If you were in Michigan, hopefully you enjoyed that first taste of spring this past weekend!

As the weather breaks and the world thaws, and you begin to take your exercise outside, you may feel inclined to bring your pup along — and you should!

Hiking is a very good way for both you and your pet to get mental and physical stimulation, as well as bond with each other, but there are a few safety precautions that come with hiking with a pet that you should know.

The first thing to make sure of during the hike is that you’re not pushing your dog too far. Constantly keep an eye on their behavior and energy levels – if they’re consistently panting, wanting to lie down, or whining, it may be a sign they can’t make it much further and really need to rest.

Don’t let your dog disappear out of your sight on the trail. Even if you know you’re the only one out there and that it’s safe, you never know what creatures or hazards your dog might run into, it they might simply just get lost.

Always make sure that you bring a leash, no matter how well-trained your dog is. You never know if there will be another dog or some situation where you need to have close hold of your dog, so having a leash – even if they’re not going to initially wear it – is smart.

For any hike, no matter the distance, always bring fresh water for your dog to drink. A small amount of food is a smart idea too, especially if you’re hiking a longer distance, but regardless of the distance, water must be provided, even if you aren’t bringing any for yourself. Dogs can get dehydrated pretty fast, especially if the temperatures are high and their coats are excessively long.

Before you bring your dog along for a strenuous hike, consider how much exercise they do on the daily. If they are overweight and barely run around the yard, you probably should start off small and slow. You don’t want to risk overexerting your dog and hurting them, so if you’re unsure of whether your pet is fit to come along, it wouldn’t hurt to get them evaluated by the vet.

As always, don’t hesitate to reach out to your friends at Premier Pet Supply for all your pet-related questions!