the weather gets hot.
The purpose is to protect your dog from the sun's burning rays and avoid the problem of dehydration. Make sure you give water to your puppy so that he stays calm and enjoys the hike. A dog sweater or jacket is essential if it is raining. You have to act proactively for a safe and enjoyable experience.
8. Keep an Eye on Your Pup
Monitor your canine companion throughout the hike and make sure your dog does not feel sleepy, tired, or overheated. Take frequent breaks if your dog is new to hiking or if you notice any sluggishness, limping, or panting. In that case, we recommend you take a break and give your pup some food or water.
9. Keep Your Dog on a Leash
Because you are hiking with your furry friend in an urban area, it is crucial to keep your dog on the leash. Not only does this prevent your canine friend from trespassing on prohibited areas, but it also helps you avoid your dog jumping on other people or getting in a fight with other dogs.
Walking and hiking are excellent exercises that maintain your dog's overall physical health and mental wellbeing. Hiking allows your dog to explore new paths, see other people and pets, and stimulate mental health. If you are interested in having your dog join our weekly hikes, contact The Crate Escape to get signed up today!