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Hiking - For the Humans?

May 4, 2016 | By: Judith

I don't know about you, but during this beautiful weather my heart starts pounding to be outdoors. My skin screams for the warm rays of sun, vitamin D is my friend, and this is where I start to realize that I need to get outside and be a little bit more active. (Pause for laughter) Active is definitely not a word in my vocabulary, but a new swimsuit is... and I just received mine today in the mail. Black and white with a little tankini top and bikini bottoms, plus flabby winterized legs equals disaster!

A good friend of mine told me that her favourite thing to do in spring weather with her pup is hiking.

At first I thought hiking? Instant mental images of professional sports type people in their fancy glasses with their walking sticks and white smiles. Myself, in my too tight shorts, frizzy hair and ratty runners. Chebe, my little Coton De Tulear with his white hair all covered in brambles is what nightmares are made of. Yeah...no. I can't say that it left me enthusiastic.

However, instead of giving into my cynicism and another excuse to just watch Netflix on the weekend, I decided to start researching. The more I read, the more I learned and I started to realize that it did not have to be as extreme as I thought. I could hike on a day trip that wouldn't require me to pack a tent or bring extra clothes, food, and or sanity. Maybe just an early afternoon hike to get some fresh air and a little bit of exercise or a late evening sunset walk.

Now, being the genius that I am, I figured that I could make it even better if I planned all my adventures with Chebe! Yes - between you and me, everything in the world is better when I bring my fur baby.

This brought the whole hiking to whole new levels of research and this is what I found:

BEFORE YOU START HIKING

  1. Are they fit and active enough to hike?
  2. Find a trail that welcomes dogs. Not all nature trails or hiking trails are animal friendly.
  3. Does your dog need special gear like booties for rocky terrain or a vest to carry water or other necessities?

DURING YOUR HIKE

  1. Make sure you keep your dog leashed. Not only is this a law most areas but, it also prevents your dog straying from you in unfamiliar territory
  2. Avoid shared trail with mountain bikers or horses. You do not want to add extra stress on your dog.
  3. Do not let your dog drink water from just anywhere. They are just as susceptible to waterborne disease than we are.
  4. Make sure they get enough calories for the amount of effort they will exert. Depending on your breed of dog this can range.
  5. Make sure you clean up after them. Just like any other walk you are responsible for picking up after your dog.

AFTER YOUR HIKE

  1. Take a really good look at your dog. Inspect their body for burrs, bugs or ticks. In the wilderness they can run into and come across all numbers of things that can matte their fur or cause them discomfort.
  2. Make sure to give your dog a nice brush or even a bath. Not only do they deserve to relax after a hike but make sure you get rid of anything that could adhere to their fur.

Judith