Nothing beats a walk trough the Italian Alps with your furry friend. For both human and dog, the adventures in the mountains will create unforgettable moments. There’s just one thing, think and prepare before you head out. The stunning beauty makes it easy to forget the potential dangers in the mountains. Go out safe following these tips and tricks.
The most important thing to bring on a hiking trip with your dog is your common sense. While your furry friend is excited from the first minute, it doesn’t know about your plans. And when it get’s hard, it keeps on going. For that reason, it’s important to be knowledgeable of your pet’s physical boundaries. With just a bit of planning the trip will turn in to a success for both you and your dog. If this is the first time you take your dog out into the mountains, then pay special attention, as a walk in the mountains is very different than your regular walks.
A look at the basics
Let’s have a look at the dog(s) you want to bring. When considering the duration of your hike, first look at the duration of your longest daily walk the dog is used to. You can go out for a bit longer, but don’t exceed it by too much. This is especially important in summer when temperatures go well above 30 degrees Celsius. Besides, if you and your canine are unknown to the mountain’s terrain, it’s important that your pup listens well. The terrain is breathtaking but with a few wrong hops, things can go well beyond bad. For that reason, always bring a leash and perhaps some dog cookies if that does the trick.
But there is another reason why it’s important to bring a leash. While it can be quite, expect some unexpected meetings with other wildlife. From cows to mountain goats and from huge bugs to snakes, they all live in the plains and forests of the hills. It’s best to leash your dog when having an encounter and when it comes to the bigger animals like cows, try to stay well away from them. Be careful crossing a group of them through the middle of the group as they might react defensively.
Smaller animals can do just as much damage. A bee sting, a snake bite, it doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it’s good to know what to do. It’s recommended to have a ‘first aid for dogs’ guide with you or at least know what to do in the more common situations. Don’t bother bringing a hard copy book, just download one on your mobile device and you will have it with you all the time.
And then there are the humans. Not everybody likes dogs. Be sure to leash your dog when entering more crowded places. This for sure counts for city centres and towns, but also in restaurants and terraces. And of course, as a responsible dog owner, scoop the poop.
Depending on the duration of your hike and the season, bring enough nutrition for your dog. Especially in the summertime, it can get excruciating hot. Your dog doesn’t sweat like you do as it tries to keep itself cool by panting. To assist your dog, water is the absolute number one. And the dog will need loads of it during a hike. If possible, try to plan a route past water. Whether that’s taps, streams or lakes, your dog will be grateful. Carrying water around can be heavy. The best way is to do so is in a rucksack. Don’t bring a shoulder bag as it’s going to ruin your back on the longer hikes. A good idea to bring is a foldable water tray. Do not throw any water out but put it back in the water bottle. You just might need it later. And while as a dog owner you should know, but we can’t stress it enough; Do not leave your dog in the car when it’s hot!
Winter brings another set of unique challenges. Your dog still needs water, but that’s usually not a big problem. The biggest danger is probably the snow. It can be slippery but worst of all, you can’t always estimate the depth and whats underneath. Be careful about letting your dog walk around edges. In fact, if edges are close, it’s recommended to leash your dog and stay well away from it.
And what if it goes wrong?
No matter how well prepared, something unexpected might just happen. Maybe not even to your dog, but to yourself. In that case, it’s nice when you have all emergency options at your disposal. So, bring a fully charged phone and make sure you have an emergency contact. The phone number of a local vet can come in handy as well, just be sure the vet speaks a language you understand. In case of a hike over multiple days or in uninhabited areas, consider bringing other emergency tools like flares in order to leave distress signals.
Do’s and don’ts with your dog
These do’s and don’t pretty much summarize this article in a few pointers. Keeping them in mind will make your hike a relaxing and beautiful experience. Do yourself and your four-legged friend a favour and plan ahead.
- Carry a leash and use it when appropriate
- Bring enough nutrition (water)
- Have a first aid kit
- Bring a phone with emergency contacts
- Clean up after your dog
- Go out for too long
- Let the dog roam free in crowded places
- Disturb nature
- Leave the dog in the car in the summertime
- Go out unprepared
Go out and explore
With these tips, you should be able to make a well-considered decision about bringing your dog on your next hiking adventure. While not all hazards can be eliminated, by taking proper care and planning chances are it will be an unforgettable journey for you and your best friend.