6 Autumn Hiking Tips For Pet Parents

Before taking a stroll in the woods with your dog, check if you’ve covered these safety tips.

Autumn is a stunning season. The leaves are sporting bright, beautiful colors, and the weather is mild—it’s the perfect time to take a hike in the woods with your dog. You’ll both get much-needed exercise, and you’ll be able to appreciate the sights while your pooch takes advantage of a slew of new smells to sniff.

Before you head out to the great outdoors, there are a few safety tips to keep in mind. By following these suggestions, you’ll be able to concentrate more on the wonders around you, and less to the dangers that could be hiding in the bush.

Keep your dog on a leash

To keep your dog under control and close by, keep him on a leash at all times. Sudden loud noises or wild animals may entice your dog to run off, leaving you far behind. During hunting season, explosive shots may cause your dog to bolt. If your dog is loose, he may be mistaken for a wolf or coyote, and some areas allow hunters to shoot them on-site. If you’re not a leash person, consider going hands free with a trekking belt. Even if off-leash hiking is allowed, think twice before letting your dog run free. Who knows—if he goes out exploring on his own, he may bring back an unwelcome visitor.

Lots of Water

You’ll both need fresh water to drink. Keeping your dog properly hydrated will keep him from drinking out of puddles, ponds, lakes or streams. These water sources can contain parasites or toxins that cause a host of problems. Bring along plenty of water for both of you and a small dish for your dog.

Afternoon Delight

Now that fall is here and the worst of the heat is over, plan your hike for the middle of day. Not only does this allow you to sleep in, but you’ll miss a lot of the dangerous traffic that’s known to frequent the wooded areas. That’s because wild animals are most active at dawn and dusk, and so are hunters. By avoiding these peak times, you’ll be avoiding the majority of the hunting activity.

What to Wear

Forget setting trends. Wear for warmth and wear colors that will ensure you’ll be seen. It’s true that orange is the new black, so put on an orange vest so that you and your dog are more visible to hunters in the woods. If a hunter catches a glimpse of movement in the bush, orange is much easier to spot and dismiss as a human out walking a dog (and not a deer taking an afternoon stroll).

Fully Stocked First-Aid Kit

A fully stocked dog first-aid kit is invaluable on any hiking expedition. Make sure it contains tweezers, Benadryl, topical cream for cuts and bites, cold compresses to reduce swelling and pain and any medication your pup may need in case of an emergency.

After-Hike Check

Before you hop in the car to come home, check your dog for hitchhikers he may have picked up along the way. These include ticks and other pests, foxtails, insect or spider bite marks, scrapes and other wounds. Don’t just look at his coat; pay attention to footpads and between the toes, as well as under and around your dog’s ears.

Meet the Author: Amy Tokic

Amy Tokic is the Editor of Petguide.com, the flagship site to over 70 different pet communities, which offers pet parents a one-stop-info-shop for all things dog and cat related. Amy's been with PetGuide since the beginning, guided by the wisdom of her Shih Tzu mix and furry roommate, Oscar. Together, this pet power couple has their paw on the pulse of the pet industry, sniffing out trends, advice, news, tasty treat recipes and other tail-wagging stories.

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