Whenever the words ‘dog’ and ‘hike’ come together in the same sentence, the image that comes up in our minds is of an excited German Shepherd or Labrador wearing sophisticated doggy gear and conquering the difficult terrains of an uphill trail. Nobody ever imagines a cute little pug waddling on a narrow track or a friendly beagle jumping from one rock to another in an attempt to climb up the slope. If you have a small dog and have always left your pooch behind because you felt that small dogs' bodies aren’t 'fit enough' for hikes, this is just the push you need to take your furball for their next big little adventure.
Dealing with The Basics
First of all, you need to ensure that your dog is trained on the leash and obeys your commands. Leash training is an essential requirement before hiking with any dog, big or small. Then, take them for a quick visit to the vet just to make sure that they’re physically fit for a hike. This is a crucial step because you don’t want to be stuck in a spot where your dog gets sick during the hike and the nearest vet is a a couple of hours away.
Carry Dihydrogen Monoxide. Loads of it.
Relax, that’s just the chemistry name for water. During hikes, it is extremely important for you and your little pooch to stay hydrated. While you may only need water for drinking, your dog is going to need it for cooling down as well. Since they have a small body, they use up relatively more energy to move up on steep and rocky terrains, and that will cause them to overheat. Every time you take a water break, check if your pup’s body is heated up, and cool them down either by pouring water on their body or soaking a towel and wiping them with it. To give them water to drink, you can also carry a collapsible water bowl that will fit easily in your backpack and be convenient for your pup to slurp from.
A Friend in Need
Even though many small dogs are almost as capable of hiking as bigger breeds, they are going to require more breaks since they burn more energy. Keep checking for signs of overexertion and make sure to cool them down every now and then, especially after covering a difficult patch during the hike. Some feats will still be physically impossible for them to accomplish, like crossing wide streams and jumping over large obstacles. So, ensure that you choose a trail that’s easy and be prepared to carry them whenever the need arises. A smart thing to do would be to carry a dog pack so you can carry your pupper in it and have both your arms free for supporting yourself during the hike.
Treat or Treat? Treats!
As we already mentioned, your tiny pooch is more likely to burn a larger amount of energy and tire out easily, so carry treats to keep boosting them up. Needless to say, giving them a treat right after they conquer a seemingly rough patch will spike their enthusiasm and keep them excited for the rest of the hike.
Prevention is Better than Cure
But pack the ‘cure’, just in case there is a problem. What we mean to say here is that you need to carry a first-aid kit with you for emergency situations. Dogs can hurt their paw pads on rocky trails and you will need the right antiseptic to clean the wound and the bandages to wrap it up. Also, carrying a dog pack will be a great help if your dog gets injured on the way and can’t complete the hike.
If you have more tips on how to hike with a small dog, please drop a comment below and help out a fellow little-pooch owner. And if you have a small dog who you have hiked with, we would love to hear about your experience, so make sure you tell us all about it in a comment below!