Hiking is one of those activities that’s perfect year-round. For pet parents, the chance to get into the outdoors with the fur baby is a great way to get some exercise.
However, it’s not without risk since dogs can easily get distracted in new surroundings and refuse to take water breaks, which can be dangerous depending on their age, fitness level, temperature outside, and the amount of fur they carry. They also typically lose more water than they take in when involved in strenuous activities like hiking.
We humans need the water, too, especially in hotter temperatures and at higher elevations, which puts greater challenges on the body and demands an increase in fluid intake.
Here are 4 tips and tricks that have kept us and our pooches hydrated while hiking.
1. Hydrate beforehand
While we’re not proponents of overfeeding dogs, it’s not a bad idea to offer a treat and then lead the dog to the water bowl before heading out on a hike
For picky dogs who find water boring, a dash of antibiotic-free, pasture-raised protein or some juice from the dog’s food might make the water bowl more enticing. Chunks of small ice cubes or ice shavings might also work to interest pups into having a drink.
Just as important is the need for us to hydrate as well. Hiking enthusiasts often drink one or two cups of water (and use the bathroom) before leaving home. This smart tactic will prevent the body’s thirsty signal from cropping up too early into the hike.
But there’s something you shouldn’t drink: alcohol. Don’t drink alcohol before, including the night before going on a long hike since it typically dehydrates the body.
2. Pack enough water and food to last the hike
Packing enough food and water for a hike is smart planning. For people, pure water or water infused with electrolytes are solid choices for hydration. Wholesome energy bars (try to find or make some without sugar) and dehydrated food like fruits are also great additions to the backpack.
Water bladders, canteens or bottles are all good ways to carry your liquid supply. More importantly, store the water in an area of the backpack that will be easily accessible.
For dogs, taking their favorite water dish is a good idea as it will make them feel more comfortable in unknown surroundings. If it’s too big, there are plenty of collapsible ones on the market that will do the trick.
Bottles with special spouts that accommodate pet parent and dog can be handy accessories to have on a hike and are easily accessible while on the go, including bottles with attached bowl dispensers.
Freeze-dried natural food or a homemade biscuit/treat are great choices to pack for your dog when going out for longer hikes.
3. Take intermittent breaks during the hike
This is solid advice for both humans and dogs as it’s an opportunity to check for dehydration. Hiking is meant to be a fun activity, not a race. Take a break for a few sips of water, have a snack, and enjoy the beautiful surroundings. Dogs will pick up on this from their owners and do likewise.
This might also be a good opportunity for pet parent and dog to bond by playing a water game or giving the pet a snack like cucumber pieces, which have a high-water concentration.
4. Know the route and forecast
Check the route and the forecast before leaving. In fact, knowing the hiking route is important for all involved. If it’s hot, choose a route that has a lot of shade. If the trail conditions are unfamiliar, it’s best to consult a map or an app.
If you need to, go old-school and print a map, because cell reception isn’t always available in the great outdoors. .
Taking a wrong turn can be detrimental and put the water supplies to the test.
Being out in the wilderness is a great way for pet parent and fur baby to bond. It’s a win-win for all involved. Stay hydrated, Wonder Pack!