Going for a long walk around the local park is a great idea. It’s convenient, relaxing and can be done daily to keep your dog active and happy. Going on a hike – now that’s a lot of fun!
It’s the best weekend activity, picking a dog-friendly hiking trail an hour or two away from home. Grab your dog and throw the essentials in the back we’ve got the guide to make it a great day trip.
Here are some tips to getting the most out of a hike and bush walk with your pet.
Research dog friendly trails and tracks.
It’s so important to research which hikes are dog friendly. A trail may be deemed unsuitable for dogs for a number of reasons. The wildlife may be at risk or protected in particular parks, or it may be simply because the trail is too advanced and may not be ideal for your dog to navigate with you.
Always check before you visit campsites and trails to ensure they’re dog friendly. It’s also worthwhile visiting park websites to check for updates on any pesticides or traps that may be active. Most parks will have clear signage around these areas, but you don’t want to find out after a two hour drive that the park isn’t suitable for your furry friend!
We spoke to our resident hiking enthusiast, Tia who loves taking her Border Collie, Shadow out on hikes whenever she can.
"You need to make a checklist of the following things to bring":
- Take a trail mix for you and your dog
- Dog shoes
- Dog bag
- Poo bags
- A waterproof jacket for you and your dog
- Harness and a car attachment
- The 3 in 1 water bottle and dog bowl from DOOG
- Long lead for your dog to safely roam and explore
- Compression bandage and first aid kit
It's important to protect your dog by giving them a tick prevention treatment a couple of days before you head out for your hike.
The natural hosts of the paralysis ticks are native animals in the bush. However, ticks commonly attach to other non-native hosts, including dogs and humans. Paralysis ticks are the most concerning tick species for pet owners and vets in Australia, as one bite from a paralysis tick can kill a dog. So be safe and make sure your dog has been treated before you head out.
Our go-to resident hiker, Tia says she always keeps Shadow on her leash "I leave Shadow on her leash for safety. It prevents her eating anything she shouldn't". There's also the possibility you could meet some wildlife along your journey, so having your dog on their lead is the best way to ensure their safety, and the safety of the natives.
Tell someone where you are going
Before you set out, make sure you have told someone in your family or a close friend where you are going. It's quite common for people to get disorientated in the bush in an area without a mobile phone signal. It's important that someone else knows your whereabouts if you and your dog do get lost and can't get a phone signal to call for help.
Take a fun toy for your dog to play with along the way
You never know what magical little water holes and open areas you might stumble across while exploring off the beaten track. Make sure you pack a lightweight, water friendly dog toy for your dog to play with on the way. Our stick family toys float in water, are light weight and a great fetch toy option that won't take up too much space in your backpack.
Hiking can be a messy business, but leave no trace!
When you’re in the great outdoors, it’s so important to leave the environment the way you found it. Pick up after your dog with waste bags. Tia invested in a doggy backpack for their hiking trips. She says it's mainly to make Shadow "carry her own poop", but having a little carry bag or backpack is essential to leave no trace. Do not encourage your dog to chase the birds or wildlife and never let them eat plant matter or meat you might come across along your hike.
It’s a good idea to keep an old towel or DOOG Swim Towel in your car to clean up your dog’s paws when you get back to the car. It's the last thing you think of, but trust us, you'll thank us later!