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Hiking with your dog is a treat. They are always there, always packed, and always ready to go. However, hiking buddies need to take care of each other.
Dehydration is a major issue with dogs when hiking. Whether there is no water out on your trail or it is all standing muddy puddles that they shouldn’t be drinking from, your dog needs water. We’ve laid out some easy ways to tell if your dog is dehydrated and DIY ways to keep your dog hydrated while hiking.
Dogs are built to be ever so sturdier than humans. They can eat raw meat and they can drink water with less of a chance of becoming sick from parasites. However, they are still animals, and even animals dehydrate in certain conditions.
When hiking or other strenuous activity, dogs are losing more water than they are taking in. They are working hard to walk the trail all while covered in fur and baking in the sun.
Water loss can be in the form of sweat from their paw pads to large water loss in the form of those big droplets dripping off their panting tongue.
Of course, just like humans, they lose water through increased respiration as well. All of this combined makes for the perfect storm of dog dehydration in just a few hours.
Signs of dehydration in dogs varies. The following are common signs of dehydration:
If you are beginning to worry, there are a few quick ways to test if your dog needs water.
First, you can press on their gums. If it takes more than two seconds for the color to come back to them, circulation is slowed due to lack of fluids.
Alternatively, you can pull up on a clump of fur/skin located between their shoulder blades. If it doesn’t return to its shape in two seconds, again, more fluid is needed.
If you notice your dog is starting to slow down and is losing a lot of fluid, get them water quickly. There are tons of products you can buy to water your dog on the trail, but there are also plenty of DIY ideas to keep your dog hydrated while hiking.
The key to making your own dog watering accessories is to keep them small. In a pinch, cut off the bottom of a dog food bag and transform it into a collapsible water bowl.
Of course, you don’t need to carry your water and theirs either. A dog is plenty capable of carrying their own weight as well as their own water on the trail. Dog hiking backpacks, are a great way to do this, Hiking backpacks for dogs are really easy to make yourself.
As a precaution, do not make your dog carry more than a fourth of their weight in water and other dog essentials.
Finally, one last DIY tip to keep your dog hydrated. If you are bringing a cooler backpack for yourself, skip the dry treats and use ice cubes. They are great for cooling your dog and they are a great dose of hydration as well.