Blog | Checklist for Trekking with Your Dog
15 Apr
April 15, 2022 | Categories: Dog Health and Care

Trekking or hiking is one of the best ways to give your dog access to its natural pastimes of digging, shredding, and sniffing. Not to mention, a great way to decompress from urban stressors and the pressure of being a gentleman/lady dog all the time.

Here are a few things to keep in mind before heading out:

  1. Recce the spot or trail first with a few friends, preferably someone who has been there before. You may need someone to pull you out of a ditch.
  2. Check if there are other dogs around, and how friendly they are. You might need to go through a pack of intimidating strays, so strategise where to park and your route.
  3. Always go in daylight: Early morning or early evening, so that you are not lost in the woods at night.
  4. Ask around about natural predators. Speak to those who live around the area and scan news reports. Some predators are seasonal (crocodiles appear in some mangrove-connected water bodies around Mumbai); leopards abound in city forests.
  5. Carry about 1.5L of water per creature for a 1.5-hour hike, and the right shoes with grip. This may seem obvious, but dehydration can affect decision-making skills and balance in humans; dehydrated dogs can collapse. Can you carry your rottweiler downhill? Will Rottie carry YOU downhill if you twist an ankle?
  6. Invest in a detangle long line. Even if it trails behind your dog, it’s much easier to step on it to stop him/her, than chase after it.
  7. Renew recall a week ahead. Carry high-value, smelly treats to get pooch used to coming back to you when called. Continue this on the hike, and up the value of the treats (liver, sausages).
  8. Keep asking your pooch if it wants water, preferably after every climb and when the tongue sticks out longer than usual.
  9. Take it easy. Climb up a rock and chill. Let him uproot grass. Play fetch with a branch. Stop for a swim. Let it roll in the weeds and smell  EVERYTHING. It’s about the depth of the hike, not the length. Four-legged hikers also enjoy birdsong, breeze and galloping through a flock of (non-migratory) birds.
  10. Communicate all the while. Encourage it up tough climbs, under low branches and to jump over hurdles. Wedge your shoulder under a drooping doggie bum to give it a leg-up. There’s bonding in overcoming hurdles together.
  11. Carry some energy snacks (bananas, sweet potatoes, etc) and first aid (an antiseptic, bandage, cotton, gauze and tweezers).
  12. Carry back your waste.
  13. Don’t let pupper chase exotic wildlife.
  14. Keep an eye out for broken glass, and faeces.
  15. Do it again, every season