Summer is just around the corner (or behind a stormy cloud!) and as the weather get's warmer we all want to spend more time in the Great Outdoors. And what better way to reconnect with nature and your pets than hiking!
So whether you're a seasoned explorer or yet to scuff your walking boots, here are our top 5 tips for hiking with your pet this summer:
1. PLAN YOUR TRAIL
Getting lost in nature is great. But getting lost in nature is a bit more problematic.
There are lots of hiking trails to be found, some more intense than others. Make sure you plan your trail before you leave the house, especially if you’re on holiday in a new area.
Remember to take into consideration the whole hiking parties abilities. Your one year old husky might be full of energy to climb a mountain pass, but your elderly dachshund probably won’t be able to keep up.
If it’s your first-time hiking with your pets, choose a short and easy trail. Get to know each other’s limits and don’t push your pet too hard.
For the more experienced hikers among you, it’s still a good idea to plan your route. What may look like a few hours on the map, may take you a lot longer when you take hills and mountain climbs into account. It's never a good idea to be halfway around a new trail when darkness falls!
2. CATS CAN HIKE TOO
Okay, so lots of cats do just like to lounge in the sun. But there’s a whole new movement of adventure cats who love to do just that – go on adventures!
Seriously - check them out on Instagram!
Unlike dogs, cats don’t tend to respond to recall quite as well, so it’s recommended you keep your cat on an extendable lead. Getting your cat used to a lead might be hard work, so it’s best to start this when they’re a kitten.
Try short little hikes first, and maybe bring along some way of carrying your cat (like these ideas), in case Moggie decides she would rather enjoy the view while you do the leg work.
Quieter, less public hikes and trails are preferable for cats. Meeting lots of other hikers and dogs along the way can make cats anxious, and make the whole experience much less enjoyable for you both!
3. BE PREPARED!
Beautiful scenery? Check. Planned out route? Check.
Water for you and your pet? ...
Before you put on your walking boots, make sure you’ve packed the essentials. Enough water for both you and your pet is key. You may pass a river or lake that looks clean, but it’s not recommended to let your pet’s drink from this as it could be contaminated or contain harmful bacteria.
Speaking of water, many hikes take you to gorgeous beaches, hidden rock pools, and cascading waterfalls. Perfect photo opportunities.
But before you encourage your furry friend into the water to get that Insta-worthy picture, make sure your pet can swim, is confident in the water, and importantly, that the water isn’t too deep, and doesn’t have a dangerous current.
Another tip is to have a first aid kit handy, stocked for both human injuries, and those of your pets.
4. TRACK ACTIVITY AND PROGRESS
With all new hobbies and sports its fun to be able to track your progress and see all the benefits of your new activity.
Felcana's Helix device includes a handy activity tracker for dogs and cats. Using the Felcana app you can track in real time exactly how much exercise your pet is getting on a daily basis, as well as compare their activity over weekly, monthly and annual trends.
It's a great way to keep track of your pet's health and fitness, as well as set goals and challenges for your pet to stay active and enjoy the beautiful world around us.
5. TICKS, FLEAS, SNAKES BITES, LEECHES, ETC.
Exploring and adventuring is great fun, but with every great adventure, unexpected events can occur.
To keep your pet as safe as possible on your hiking trip make sure you identify where the nearest vets is. Emergencies could range from your pet breaking or injuring a limb, to more life-threatening accidents such as snake bites. Having a vet’s phone number stored on your phone could help you administer life-saving first aid.
Being out in the wild can also expose your pets to other threats including fleas, ticks and leeches.
If your dog or cat is splashing about on your hike, as soon as they come out of the water check them over for leeches. Leeches can spread disease and need to be removed as soon as possible.
Another creature that may attach themselves to your pets are ticks. Ticks can be very small and it’ll be hard to spot them on your pet whilst you’re out and having fun. As soon as you get home make sure to check your pet over thoroughly. Ticks, like leeches, can spread disease between animals, and if not removed can cause inflammatory responses and even paralysis in extreme cases. Be careful to remove them correctly, making sure the whole tick is removed.
Whilst checking your pet for ticks, look out for any fleas too. Catching fleas can be prevented with regular treatment, so if you are planning on getting to grips with nature this summer, make sure your pet’s flea treatments are up to date.
If you want to find new spots to explore and visit, spend some time on Instagram!
Pet owners, hikers, and outdoor explorers with lashings of #wanderlust are constantly uploaded pictures of breathtaking vistas, views and hiking trails.
Some of the best pet hiking terms to search are #adventurecats, #dogsthathike, #adventuredog, #hikingwithdogs and #dogsonadventures
And for general hiking fun check out #hikingtrails, #hikingadventures, and #hikinglife!
And remember to share your own photos of you and your adventure pack!