5 SAFETY TIPS FOR HIKING WITH YOUR DOG (INCLUDING A CANINE FIRST AID CHECKLIST)
When the weather is beautiful, why not go adventuring with your dog? We are so fortunate in Ireland to have such a beautiful landscape! From rugged mountains and beautiful valleys to amazing beaches — we have it all! So it would almost seem rude not to take advantage of it! If you do decide to go exploring with your dog, here are our top tips! We have also included a checklist of items that you can add to your canine first aid kit for the hike!
1. Is your dog too young?
It is important to remember that until your dog is 18 months old they are still developing. This means that overexercising can inhibit their growth, or even worse — cause them more serious orthopaedic injuries. Don't risk it and limit your adventures with them until they are old enough to enjoy them with you.
2. Don't push your dog beyond their limits
Before you decide on your adventure, ask yourself the following questions -
· How old is my dog? Are they young or aging?
· What breed is my dog? (For example, a Border Collie will be much more active than a Basset Hound)
· Does my dog have any health conditions?
· Does my dog have any behavioural issues? E.g. reactivity
If you know the answers to these questions you can plan a much more enjoyable hike for you and your dog.
3. Keep your dog hydrated
Dogs won't usually ask or indicate that they need water until it is too late. So, to avoid heatstroke or dehydration, make sure you carry water with you and offer it to them often throughout the hike.
4. Always think about health and safety first
Health and safety is always the most important thing, so in order to have a safe hike remember to:
· Add dog first aid items to your kit (we have a checklist at the end of this post)
· Get your dog a health check at the vet before starting out with adventuring (don't just assume that they are heathy)
· Check your dog regularly for injuries
· Make sure that your dog has Tick protection
· Have an emergency plan for if your dog gets badly injured
· Post hike check for injuries
Before setting off, make sure you take some time to plan ahead. Here are some things to take into account:
· Your trail or route
· Breaks (including snacks for you and your dog for energy)
· Packing (don't forget poop bags)
· Check the weather (make sure it isn’t too hot)
Canine First Aid Kit
Muzzle to prevent biting due to pain
Non-latex disposable gloves
Digital rectal thermometer
Saline eye & wound wash
Regular tweezers & needle nose tweezers
Antiseptic (such as betadine)
First aid adhesive tape
Clean cotton sock
Gauze pads / Non-stick bandages
Vet wrap bandage roll