If adventure is in your blood, you may already be shortlisting top tips for your next hiking excursion. Why not take it a step further and bring Fido along with you?
Most dogs have a penchant for the great outdoors, but their wolf instincts are likely long gone. If you’re planning to introduce your pet to the world’s natural wonders, here are a few must-try activities and how best to prepare.
1. Activities you should try
Some dogs are swimmers. Others are walkers. If your dog is a fan of either—or both—throw these dog-centric activities into your itinerary.
Depending on your destination, you’ll be sure to find at least a handful of dog-friendly beaches in every country. Some dog beaches will even indulge your pet in an off-leash dip in the sea. The beach is the perfect setting for hourlong games of fetch, a much-needed dose of vitamin D, and a way to unwind with your beloved canine companion. ust be sure to read up on regulations—while some dog beaches are lenient, others will require that you bring along your own waste bags or designate hours for four-legged swimmers.
If you’re planning to rough—or ruff—it out in the wilderness, most dogs make excellent camping companions. However, not every national park will permit dogs to roam their protected grounds. Fortunately, many state destinations are more than welcoming of your canine companion. Bear in mind that in the wilderness, temptations exist everywhere. Remember to keep your dog leashed—you never know when they’ll lunge at an unsuspecting squirrel, bird, or deer.
Be sure to pack along lots of water, canned food, and treats to keep your dog hydrated and at ease. Heading somewhere with ambitious terrain? You might want to consider purchasing a pair of hiking boots—for you and your dog!
Is your dog a natural swimmer? If so, the lake might make an excellent option for you and your pet. In some cases, dogs even make suitable fishing companions—just be sure to keep those hooks out of sight! Even water-averse dogs can become seasoned lake-goers, given that you gradually acclimate them. Give your dog a test run by inflating a pool in the backyard—and don’t forget to equip them with a dog-specific life jacket.
2. What you should do before your trip
Going on an outdoor excursion with your pet is exciting, but you can’t be too prepared. If you are venturing into the wilderness with your dog for the first time, below are a few tips that can make or break your holiday.
Research your destination
Especially if you are heading somewhere unfamiliar, it pays to know a lot about your destination. You can consult with a travel agent or local professionals, asking the questions:
- What is the temperature like—is it hot or cold?
- Is there dog-friendly accommodation?
- Can I take public transport with my dog?
- Are there 24-hour veterinary services?
- What are the vaccination policies?
Visit your vet
Most out-of-state or out-of-country destinations will require that you present proof of vaccination upon arrival. Make sure you visit a veterinary professional at least two weeks before traveling and obtain a medical certificate that you can submit to your airline.
Remember, not every airline enforces the same policy. When in doubt, contact your liner directly and ensure that you have the appropriate requirements—including an airline-approved crate—before your trip.
Sure, some necessities will likely be available where you’re going, but it pays to come prepared. Basics you want to throw into your pup pouch include:
- Food and water
- Leash and harness
- Waste bags
- Basic grooming tools
- First aid kit
Practice basic commands
No, your dog doesn’t have to be a command connoisseur to be an excellent travel companion, but knowing the basics can go relatively far. Commands such as sit, stay, come, and drop it are essential for the great outdoors.
Dogs are naturally curious animals and won’t hesitate to dart after anything that even remotely smells edible! Being well-versed in basic commands can prevent your dog from getting into deadly accidents or sustaining severe injuries.
3. The bottom line
Whether you’re eyeing an unusual holiday destination or keeping it local, taking your dog along with you can be an exciting and enriching experience! Prepare well ahead of time, and you’ll be on the market for a memorable outdoor excursion.