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When we go to explore the great outdoors, bringing our dog along seems like an excellent idea. They get plenty of exercise, fresh air and can expend excess energy. But, if you have a small dog, there are considerations you should think about before embarking on such a journey.
Chihuahuas are one such small breed that many owners question whether or not these are good to take on a hiking trip. In short, yes they are. However, these come with a few caveats of which you should take note.
Are Chihuahuas Good for Hiking?
Hiking with your Chihuahua can be loads of fun, so yes they can be good for hiking. Their small stature means they can handle more narrow paths and they won’t be threatening to other people or small animals the way a Pit Bull or Cane Corso might be.
What Conditions Must a Chihuahua Have to Go Hiking?
To go hiking with your itsy bitsy fur baby, there are a few things you have to check. Also, you want to think about where you’re going in relationship to the dog’s health status and how easily spooked it gets. But, with a little planning and foresight, the dog can become part of the festivities and add to the memories.
Ensure Your Dog is Healthy
First, the dog must be healthy, fit and in good shape regardless of the location of the hike. If the dog is old, sick or injured, you should leave it with a friend, a family member or a reputable boarding kennel. This is not something you want to leave up to chance.
If your dog is afraid of loud noises and thunderstorms, leave it behind. A sudden storm with booming lightning and cracking thunder may cause your Chihuahua to flee in panic. Once the rain starts pouring down, it will be next to impossible to track the dog down.
What to Bring Along
Depending on how long the hike will be, consider bringing necessary supplies. Things like fresh water, poop bags and a leash will be important regardless. But, for day-long hikes or camping trips with several hikes, you will have to pack additional things:
Because of the tiny stature of Chihuahuas, it’s not a good idea to take the dog anywhere with a steep grade or where intense climbing will be inevitable. What’s more, the Chihuahua shouldn’t walk for more than 20 to 30 minutes. This is because heavy walking and intense exercise isn’t part of a Chihuahua’s makeup.
In the event, your hike is for longer than 30 minutes, be sure to stop and rest for awhile. Give the dog plenty of time to recoup if it looks thirsty or tired. Plus, if it’s very hot outside, ensure you have enough water and other hydrating treats for the both of you.
If you’re deadest on bringing your Chihuahua along for the experience, you could get a canvas pouch to carry your dog rather than make it trek up a mountain.
Train the Dog
If you plan on doing a long hike through the woods and outback country, there are additional things to ponder. First and foremost, your Chihuahua should get used to such excursions. Don’t just throw it into a huge expedition if its normal status quo is on the couch and snuggled up on your lap.
So, it’s best if you can try to train the dog to go on long, intense hikes. Start small and in your local area, gradually increasing the length and intensity of the walks. This will help your Chihuahua get used to things and it won’t be so taxing for the poor thing.
Are There Any Other Tips for Taking a Chihuahua Hiking?
Of course, there are other practical considerations you must take into account:
- Ensure the dog’s license, vaccinations and ID are current and up-to-date in case it goes missing.
- Check the area you plan on visiting to make sure they allow pets and what the pet policies are. Some require additional fees and others may be strict about yappy or aggressive dogs.
- Plus, plan on having a leash with a means to tie up the dog, if need be. Almost all parks and recreational areas will require your dog to be on a leash.
- When going for an overnight stay, do not leave your Chihuahua tied up outside. They should be with you inside. This is because Bears and other large predators might harass (or do something worse) your precious fur baby.
- Believe it or not, pet theft is a serious issue most people are rarely aware of. So, it’s important that someone is able to watch the dog at all times. Leaving your dog in a hot car in the summer is NOT an option.
Also, think about the season and weather. Chihuahuas don’t do well in hot temperatures, so watch your dog for signs of heat stroke and burned paw pads. Never walk your Chihuahua during the day in summer; always go early in the morning or around sunset.
If it’s wintertime, dress your Chihuahua in a sweater, sweatshirt or coat. They can’t handle cold temps for too long, so ensure the hike is brief and brisk.
Taking your Chihuahua along can be fun and refreshing. But, you want to be smart about this and not leave any detail up to chance. After all, the point is to relax, get some exercise and enjoy nature. Be serious about your dog’s physical limitations in relation to the location and for how long you plan on hiking.
Always research the park or natural space before you leave so you’re not taken by surprise, especially if you plan on going for an extended period of time. The more you can consider and anticipate problems before leaving, the better off you and your dog will be.