Long summer days offer great opportunity for extra dog walking. Getting out for a hike in the hills is a wonderful activity where the whole family will benefit from fresh air, exercise and the ability to blow away winter cobwebs.
Even the summer hike needs preparation though. Unless you and your pet are hardened survivalists who can eat from the land and live through extreme conditions there are a few things you should pack to both prevent problems and in case of emergency.
The first thing to take is water. Dogs can suffer greatly by overheating. Heat exhaustion and heatstroke is a killer and it’s no good relying on puddles and streams during the summer because a lot of them dry into mud or vanish altogether. So take plenty of water for both of you, and if you don’t know the route really well take enough water to keep you both going if you get lost.
A drinking aid for your dog is also a must. A few can drink from a bottle or cupped hand, but when a dog is very hot, a bowl will provide the best water delivery system for him. Ruff wear have a great design canvas dog bowl which folds away to tuck into a pocket or bag easily. The other option is to chop the bottom off an old plastic water bottle and use it as a light temporary bowl.
A good strong, safe collar and leash is obviously a necessity along with a contact disk. Even if your pet is micro chipped it is important to put a contact number on their collar. It could save a lot of worry later on. The slowest, most reliable and responsive dogs can get lost even when it’s completely unexpected so it is best to make your pet as easily identifiable as possible- just in case.
First aid is something that many dog owners don’t expect to need. Thankfully most of the time they are right however, on the longer walks when you are a few miles from the car, it is really important to be prepared for every eventuality. So a bandage and some padding will prepare for a cut pad and some sterile water will flush out a wound before dressing. It is possible to purchase a canine first aid kit here as cheaply as it is to put the contents together individually. There is even a handy video with instructions on how to dress a canine wound.
A towel is also a good idea, it can be used to dry off your dog or if he gets too hot it can be wetted and draped over him to cool him down gently. Dog boots too are great and their uses are becoming more widely recognised. They help with allergy, injury and they also alleviate the sensitive pads on long walks that involve sun-hot rocky tracks.
If this seems like a lot of stuff to carry why not kit your dog up to carry his own? Most dogs can be taught to wear their own back pack. Many even enjoy it, they know that a pack means they are going for a hike and welcome its designed comfort naturally. You can even stash some treats in there to give him a little snack on the way round.