How to responsibly enjoy fall hiking with your dog

Hiking is a great way to take advantage of the cool fall weather and beautiful foliage. Most dog owners can agree that no one makes a more willing and eager hiking buddy than your dog. Going for hikes with your four-legged friend is a great way for you both to get some exercise while enjoying all that the season has to offer.

The American Kennel Club offers tips on what to bring along when you and your dog hit the trails together:

—Research your breed. The amount of physical activity that your dog needs is influenced by breed type. A high-energy breed such as a Border Collie may have a much easier time on a hike than a lower-energy breed. The exercise limits of your dog are an important factor to keep in mind before heading out on an adventure. Research your breed and check with your veterinarian to make sure that your plans are in line with your dog’s physical limits.

—Leash. Many trails require dogs to be on a leash, but even if your trail doesn’t have a leash requirement, it’s a good idea to bring it with you anyway. Keeping your dog on leash will help if you need to steer him away from anything along the trail, such as poisonous plants or other animals.

—Water and travel bowl. Hiking can be exhausting for your dog, so make sure you bring water to offer him. Bring a collapsible bowl with a bottle of water and offer your dog a drink every half-hour.

—Bags for cleanup. Always bring bags with you to clean up after your dog even if you don’t think you’ll be out that long. Your dog will eventually need a bathroom break, and it’s best to have cleanup bags just in case.

—First aid kit: It’s good to always have some essentials with you in case of an emergency. That includes items such as a small tube of antibiotic cream for minor cuts, roll-on bandages, and a clean bandana to use as a tourniquet in case of major bleeding or bone fractures.

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