Get closer to nature by bringing your dog on your next hike. Your best pal will love taking in all the exciting sights and smells, and you’ll both get a great workout while fighting boredom. You’ll gain a new appreciation of the wonders of nature by seeing it through your dog’s eyes. Take advantage of this fresh spring California weather by getting on the trail this weekend.
Those of us at The Pet Nanny put together a quick guide for a fun, safe hike with your dog.
Is Your Dog Ready To Hike?
If your dog is at least 12 months old and has had all of her vaccinations, and is in good health, she’ll probably make a good hiking buddy. Too much exercise can damage your pup’s skeletal health, so it’s best to wait to hike after their growth plates have closed – after 10 months for small dogs, and up to 15 months for large breeds.
It’s always a risk to let your dog off-leash on your hike. Even if her recall is excellent, she may hunt (or get hunted by) dangerous wildlife like snakes and coyotes. It’s best to keep your dog on a leash at all times unless you’re in a safe, enclosed area and her recall is nearly perfect, even around distractions.
Your hiking partner should understand a few basic commands. Teach drop it and leave it so she won’t eat yucky things she finds on the trail, and work on her recall just in case she does get loose.
Gear Up For Your Hike
Water and bowl. Don’t allow your dog to drink from lakes and streams, or she could get sick from parasites and bacteria that lurk in the waters.
Tasty treats. If your hike will be long, you might want to bring some kibble. Always bring a meaty treat in case you need to distract your dog or call her away from something. A hike is a good time to practice training around distractions.
Pet first aid kit. Pack some gauze, bandage tape, topical disinfectant and some tweezers or a tick remover tool.
A long line. In open fields, you can give your dog some more freedom to run and sniff with a few leashes clipped together or a long line.
Poop bags. Pick up your dog’s waste and dispose of it in a trashcan. Some parks provide doggy waste bag stations, but it’s best to bring your own for when there are no stations nearby.
A foxtail net. In the summer, foxtail weeds are abundant throughout California. Though they look harmless, a foxtail can get embedded in your dog’s nose or ears, between her toes, in her coat, and can cause a serious infection. There are special mesh nets for your dog to wear on her head to protect her nose and ears.
Dog-Friendly Hiking Destinations Near Concord, California
Briones Regional Park is a 6,117-acre regional park in Martinez, and offers plenty of space where dogs are permitted off-leash.
Castle Rock Regional Recreational Area spans 18,000 acres in Walnut Creek – full of trails, open spaces, picnic areas and creeks.
Heather Farm Park in Walnut Creek has hiking and walking trails, open fields, and even dog park areas for large and small dogs.
Lime Ridge Open Space stretches from Concord to Walnut Creek, with wide open areas and rolling hills.
Shell Ridge Open Space in Walnut Creek has rolling hills, many trails and pathways to explore with your dog.
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