Do you love to hike, and do you also happen to own a Labradoodle? And what about Labradoodle hiking, is it doable? Good news, active Labradoodle owners have chosen the perfect breed.
But can Labradoodles hike? Labradoodles need a lot of exercise and love going on adventures with their owners. They’re great for going on hikes and long walks with since they’re pack-animals by instinct and love being around their owners at all times.
But just stepping outside and walking for hours on end with your Labradoodle isn’t the best way to go about it, so here is the information you need before embarking on outdoor adventures with a Labradoodle:
Finding the Dog-Friendly Trails
While it can be hard to imagine, not everybody loves dogs. This also includes some of your favorite hiking trails and National Parks.
You should check the websites of the specific park before going out to make sure that your furry friend can come.
Bringfido.com not only has a list of some great trails but also a guide to dog-friendly hotels and nearby events. If you have any doubts, contact a park representative.
Conditioning Your Dog For The Trail
Labradoodles are perfectly equipped for the trail. Their bodies not only love, but also needs the exercise, their paws are designed for walking in all kinds of terrain, and they absolutely love to be with their humans.
But this doesn’t mean that you should suddenly take your out-of-shape Doodle for a twelve-mile hike on impulse.
How would you like to go from spending all day on the couch to a 12 hour long, uphill climb? Your dog would feel the same about that as you would.
You should take your dog on shorter walks before you decide to go out on longer adventures. Or even better yet, you should use this opportunity to get in shape with your Doodle. Have him join in on your conditioning routine so he has a chance to build up his endurance and toughen up his paws before you enter the wilderness.
Remember to keep a close eye on your Labradoodle as you begin exercising. Look out for excessive panting and any signs of discomfort like if he starts limping or licking at his joints and paws. If you suspect your pet is uncomfortable it’s time for a break. If any signs of discomfort continue, you should contact your vet.
Choosing The Right Gear
Going on a long hike? Overnight camping? Let your Labradoodle help take some of the load off your back.
Labradoodles are large, strong dogs, and a healthy and fit Doodle is able to carry up to 25% of his body weight. Make your Doodle carry his own water, food, and first aid supplies. Consider getting a hiking pack, portable food and water dishes, and whatever accessories your hike requires for your Doodle.
Choosing A Pack
How do you select the perfect pack? There are numerous companies that produce or just sell hiking gear for dogs.
Some of the best-reviewed products are from companies such as:
• Outward Hound
The pack you select should be appropriate for the amount of hiking you and your dog plan on doing.
A $200 pack designed for serious hiking, probably isn’t suitable for dog owners who just plan on the occasional hike once a month.
Also, be sure that you get the right size for your dog.
The company websites typically have instructions on how to measure your dog so it fits correctly.
The best way to measure your dogs’ girth is to take a string of any sort and wrap it around your dog’s chest right behind his elbows. String is more flexible than a standard measuring tape.
Then you mark your dog’s girth on the string and place it next to a ruler or measuring tape for an accurate measurement.
To be sure that the pack fits perfectly, you should take your pack for a short test walk before you take off the tags. Adjust the straps so that the pack isn’t uncomfortable or too loose for your Labradoodle.
Don’t fill the pack with items for those first few walks so you can better see how your dog reacts to wearing a harness such as this.
Look out for if any areas of the pack seem uncomfortable to your dog. You can start to add weight to the pack once you are satisfied that your dogs’ hiking pack fits properly. You should always treat your dog the way you would treat yourself, so build up his strength by gradually adding weight to it.
Our recommendation is the RUFFWEAR Hiking Pack
Other Hiking Accessories for Dogs
Where are you planning on hiking? Will it be cool or warm? Labradoodles are sturdy and adjust well to several different climates and terrains. Doodles do well in cold climates and can tolerate heat as long as they are provided with an abundance of fresh water.
If you are going hiking in the heat, you could consider buying a cooling vest for your dog. These vests fit close to the dog’s body and are great for hiking with the sun out.
Is the trail rocky? Carrying a pair of hiking boots for your dog is a good idea. If your dog suffers a bruised paw or has a paw with laceration he will benefit greatly from the protection of a boot. Particularly on hot sections of the trail, he might experience burned paw pads and on very rocky territory it will wear on the skin, which leads to bruises, lacerations, and sore areas.
Check the paws’ of your dog frequently when on hikes. Look for splinters, sensitive areas, or anything stuck between his toes. It is a good habit to check your dogs’ paws frequently.
Purchase a collapsible water bowl and feed bowl to fit in his pack. These are sturdy and lightweight.
Going camping overnight? Self-inflatable sleeping pads for both you and your dog allows both of you to be comfortable when resting or sleeping.
Hiking for several hours? Consider a hands-free leash that attaches to your waist rather than one you have to hold in your hand. This allows you to free up your hands up for better balance when hiking.
