Walking in the Woods with Your Dog: 5 Tips to Safely Enjoy Hiking

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It’s Autumn: the perfect season to go walking in the forest, on a carpet of leaves, and also to enjoy beautiful hikes in nature. Do not miss the chance to have fun with your four-legged friend!
If you are planning your next trips in forests with your dog, be sure to remember these 5 easy tips before enjoying the wild!

1. Do not unleash your dog

It may sound strange, but this is certainly the best option for you and your dog when hiking in such special areas: if you do not unleash your dog in the woods, you will certainly avoid many problems which may occur. First, your four-legged friend could walk too far away: this could make it difficult to hear you, considering how much the new environment would distract them. In addition, it is quite usual to meet game in the woods, e.g. roe deer or wild boars. Your dog may consider these animals as preys, thus raising their hunting instinct. It must be clear that dogs would hunt such animals for no other reason but fun; however, this would instead affect the balance of the ecosystem and could also potentially be a risk for the dog themselves, in case they meet aggressive or big animals. If you really want to unleash your dog, just do it in open and free fields, where you both can keep eye contact.

2. Choose an easy path for your first trip together

Your four-legged friend may not be used to long hikes in the nature on hard paths: in this case you should approach gradually to this new activity, choosing an easy, short path with a light elevation gain. You should also consider if your dog has any specific breathing issues, e.g. if you have a bulldog or pug, so you won’t stress them too much.

3. Stay away from "mushrooming areas"

Dogs usually chew - and sometimes eat - almost everything. Poisonous mushrooms are a considerable danger: if your dog eats them, you should immediately seek help from a vet. However, there are also edible varieties that can cause side effects to dogs, so it’s better to avoid so-called “mushrooming areas” therefore preventing as far as possible your dog from eating them. In case you notice your dog has diarrhea or vomits during your trip, you should immediately seek help from your vet.

4. Bring plenty of water with you

It’s not so obvious as it may sound: if you go for a long walk, make sure to bring plenty of water with you, even if it’s not a sunny day. You just have to remember that your dog needs twice as much water than you, especially if there aren’t any brooks or drinking water fountains along the path.

5. Pay attention if you walk near pastures

This tip relates closely to the first one: if your dog is leashed, you’ll have no problem. Be always extremely careful when you walk near pastures of farmed animals, e.g. cows or sheeps, since strangers could cause some confusion among the livestock, thus creating an unexpected dangerous situation. In this case, remember to keep your dog leashed and also as close as possible to you, calming them down with caresses and a soft voice if they are upset or scared.

These are the main tips you have to remember before going on beautiful trips in the nature with your dog. Next step for you is to decide your destination, go there and have fun!
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Cover Pic @mnemosine303