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Whether it’s shorter hikes in the surroundings, day trips on weekends, or a whole holiday with the dog, going to the mountain with the dog is an ideal hobby.
Can any dog accompany you on hikes?
Almost any healthy adult dog can accompany you on a hike. But the dog should have some experience to be able to resist longer hikes.
So, if you’re planning a day trip, you should have made a few shorter hikes in the area with your furry friend in advance. In addition, hiking is possible only to a limited extent with the following dogs:
Puppies and young dogs
Puppies should not walk long distances. That’s why multi-mile trips are taboo for them. But hikers can take their little dogs with them in special dog backpacks and let them run short distances from time to time.
Step by step, you can get your young dog used to accompany you on hikes. Starting at the age of one, they can usually walk five kilometers or more. In any case, if you have a breed such as the Great Dane, you should seek the advice of your veterinarian in advance.
Dogs that prefer to be comfortable
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Breeds with short legs and flat muzzles like Mops, for example, get tired more quickly. Those who are already grumbling during the usual walk will not enjoy a hike.
These dogs include many Bulldogs, such as the English Bulldog, but unfortunately some Basset or Pekingese dogs with exaggerated traits as well. They also enjoy outdoor adventures but prefer short distances and many breaks.
If a dog is weakened due to an illness, it should not go on a long hike. But what about arthrosis? Many dogs with arthrosis can walk on flat ground for a long time, but climbing and descending causes problems. Think about whether walking is right for your dog and, if you have any doubts, ask your veterinarian for advice. If the dog often urinates and falls on his back, it is better to stop the walk.
Hiking with the dog: What should I take with me?
When you prepare your backpack for a hike with your dog in the mountains, you will also need to pack a few things for the quadruped. Water and a bowl to pour water in are indispensable. A special bottle of water for dogs with an integrated bowl is very practical.
On the way, the dog can also drink water from clean flowing waters. But beware of standing waters, because all sorts of dangers like Giardia and other pathogens hide in them.
Of course, dogs should not start hiking with a full belly. But it doesn’t hurt to have a little food in your backpack for a well-deserved snack. There are many bottles and travel bowls for dogs that are perfect for hiking.
Other useful items are the tick tweezers, which you can also use to remove a needle from the dog’s paw. A light microfiber cloth is suitable for wiping him when it rains or if he has taken a bath in a stream. Learn more about removing ticks from your dog’s skin before you go hiking.
What should the dog wear during a hike?
It is best to choose a harness or a collar and a leash that you can easily clean. During hiking in the mountains, the harness is safer, because, in case of an emergency, there is a risk of strangulation with a collar.
A harness should be light and not squeeze the dog under the arm. If you can’t let your dog run freely, choose a leash that gives him more freedom.
Avoid dangers when hiking with your dog in the mountains
No matter how carefree a hike is, you need to protect yourself from certain dangers when you go hiking with a dog:
The danger of falling into high mountains
The dogs usually do not mind the abrupt climbs. But if you want to climb a lot with the dog, you should inform yourself in advance about the route.
Areas exposed over deep abysses or easy climbing passages are not suitable for classic dog hiking. The risk of falling is too high there. But even on light trails, a chasm that a young and impetuous dog overlooks can become a danger. Keep your dog on a leash if in doubt.
Meeting with cows
There is always the risk of an unpleasant encounter between cows and dogs. Because, during some hiking sessions, it will often be necessary to cross pastures. Respectful coexistence prevents conflict.
From the point of view of a cow, dogs resemble potential predators. If you see a herd of cows or sheep moving freely, keep the dog close to you. You can quickly cross the pasture, but without running, and keep a sufficient distance from the herd.
I recommend that you be careful, especially when around mother cows with calves. The protection of calves has an absolute priority for cows.
Refrain from the following when getting close to cows:
- Loud screams
- Violent gestures or defensive movements with your hands
- Prolonged eye contact with mother cows or calves
- Approaching the calves
If the cow raises and lowers its head several times, puffs, and kneels, this is an alarm signal that you need to take seriously. Let the dog go if the cow starts running toward you. He will get safer without you. Leave the pasture as soon as possible.
It goes without saying that the dog should not chase any wild animal. Therefore, dogs with uncontrollable hunting instincts must be kept on a leash in the forest. A leash that allows the dog to sniff larger areas gives him more freedom.
Call the free dog back in time and be careful. If the dog stops and looks intensely at a place, he probably discovered something.
In the spring, during the mating period, the dogs should stay on the paths. They can scare not only birds with their nests on the ground but also deer hiding in the thickets of the forest. “He will do nothing” is not a counterargument. The mere presence of a potential predator means pure stress for the baby and mother.
A dog and a man on the top of the mountain
The rules vary from place to place whether you have to keep your dog on a leash in the forest. In nature reserves, the dog must be kept on a leash, and passers-by must remain on the paths. When you take your dog to the mountains in protected areas, you will need to ensure that the dog does not scare the wildlife or grazing animals from the bushes. However, if there are no other local rules, dogs are allowed to run freely.
In many national parks, it is mandatory for dogs to wear a leash. Usually, walking without a leash is tolerated if the animal listens to its owner and can walk near him. It goes without saying that you should not leave trash on the ground, and this also applies to dog poop near the paths.
How to find the right hiking route
If you have a beautiful forest or a natural park nearby where you can start hiking, you have a lot to discover! A day trip can be fun no matter the season.
Trips to the shaded forest are perfect for hot summers. But make sure the animal does not overheat and drinks enough water. Plan your time for hiking and take breaks along the way. The route is the goal!
Hiking holidays with the dog
Fortunately, there are more and more accommodations, such as holiday homes and hotels in all price categories, that allow you to go on holiday with your dog. If you want to travel abroad, you will need to pay special attention to the following two aspects: A comfortable trip for the quadruped and the rules of entry into that country.
Pay attention to the choice of the holiday region. A Siberian Husky will not feel well in the southern and warm regions.
Particularly popular countries for hiking holidays with dogs are, for example, France, Austria, and Italy. There are a lot of fascinating hiking areas here. But don’t forget to take into account the rules of entry into the country.
For example, the dog will need to have a valid rabies vaccine. If you choose to travel to the southern areas, contact your veterinarian in advance. This way you can prevent some “Mediterranean diseases”, such as ehrlichiosis.
I wish you as much fun as possible while hiking with your dog!