Colorado has so many amazing hiking trails that it’s no wonder we all want to take our furry friends out for some awesome adventures together, but it pays to plan ahead. Making sure you investigate …
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Colorado has so many amazing hiking trails that it’s no wonder we all want to take our furry friends out for some awesome adventures together, but it pays to plan ahead.
Making sure you investigate the trails ahead of time to make sure dogs are permitted as well as being prepared for your adventures will make for a more relaxed and enjoyable day or overnight adventure.
Build up your dog’s endurance by taking progressively longer hikes, adding more inclines and altitude as you train. You may want to start with hour-long hikes and increase in length, each time monitoring their energy levels afterwards. Your dog’s bones need to be fully developed before attempting longer, more strenuous hikes.
Make sure to pack plenty of food and water for both you and your companion. Dogs that weigh 20 pounds and smaller will drink about 1.5 ounces per pound per day, whereas larger dogs may drink up to one ounce of water per pound per day. They may be underhydrated if their nose is dry and they are panting heavier than normal.
When you are thirsty, typically your pooch is thirsty too, so take many breaks to hydrate and eat to recharge energy levels.
Eating will lead to poop breaks. Always bring an ample amount of poop bags and always pack out filled poop bags. Once you work up to backpacking trips, the same Leave No Trace rules apply to dogs. Bury their waste in a six-to-eight-inch hole at least 200 feet from the trail, camp and water sources.
Carrying their own weight
Having good gear for your dog is imperative. Make sure your dog is accustomed to their well-fitted pack. A top handle on their pack is helpful in the case of creek crossings and wildlife encounters. Get your dog comfortable with their pack by having them wear it around empty first, then increasing the pack weight on each walk until you reach the maximum weight of 25 percent of their body weight. Make sure to factor in their age, strength and size when loading up for a day on the trails.
Other essentials to think about besides the usual collapsible water dish and poop bags include a first aid kit and nail clippers. Also, an extra towel dedicated to wiping your pup’s paws in case of a downpour or wading in a creek will come in handy, especially before retiring in your tent. A safety light is crucial for an overnight trip for nighttime potty breaks.
Consider the weather for the day when you are hiking. Observe how quickly your dog’s breathing and heart rate normalize during breaks. If it seems to take a while, shorten your hikes or incorporate more breaks into your day.
Also, do not allow them to chew on any plants along your hike as some are poisonous or can cause discomfort. After your hiking adventure, check your dog closely and remove any ticks or prickly hitchhikers.
Colorado trails have so much to offer our furry friends that knowing trail etiquette and keeping them on a leash adds to their safety. So, head for the mountains and enjoy your time with your BFF - your best furry friend.
Diane Mapes is the regional marketing manager for Bentleys Pet Stuff. Her opinions are not necessarily those of Colorado Community Media.
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