I’m new to the area, but I’ve been exploring as much as possible with my trusty hiking partner, Severus. I always take extra precautions to ensure his comfort and safety. Severus is a decent sized dog, weighing in at 60 Lbs and with the force to turn me into a kite. For this reason, I always walk him with a gentle lead, which stops him from pulling and keeps his attention on me during our walks. The reason this is important is because I wouldn’t want him to run after something and hurt himself or startle someone else. *I* know that he is just a goofball who can barely run straight without tripping into a barrel roll, but someone on the receiving end of his full-speed "PET ME!" run wouldn't know that. It's just better for everyone to keep dogs on leashes. I cannot stress enough how important this is- unless you are specifically in an off-leash area (like a dog park). Not only is it courteous, but it’s the law. Always be sure that you are only bringing your dog on hiking trails that specifically allow dogs.
Severus and I exploring Ballardini Ranch Trailhead.
Being in an elevated desert terrain, it is super important to keep your dog hydrated. I always recommend bringing water for your dog to drink. Severus will occasionally enjoy a drink in the river, but my usual rule is if I wouldn't drink it, he shouldn't, either. I hike with two 1L water bottles minimum, along with his collapsible water bowl. I bring myself a granola bar and fruit for energy and always ensure that I bring him a couple dog treats and carrots (his favorite!) as well. We take a break whenever one of us begins to slow down. It’s important to read your dog on hikes, they can get tired, dehydrated, or injured just as easily as you can.
Severus cooling off in the Truckee River. We found a calm section but, again, for his safety, he remained on leash.
Lastly, as a good doggy citizen, Severus always carries his dog bag dispensers to make sure that we leave no trace of him on our hikes. We love our clean hiking trails and we make sure to do our part to keep them that way. Finding poop on your trails is gross, do your part to avoid that by always bringing bags. Washoe County law expresses that if your dog leaves a mess, it is your responsibility to clean it up. With the proper preparation, your dog can be the most loyal hiking partner you’ll find.
If you would like more info about dog waste awareness, please visit our page dedicated to ridding this city of dog waste, one bag at a time!