Hiking is one of our favorite pet friendly activities, and I know many of you feel the same way. Of course, communing with nature can lead to encounters with wildlife and, while thrilling, it can also be dangerous. Deterring an attack, or surviving one, requires different behavior depending on the animal you encounter. Before you head out, make yourself familiar with the wildlife that lives in the area you are hiking, and follow these tips for encountering predators on the trail.
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Pet Friendly Hiking Tips
Hiking is our favorite pet friendly activity. We love getting out into nature, and often see wildlife. And with any activity, it’s important to take precautions to keep you and pet safe.
Avoid surprising animals by making noise and staying aware – especially on sections of trail with limited sight lines.
Putting bear bells on your dog’s collar will alert wildlife to your presence and give the animals time to avoid you.
Don’t wear headphones. Instead, tune into your surroundings so you can hear approaching animals.
Don’t jog on the trails known for animal encounters – running stimulates a predator’s instinct to chase and attack.
Be sure someone knows where you’re going and when you plan to be back.
Keep your dog on a leash so that he can’t put himself and you in danger by chasing any animals you encounter. If he does react to an animal, do your best to keep him close and under as much control as possible. Calmly move away from the animal, taking care not to run or allow your dog to run, as it might trigger the animal to chase you.
In places where off-leash hiking is allowed, keep pets close to you and within sight at all times.
If you are hiking in bear country, keep in mind that bears tend to be more active at dawn and dusk, so plan your hikes accordingly.
Keep an eye out for tracks, fresh scat, digs, other signs that animals are active in the area.
Carry bear spray and be sure that you have practiced using it before an attack.
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