1. Take regular rest stops and give your dog drinks of water and bring them into the shade to cool down in hot weather.
2. In hot weather avoid hiking around noon, as it may get too hot. Dogs are prone to heatstroke if exercised in hot weather. Signs of this are excessive panting, drooling, agitation, vomiting and diarrhoea, loss of consciousness and collapse. Cool your dog down by bringing them into a shaded area and wetting them down with cool (not cold) water all over, especially in under-arm areas and groin where hair is sparse. As the water evaporates on their skin it will take heat from the body.
3. If, on the other hand, the weather turns cold, wet and windy, put a waterproof coat on your dog to help them stay dry and avoid wind chill. If hypothermia is suspected (signs of shivering, stumbling, lethargy and confusion) find a sheltered place and lie close to your dog to warm them up.
4. Be aware of wildlife (foxes, badgers, deer, ground nesting birds, squirrels etc.) and farm animals (sheep and cows in fields) and keep both them and your dog safe by restraining your dog on a long leash or have them very well trained for recall if a sudden confrontation happens when they are off leash.
If your pet gets scratched or bitten by a wild animal take them to a quiet place and calm them down. If necessary apply a cloth muzzle in case they bite you due to pain and shock. Then examine any wounds, clean them with water and dilute antiseptic solution, and, if necessary apply a bandage to protect the wound or control bleeding.
5. Watch out for insect bites and for any allergic reactions such as swelling at the bite location and especially if there is swelling of the snout or throat, in which case you will need to get to a vet urgently.
6. Stop your dog from eating wild plants as some may be toxic.
7. Practice ‘hiker’s etiquette’ by bagging your dog’s poo, keeping your dog under full control at all times and obeying any rules regarding dogs. Step off the path with your dog under control on a leash to avoid mountain bikers or allow other hikers with dogs to pass.
8. Avoid areas where accidents and injuries could happen like steep ground, cliffs, or rocky terrain where your dog may fall or may sprain or strain a ligament or tendon, or fracture a bone.
9. Stay on marked trails as much as possible to avoid getting lost. Also keep your dog constantly in sight if off leash and call them back to you regularly, rewarding them for obedience.