Labradoodle Hiking Etiquette
When going on outdoor adventures you will most likely encounter other dogs and people. Does your Labradoodle play well with others? Does he jump enthusiastically every time he notices a new face? You should keep your Doodle close when passing others on the trail. Not everybody loves dogs.
And you might encounter other dogs’ that aren’t friendly. Keep your Doodle safe by preventing him from speeding to greet another dog or fellow human hiker. If another hiker wants to pet your dog, they will usually just ask.
Keep both eyes and ears out for other people while on the trail. Bikers and joggers move quickly. This is why you should keep your dog on a leash at all times. Trails usually have a requirement of a maximum 6-foot leash. The trail is not the place for a retractable leash. Keep your furry friend nearby for both his safety and yours.
Most dogs will also have to poop while hiking. Carry some poop bags with you for those situations. You could also bring a foldable shovel along. It’s a lot more convenient to bury the dog poop than hauling around those stinky bags.
Labradoodle First Aid
You should always keep in mind that anything can happen while on the trail, so that’s why you should carry a first aid kit not only for yourself but also for your dog. If your dog requires any special medications, make sure you bring extra when hiking as a precaution.
Also, consider contacting your veterinarian and ask if there are any specific products he or she would recommend for particular your dog as well.
Diets Change While Hiking
The more exercise you do, the hungrier you get, and it’s the same thing with your dog.
If you’re going hiking for longer than one full day it will require additional calories for your Doodle. Once again it could be smart to have a talk with your vet about what the appropriate increase in food-intake and added supplements would be.
Know Your Labradoodles’ Limits
Hiking with a dog does require a bit of additional planning than if you were just going by yourself. You must avoid trails that require extreme climbing unless you want to purchase a harness designed specifically for climbing with a dog.
You will have to be prepared to assist your dog over the most difficult passages. You should also note that some dogs don’t like going over narrow bridges or walking along sheer cliffs. There are also some dogs’ that don’t respect hazards, but will simply fly all over the place!
The best judge of your dog is yourself, and nobody knows better what he can and cannot handle. And if you’re not sure how your dog will react in certain situations, you should always play it safe.
Dangers For Dogs
There are many dangers for you and your dog along the hiking trail. Setting your feet wrong can result in twisted ankles and an injured Doodle. Depending on where you live, insects, poisonous plants and snakes all lie and wait for their chance to annoy you.
You should get a list of any wildlife in your area that can be harmful to dogs and humans. Dogs act as a deterrent for many animals, and you might even be safer while on the trail if you bring your Labradoodle with you. Sometimes a curious canine can accidentally stir up animals that would rather be left alone, such as snakes.
Always keep a close eye on your Labradoodle when hiking. Benadryl is effective when dealing with stings or allergies. If your dog is bitten by a snake, seek help immediately. The most efficient method for preventing snake bites is to keep your dog on a shorter leash.
It’s not only snakes that pose a danger, and that why it’s important that you know the area where you’re hiking. Coyotes, bears, porcupine, mountain lions, skunks, and pretty much any animal with a temper that your dog disturbs can cause injury.
An infected bite is a serious problem. Spines from porcupines are remarkably uncomfortable and extremely difficult to remove. And while skunks aren’t the most vicious animals around they can quickly ruin your hike if you get sprayed.
Keep a firm grip on your dog and move away slowly if you’re surprised by an animal while on the trail. Never intervene directly if your dog ends up in a fight with some wildlife. The chance of your dog having his rabies vaccination is a lot higher than you.
Instead, use a long stick or throw some water on them from a distance to break apart any fights. It can be hard not to jump to your dogs’ rescue if you find him in any danger, but a dog is a lot better equipped to handle those situations than you are.
Labradoodles love to swim and will usually look for any chance to take a swim, but be careful where they swim because smaller puddles contain harmful bacteria such as Leptospira, which causes Leptospirosis. Ensure that your Labradoodle has their vaccines up to date before going adventuring.
A good idea is to also carry extra purification tablets for your dogs’ water to avoid the risk of sickness and diarrhea.
And even better, have your dog carry his own tablets in his brand new dog pack, he will love to feel like a truly valuable member of your small squad.
Swimming is a great way for a hot Doodle to cool down a bit, but be sure to always check the water for any potential dangers before you let your dog loose.
Certain water snakes are extremely poisonous, and murky water can conceal logs and debris that an eager Labradoodle will leap into without a care in the world.
You should always make sure your Doodle is completely dry before putting his pack back on after a swim. Bring a travel or camping towel for this purpose. Your dog has a high risk of developing skin irritations if he’s damp for a longer period of time.
Taking your Labradoodle hiking is a fantastic way to enjoy the wonderful outdoors. Every Doodle loves being outside nearly as much as he loves just being with you. If you follow this guide and the advice given therein, you can expect to enjoy a great bonding experience you will want to repeat over and over.
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