Colorado is the ideal place to take your dog hiking. It's great exercise for you, and great exercise for your dog. To help you be prepared for your summer hiking adventures, Denver Dog Dynamics has some tips and tricks to make your hike enjoyable and safe for you and your dog.
1. Train your dog to come when you call them. The best thing about taking your dog into the wilderness is giving them the freedom to run and explore. However, if your dog won't come when you call them, they might get lost, chase wild animals, or get into confrontations with other dogs and people.
2. Bring plenty of water for you and your dog. Heat stroke is a life threatening condition. Be sure to check in on your dog and look for signs of heavy panting (with their tongue curling). Offer them water frequently. It might be tempting to let them drink out of a pond, lake or creek, but that could make your dog really sick. Most water sources in Colorado contain Giardia, a protozoan that causes explosive diarrhea.
3. Bring a first aid kit. Cuts, scrapes, and foot sores are much easier to deal with if you are prepared. Dog's feet are especially susceptible to being worn on rocks and gravel. If we are going for a long hike, we always carry Ruffwear Dog Boots and Musher's Secret.
4. Be sure your dog is in good shape. If you have been hitting the treadmill all winter, but your dog has been mostly couch surfing, don't expect them to climb Pike's Peak. Be sure to consider your dog's fitness level before you set out for a difficult climb. Starting the season with some shorter trips is a good way to boost your dog's cardio, and condition your dog's feet to the trail.
5. Bring a leash and collar. If you notice other dogs and people on the trail (or wild animals), leash your dog immediately, and please do not allow your dog to approach strangers (human or animal). Please remember that not all people (or dogs) want to be greeted by your dog.
Denver Dog Dynamics wishes you many safe and enjoyable hiking journeys!