Your dog most likely loves the outdoors as much as you do. Now that the days are longer and the early days of spring are here, you may be considering going hiking with your four-legged friend. Before you do, though, we would encourage you to keep a few things in mind to make sure you and your pup enjoy your time together safely.

Are You and Your Pup in Good Enough of Shape?

While you don’t have to be marathon-ready, you should both be in good enough shape to walk several hours on uneven terrain. If you live in a northern climate where the weather gets cold in winter, you may have spent the last few months mostly indoors. Your pup may be a little out of shape as well. Sprains are some of the common injuries dogs incur, and they often occur after a dog has been sedentary for an extended period of time and has experienced muscle loss. Go on a few shorter trial runs before you decide to go on a longer hike to make sure you’re both up for the activity.

Pack for Injuries for Your Dog Too

Just like you, your dog can experience abrasions and scratches as well. In addition to putting your dog’s ID collar on and packing food and water for the both of you, you should pack wound care supplies for dogs as well just in case if your dog gets injured on the hike. If you know the area can be treacherous, you may even want to consider putting booties on your dog as well. In the event that your dog does get injured, you should clean and cover the wound with your dog wound supplies as best you can and get to the vet as soon as possible.

Is Your Dog Trained Well Enough to Go Outdoors

If you take your dog on a hike, he or she needs to know the “Come” command among others. The last thing you would want is for your dog to chase after a rabbit or squirrel and get lost in the wilderness. If you haven’t already, take your dog to a professional trainer who can work with you on these basic commands and then practice at home. If you find that your dog is a quick learner and has passed all the command tests in various situations, he or she might be ready for some fresh air in the great outdoors.