Hiking With Your Pooch!

Hiking With Your Pooch!

By Kate Simmons, Community Relations Coordinator & Kristen Bieret, Naturalist – Pottawattamie County Conservation
Dog lovers everywhere will all agree there is nothing like hitting the trails with our canine friends.  Did you know that dogs are welcome on the trails at Hitchcock Nature Center, Botna Bend Park, and Arrowhead Park here in Pottawattamie County!! We have hiking trails that you and your pup are sure to love.
Dogs on a leashBefore hitting the trails with your dog by your side we do have two rules we do ask you to follow here at the parks.
1. Please leash your dog – There is a lot of wildlife at all of our parks and wildlife means a lot to smell when you are a dog. Even the best trained dog can become distracted and disappear into the underbrush. That can lead to a dangerous situation, especially here at Hitchcock Nature Center where the terrain is rough and inaccessible in places making retrieving your dog difficult.  Also, as public parks and trails are open to folks of all kinds, some may not appreciate your pet the way you do and that’s ok. Leashing your dog is just one way to keep everyone, including your pet, safe.
2. Please remove your pet’s waste. No one enjoys stepping directly into a pile of dog doo so please make sure and tidy up after your pooch. You have two options, you can bring along your own removal bags and discard them at the end of your hike in the trash can – please do not leave the used bags along the trail! You can also move the excrement off of the trail, well away from the path of foot traffic, burying it is also an option.
Planning a hiking trip with your canine friend takes a little bit of extra planning. Here is a handy checklist of items to bring with you as you head out the door with your pup.
  1. Leash and/or harness
  2. Plastic bags for waste removal
  3. Extra water & a small container or collapsible bowl for drinking out of
  4. Towel or rags to clean up muddy paws
I also bring dog treats and a small amount of dog food in my hiking pack. If you like a snack on the trail the odds are that your dog would also appreciate one and treats can come in handy if your friend slips his leash and needs enticement to return.  If you have a long haired dog you may want to bring a small comb or scissors to help remove cockle-burrs and other debris that may get tangled in their fur. That comb has been a life saver when hiking with my husky mix.
Kristen Bieret, Pottawattamie County Conservation Naturalist & dog mom created this handy infographic to help you as you plan to hit the trails with your four legged friends.
Hiking with your dog 101
Happy trails everyone!

Dogs after a hike