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Man hiking with his microchipped dog

Dogs make excellent company on outdoor adventures. However, before you and your trusty sidekick set off into the great outdoors, here are five things to keep in mind.

Your dog’s size Although smaller breeds, such as chihuahuas and dachshunds, can make awesome hiking companions, keep in mind that they’ll tire out more quickly than larger breeds and may need help with steep climbs, drops and other obstacles. Your dog’s age If you have an older dog, it may not have the stamina or strength for a long hike. Furthermore, senior dogs often suffer from arthritis or painful joints that could make longer hikes more damaging than beneficial. In addition, puppies that are less than a year old are not well-suited to strenuous hikes, as steep slopes and uneven terrain can damage their still-growing joints. Your dog’s breed Certain types of dogs, such as brachycephalic breeds, like pugs and bulldogs, are more prone to exhaustion and heat stroke. Therefore, hiking might not be the best form of exercise for these small pooches. It’s important to be realistic about what your dog can and cannot do, and if you have any reservations, ask your veterinarian for advice. Hiking supplies Along with packing the hiking basics for yourself, you must also think about bringing along a few extra supplies for your furry friend. Since your dog will be expending a lot of energy, food and water are essential. Furthermore, it’s a good idea to bring poop bags, an extra leash, a towel, a pet first aid kit and a pair of booties for rough terrain. You may also want to purchase a dog backpack so that Fido can help carry additional supplies. Trail etiquette Before heading out, it’s essential to do your research and find out if the hiking trail is canine-friendly and whether or not your dog is required to stay on a leash. Furthermore, if you plan on taking your dog on a hike, it’s important to take the time to teach it certain commands and calls. Dogs that aren’t properly trained can be a danger to themselves, to other trail users and to wildlife. Lastly, if you plan on hiking with your pooch in an area with disease-carrying insects, such as ticks, fleas and mosquitoes, you should ask your veterinarian about preventive vaccinations and medications. Veterinary clinic near Toronto Bellamy-Lawrence Animal Hospital provides top-quality pet care services to patients in Toronto and surrounding areas like Markham and Scarborough. We offer tick and fleas removal as well as microchipping, heartworm tests and more. Contact us to learn more or book an appointment.

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