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Hiking with Fido

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Get a work out in and work out your dog with some amazing and fun trails your puppy may love. There are three great dog friendly hiking trails in Fresno area, from my experience. All of these trails are predominantly or completely paved so easy on fido's paws and minimal risk of any rocks or stickers getting in the paws. Additionally these trails are well maintained and I have not seen broken glass on them to further help protect fido. They are wide enough so people can pass in two directions with dogs and still keep the dogs apart. Additionally they are near places where you can stop and get water along the way, just in case your dog needs a drink.

The first one is the Fresno Clovis Rail Trail. This is one of the 1,600 trails nation wide that was funded by the Rails to Trails Conservancy. Initially they used unused railroads paths to develop trails. They have since expanded their program.

The next is the Lewis S Eaton Trail. This is another multi-use trail. Similar to the Fresno Clovis Rail Trail in amenities and safety for Fido it boasts a multitude of areas next to the trail where one can park and get to the trail by walking only a few feet.

Last but certainly not least is the Old Town Trail. This has all the some amenities as the other trails. The drawback of this trail is that there are sections where you need to cross streets or go through a parking lot. Additionally there is a section where you pass near a school which can be challenging for dogs that are easily distracted.

Water Dangers
Water Dangers Lucinda Roth

Water Dangers

If you take the Rails to Trails trail all the way to the end you can end up near Woodward Park. The Woodward Park area does have a river which one needs to be careful on. When you pass the water make sure to keep the leash tight. There are small animals around here that could get his attend and encourage him to dash towards the water. The dirk embankments in some areas can be very slippery. Additionally there are some rocky areas that can be doubly dangerous.

Dog Etiquette
Dog Etiquette Lucinda Roth

Dog Etiquette

All of the trails mentioned are frequently utilized. You will almost definitely meet other people on the trails and perhaps other dogs. Etiquette is critical to keep the experience pleasant. Some great ideas is to keep your leash 6 feet or less in length so you can quickly move close to your dog if he or she gets exciting by something such as another dog. If your puppy does get easily excite or irritated by certain situations or things be on alert for those to help the dog stay calm on the hike and make the experience great for everyone involved.

Sky is not the limit
Sky is not the limit Lucinda Roth

Sky is not the limit

Realize that the sky is not the limit when it comes to exercising with your dog. He or she may not be in as great shape as you. Consider easing your dog into a habit of hiking and running.

Additionally if you want your pet to carry some of the load such as water ease the puppy into this. Consider starting off by having him or her wear a pack around home. Once he or she is use to that have him or her carry it empty on short then longer walks. Finally you can ease them up to having a light load in the pack. Make sure the weight is not above what he or she can handle. I usually limit it to no more than a third of my pup's weight, but he is healthy and active and exercising regularly so in strong condition.

Consider dangers
Consider dangers Lucinda Roth

Consider dangers

Also think about first aid for your pet. These trails are very urban so the risk is minimal. However the dog can get in a run in with a squirrel or other animal and need some first aid. He or she can also get things in his or her paws. Think about perhaps getting a dog first aid kit or putting together one of your own. There are a great variety of kits ranging from very basic to outdoor wilderness extensive kits.

No foraging
No foraging Lucinda Roth

No foraging

Dogs do know how to forage in general, however do you really want your puppy foraging. In order to keep them from eating what they find on the way to some degree consider bringing food.

Depending on the size of your puppy you can typically put a pack on him or her and have him or her bring her own food. You probably will not need much. Just a tiny snack and perhaps some treats just in case you need to reward her or him or encourage her or him to do or not do something.

Hydration
Hydration Lucinda Roth

Hydration

Water and hydration is critical for dogs, especially if you are taking them on a long hike. There are several systems you can buy for this that dogs can carry and have built in hydration systems. There are also collapsible food and water dishes you can use.

Be careful the animals do not try to drink from puddles or stagnant water or the river along the way. Dogs are susceptible to many of the same ailments as humans including giardia. If you are especially worried about dehydration consider mixing some Pedialyte with the water. In the case of my 60 pound puppy I put about 20 cc's with about 3 cups of water, although before doing this I would check with your vet for their recommendation.

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