Hiking with your canine friend is a great way to bond and get exercise for both of you. But unfortunately, while hiking, often, dogs’ paws may be damaged or injured by sharp objects on the terrain, such as jagged rocks, thorns, glass, and other hazards.
However, your adventurous pup doesn’t need to come home with sore or damaged paws every time you hit the trails! There are easy ways to protect your dogs’ feet while hiking so that they can enjoy time on the trails as much as you do.
Here are the eight ways to make your canine the happiest hiker in town.
One of the easiest methods to protect your fido’s paws while hiking is to invest in a pair of booties made for dogs. There are many dog shoes available on the market today, so you can easily find one that fits your dog’s feet and is easy to put on.
Dog hiking boots, like ours, consist of a thick layer of protection between your dog’s paws and the rough terrain of trails, allowing your pup to walk without slipping or cutting their paws and getting infected.
And not only are dog shoes helpful in protecting your dog’s paws on hot days, but also for hikes in winter. Snow often gets packed between dogs’ paw pads, making walking painful and difficult for them. Doggie booties can prevent that from happening.
Many dog owners also ask whether or not they should let their pups wear boots for hiking. Of course, it is up to you, but having your dog wear shoes is probably safer than letting them go barefoot. And if you decide to get your pup a pair of dog boots, make sure they are fitted snugly.
Some dogs may not like wearing doggie shoes, and in that case, you can use paw protection wax as an alternative way to shield your four-legged friend’s feet while hiking.
Although these balms and waxes don’t offer the same level of protection as dog boots, they can still help protect your fido’s feet from the elements, such as cold, heat, snow, and keep your dog’s paw pad from getting scraped or cut by sharp objects they may come across on the hiking trails.
Paw balms and waxes usually contain natural waxy ingredients, like beeswax, that create a protective barrier between your dog’s paws and the elements. Some of these products also include Vitamin E, hemp oil, and organic shea butter, which are rich in antioxidants that can help nourish and soothe your pooch’s paws.
Toughen Up Your Dog's Paws
If you are on the fence about getting your dog to wear boots or prefer not to use any foot protection products on your pup when hiking, you can strengthen or toughen up their pads so that they are less prone to paw injuries.
You can accomplish this by walking your dog on rough surfaces such as asphalt and concrete. This will help build up calluses on their feet, making them less susceptible to punctures, nicks, scrapes, and cuts when hiking.
One thing, though, make sure to avoid walking your furry friend on asphalt when it’s hot outside as it can burn their pads.
4. Keep Your
Dog's Nails Short
Keeping dogs’ nails trimmed is another way to prevent them from getting hurt while hiking. Long claws can catch on rocks, roots, and other things they may come across on the trail, which can snag and tear their nails or cause them to break off. Plus, long nails can put a lot of pressure on your dog’s nail beds when they walk, causing them to feel pain and discomfort.
So, how often should you file down your dog’s claws?
Well, ideally, you should get them trimmed every month. And it may be a better idea to use a nail grinder instead of clippers as it is safer and less stressful for your pooch.
5. Hike When it is Not
Too Hot or Too Cold Outside!
This is an obvious one. But you will be surprised by how many dog owners go hiking with their canines even when the weather conditions are unfavorable.
Hiking with your pooch can be dangerous if it is too hot or too cold outside! When it’s scorching hot out there, your furkid is at a higher risk of overheating, which can lead to heatstroke. On the other hand, exposing your fido to freezing temperatures for extended periods can cause frostbite and hypothermia.
So, make sure the temperature is just right before going on a hike in the great outdoors with your pooch.
6. Bring a
First Aid Kit
You would also want to bring a first aid kit with you on your hiking adventure. This will come in handy if your furball gets hurt or injured during the hike. It allows you to treat cuts, scrapes, bruises, bumps, and other minor injuries on the spot to prevent any complications or infections.
A basic dog-specific first aid kit should contain bandages, antiseptic wipes or sprays, antihistamines, eyewash solution, scissors, a pair of tweezers, or a tick removal tool (so you can pluck ticks), etc.
Inspect Your Dog's Paws After Hiking
Always check your dog’s paws after hiking, including their paw pads, between toes, and dewclaws, to ensure there are no open wounds or cuts. If you find any, make sure to clean and sanitize the affected area with warm water and antiseptic wipes. Then apply an antibiotic ointment to promote wound healing and prevent infection.
8. Create a
Paw Care Routine for Your Dog
It is generally a good practice to give your canine’s paws some tender loving care and check their feet thoroughly for any injured, cracked, or damaged areas. If you see something’s off, take action right away and don’t wait till it gets worse.
Even if your furkid’s paws are in perfect shape, you should still inspect them. This can help prevent potential health problems from cropping up!
And ideally, you would want to examine their feet and nails at least once every week. However, if your fur friend is very active and likes to dig, run, and dash around in your backyard dog run, you may want to inspect their paws more frequently.
Read More: How to Care for Your Dog’s Paws
As you can see, protecting your pooch’s feet while hiking is quite simple. All it takes is a little bit of forethought and proper preparation. And as long as you keep the above tips in mind, I am sure your dog’s paws will be in good hands with you!
I hope this article has been helpful for all you hikers out there who want to bring your fur friends along on your next hike and that it will help you keep your canine companion safe and injury-free while hiking.