Fall is the perfect time to begin planning your hikes for the season. But you don’t need to be so deep into the wilderness to experience a seriously satisfying trek. Before heading out on your outdoor adventure, make sure your destination is dog-friendly, research the leash regulations, and ensure that your dog is up for it! More often than not, you’ll want your dog outfitted in a sturdy harness and reliable short leash, especially if you’re visiting unfamiliar places. The National Park Service provides great principles to adhere to: Be a B.A.R.K. Ranger.
Bag your pet’s waste
Always leash your pet
Know where you can go
Take a look below at some of Fi’s favorite hiking scenes - and what to know before heading out on your next journey:
Mountain: Time for tough terrain! If you’re adventuring the Rockies, the Appalachian Trail, or just your backyard hilltop - mountain hikes are really rewarding. A mountain hike may require extra gear, though. Depending on the duration of the hike, temperature, and local flora - you’ll want to consider bringing boots, ice packs, a meal or two, or a pet first aid kit. Backpacker Magazine offers in-depth details on how to safely hike in the woods with your dog.
Lake: Walking in circles isn’t always dizzying. A stroll around your local lake is made for a beginner hiker or a pair in a time crunch (of course, depending on the size of the lake)! Be aware of the shoreline - does it contain blue-green algae? If so, steer clear of swimming in that area, as it can be harmful for dogs. Should your dog love a good swim, you may also want to pack a life vest.
Woods: All the smells await. Remember that ‘woods’ doesn’t always mean the far away wilderness - you likely have a conservation area within 15 miles of your neighborhood! Hiking in the woods offers endless options for exploration - but it’s critical to study your route in advance to avoid getting turned around. Our friends at Bring Fido have created a guide for dog-friendly hiking trails in your area, so find your favorites and tag #fidogs in your social posts along the way!
Beach: Less hike, more swim. Before heading to the shore - be sure your dog even enjoys the water! Similar to a hike around the lake, if your pup is planning to get in the water, you may want to bring along a life vest. Be aware that salt water is not great for drinking, so bring along fresh water and a bowl so your dog remains hydrated after running and swimming. Additionally, bringing a source of shade is a great idea - for both you and your pup.
City: Who says you can’t hike through the city? If you and your pup are urban dwellers, don’t fret - there’s no lack of exploration in your neck of the woods city. Discover new streets, new routes and even local dog parks! When city ‘hiking’ during a pandemic, be sure to maintain social distancing, bring poop bags, and a portable water bowl.
Hiking with your dog is no ‘walk in the park’ - being prepared is so important. Consult your vet on your dog’s ability to handle a full hike if he/she has experienced health issues or physical ailments in the past. Once you’re clear for the journey, create a checklist of needed items and precautionary tools to bring along, and make sure your Fi Collar is charged in full before the adventure!