Tips for a Spring Hike with your Dog

Hiking picSpring has finally come and with it, warmer weather. Southern California has reverted back to it’s sunny days which also means there will be an influx of hikers treading down those glorious winding Malibu paths that hug the shoreline. One of the most enjoyable hikes include walks with family members and your faithful companions. It’s a known fact that dogs love to walk, run, play  and hike with their owners. However if you are not too familiar with the area or just wish to brush up on tips on how to make the hike safer for everyone, continue to read as we provide some knowledge on the matter.
Safety first! We’ve all heard that before and while you may be considering letting your dogs run free and unhindered, keep in mind that there are probably other dogs roaming around as well. Let’s avoid any unwanted confrontations by always leashing up your dog before you begin the hike. A harness might be best to keep your dogs from getting too strained as well. And don’t forget to bring lots of water and a drinking bowl for them too!

Another thing to remember is to be vigilant at all times. Take note of your surroundings by checking the bushes and plants nearby. It never hurts to memorize which plants to stay away from like Poison Oak and which is fairly common in this region as well as Poison Ivy and Sumac. Keep your dog close so they don’t have a nasty run in with some itchy plants. Check out the link below for info on how to differentiate between the local poisonous and non poisonous plants (and animals!) http://www.provincejournal.com/daybook/toxic-california-plants-animals

You may also want to look out for local wildlife. When you step out of the city, you enter a wild domain where different rules apply. Keep your eyes peeled for snakes as they tend to enjoy sunbathing on rocky and dirt paths. There may also be occasional warning signs posted in the area so if you see them, walk at your own risk or try looking for a different location entirely to hike in. Snakes tend to be more active between the months of April until October so be extra careful during those months.  Ticks are also an important concern –  as they can carry and transmit Lyme disease.  Be sure to check yourself as well as your dog for ticks that may have hitchhiked along the way. For some tips on where to check your pup for ticks, follow this link: http://www.dogsandticks.com/protect_your_pet/remove_ticks.php

Carry a backpack with lots of water, power bars and maybe some treats for your pup. Most of all, make sure you pack first aid supplies for both you and your dogs. Ice packs, wrapping bandages, disinfecting sprays are just a few good items for you to pack in the event that there is an accident. Make sure to also pack lots of gauze and tweezers in case anything gets stuck in an unsuspecting paw. And don’t forget about yourself too, pack some sunscreen as you will probably be hiking for a few hours in the baking sun. Some mosquito repellent is also a good idea to have.
Always make sure to tell someone where you go hiking beforehand so that in the event you get lost in the beauty of the hike, you can quickly be found. Going in groups is also a good way to keep on track as there is safety in numbers and you can help each other if needed. Resist the desire to wander off of the beaten path to avoid getting potentially lost and unable to find your way back to civilization.  Using commonly hiked trails is best, since they are frequented daily in most SoCal weather. Here are some popular dog friendly hikes around our beloved SoCal.
Hiking is a great way to get in touch with nature, spend time with your family and pups and even get in shape for swimsuit season. The sheer unspoiled beauty of the outdoors is truly an experience worth partaking in…as long as you do so safely. We hope these helpful tips will ensure a safe hike with you and your loved ones! Thanks for reading!

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