Taking your dog on a UK Hill Walking adventure?
With the UK being home to many of the best hill walking routes in the world many UK dogs owners now love to take their four legged friends with them on their weekend adventures. You don’t have to be a mountaineering expert to take your dog with you, though we do recommend preparing before you set off to ensure a safe and enjoyable walk for both yourself and your dog. We have put together a small guide to help you get ready for a great day out!
Lets talk about fitness…
Just like humans, your dogs fitness levels can often decide which hills or mountains are best suited to ensure a safe and pleasant day trip. We recommend building up both your dogs stamina and also your own before setting off, this can be achieved by simply adding on an extra 30mins per dog walk on the weeks and months leading up to your big day out and also letting your dog experience different surfaces such as gravel and rough terrain which they may experience during the trip.
Food & Water
Similar to any dog walk, keeping your dogs energy and hydration levels at an appropriate level are key for your dogs health. Making sure you have enough water for your trip if a key factor for this and should reflect the distance and difficulty of the route you have taken.
We also recommend taking high protein treats with your during the trip which can be easily fed and without being too filling, a great option for this is treats such as our Fresco Training Treats, they are made from pure meat and contain a high protein level to keep your dog bursting with energy and also come in a hang zip lock bag to keep them dry from the elements.
If your planned journey is a full day affair you should always remember to not only take treats & water with you but also your dogs main meal diet too. With RAW feeding on rise we have created an exclusive Dry RAW food to help with the impossible task of taking a Frozen RAW food dog diet up a mountain. Our Fresco Dry RAW food is a completely balanced diet which is gently air & freeze dried to lock in all the goodness without an preservatives and without the need to add water like other brands.
Our unqiue 80/20 Dry RAW complete food is perfect for trips away with a daily feeding guidline of only 0.8% of your dogs body weight required for them to maintain a healthy diet, it can also be easily fed along side your current frozen raw dog food diet plan. View our FRESCO Dry RAW range today by clicking here.
Are you prepared for the weather ahead?
We all know the UK weather system can at times have a mind of its own, thankfully you can prepare in advance for what lies ahead and also take precaution to ensure you have the appropriate clothing for both yourself and your dog such as a towel and of course a waterproof coat to keep your dog dry and warm.
Certain breeds of dogs can cope better than others during the wet and windy spell of weather. Whippets for example are short haired dogs with less body fat , as a result they will require an extra layer of warmth on chillier days to stay warm.
Huskys and long haired dogs however can be prone to over heating if the glorious UK sunshine is on display during your walk, be sure to take a little extra water than normal to keep your dog hydrated at all times.
It is always best to plan ahead with checking weather updates days before planning to set off and also on the day of your trip as UK weather can change very quickly, you can check the up to date weather forecast on many websites such as The Mountain Weather Information website: http://www.mwis.org.uk
or via the MET office website
Is your dog “PAW ready”?
Your dogs paws are generally quite robust, however with a change in rough terrain which their paws are not normally exposed to can cause discomfort and sometimes harmful damage to their pads . We recommend looking into boots for your dog to help reduce any damage they may endure to their pads or changing your planned route to help avoid any rough terrain you feel may be too rough for your dog. It can also be a great idea to join a hill walking forum too, here you can ask fellow dog owners which route they took on a particular hill that was best suited for their dog.
Why not check out http://www.walkingforum.co.uk for tips and to ask any fellow hill walkers any questions you may have, forums are friendly places and a great way to find advice too.
Hill walking is fun and your dog will love their adventure, however safety should always be the main priority for both yourself and of course your dog during your trip. Being prepared is key, we recommend always taking a first aid kit with you during your trip and also a first aid kit primarily for your dog
Things to include in your dogs kit can be seen from a recent blog post by The Dog Journal, click the link below the view their essential check list:
Other dogs and live stock control…
As you set off on your trip it is always advised to keep in mind others animals you may encounter during your journey, Hills and Mountains are very favourable amongst many dogs owners and of course livestock , as a result you will no doubt pass many other animals during your walk.
Some dogs love interaction with others dogs during walks, while others may not be too keen and prefer to have their own space. It is always advisable to keep other dogs in mind when on your travels, if you spot a fellow dog owner on approach it can be best to immediately put your dog on their lead until the other dog has passed. This is to avoid any upset between both parties and to avoid any mishaps during your day out so you both have a trouble free trip. It is also often seen as common courtesy similar to when you are walking locally at home in the park or in the street.
Livestock is also a key point to keep in mind, unlike dog owners livestock may be roaming free and grazing on the path you have taken. The livestock owners may not be there and it can be a daunting experience at first when you approach.
However you can follow a few simple rules to make your first livestock encounter pleasant for both your dog and the roaming animals.
- Keep your dog on a short lead when approaching and passing livestock
- Never walk between livestock, separating mothers from their young can cause stress and result in animals such a sheep and cows acting aggressively. This is a natural response to protect their young.
- Take a wider route if possible to avoid any possible interaction with the livestock
- Make sure your dog is also calm upon approach, why not take a small rest before walking past and calm your dog with one of their favourite walking treats such as Fresco Fillets.
Dogs at height…
Many dogs can react differently to hill and mountains compared to others, while some will love the vast views and scenery without any issues, some others may be a little taken back by the whole experience and as a result can react erratically to the new experience (such as chasing birds and wild animals) .
As you may face many mountain ridge faces or steep cliff overhangs it is always advisable to keep a close eye on your dog when tackling new heights and keeping them on their lead until you are back on lower grounds. Having them on their lead will not only give them a sense of added security but will also keep your own mind at ease so you can both enjoy your day out.
Keeping your route visible…
Cloudy conditions, mist and falling dark can be very common in the UK and even more so when up on a high hill or mountain. It is always advised to have a torch with you at all times to ensure a safe trip back down and to use a clip on light for your dogs collar to help keep them visible. Many trips can last longer than expected, as a result time keeping can sometimes be difficult, setting an alarm on your watch and checking the sunset times can help you plan your trip.
Dealing with ticks…
During your hill walk you will be sure to pass thousands of ticks lying low in bushes and grass, as they await a passing host (animals & humans) to jump on to. To avoid ticks is near impossible and they may be a chance that yourself or your dog may catch one. They may not be totally avoidable, however you can prepare to act quickly to remove these nasty ectoparasites.
Top tips for tick control
- Avoid bushy areas and ground with high grass (Ticks are prone to living in these types of areas)
- Check your dogs coat & legs regularly during the trip and also immediately upon returning home, always brush against their coat as ticks are very good at hiding (Also check yourself and your clothing, ticks are also known to survive a full washing cycle!)
- Remove the ticks safely using a tick removing tool, you should include this in your Dog First Aid kit . If you are up on a hill or mountain and have forgot your tick remover, simply ask a passing dog owner for help. We are sure they will be happy to lend you theirs and if you are not confident in removing the tick correctly you could also ask them to help.
Last but certainly not least….
Enjoy yourself! Once you have completed your first Hill Walk we are sure you will be eager to set a date in the diary for your next adventure trail.
We love to see our customers embark on adventures, take some pictures and post them on our social media pages such as Facebook and Instagram @frescodoguk
We hope you have a safe and enjoyable adventure
Fresco Dog UK