If you think of your furry pal as your sidekick, you’d naturally want to bring him anywhere, even on a hike. So, can you bring a canine companion on a trek at the Swiss Alps? Yes you can! This is especially if you’ve fulfilled the basic requirements of the Swiss government regarding dog ownership, and also taken note of these 5 tips.
Know the Local Laws and Canine Etiquette
Different cantons or villages have different pet guidelines, so make sure you know what those are before you go hiking. Dog ownership laws are quite exacting in Switzerland, although the country is pretty much pet-friendly, even more so than other nations. However, dogs are not allowed at the Swiss National Park as it is a wildlife protection area. Beware also of hunting areas during hunting season as it will be risky to keep your dog off leash.
Basically, dogs can travel by train for free, although the finer details vary by canton or train line. In some trains, dogs can ride for free while in a bag, while others are fine if you just have your pet settle on your lap (as long as the dog is of a small breed).
The same is the case with the matter of putting your pet on a lead or not. However, even if you’re trekking through an area where dogs can go about off leads, you will need to put your pet on the leash if someone you encounter on the trail asks you to do so. You may release your dog again once the person is out of sight, though.
As expected, you are also responsible for cleaning up after your pet’s poop. Also, you need to make sure your pal won’t chase or bark at other animals along the trail.
Do a Pre and Post-Hike Check
Always ensure that your dog is in good condition and disposed to the journey ahead before you start off. You should also check for any injuries, burrs, and pest infestation after your trek. During the hike, you should also take note of anything your pet smells, licks, eats, or chews.
Train Your Dog Beforehand
Like you, your pet also needs to ensure he is fit enough for the hike ahead. To ensure your furry friend is up for the adventure, simulate the journey beforehand. This will also help you anticipate your dog’s reactions and behavior on such an outdoor excursion and act accordingly. Practice getting him off and on the leash and also obeying basic commands.
Also, remember to gradually increase the length and duration of your hikes in the weeks leading up to the actual trek so that your dog can adequately adapt to the exertion. Don’t make him go 5 kilometers on the first try – start with a kilometer and then add more meters per week as you continue to train together.
Keep Your Furry Companion Healthy and Pest-Free
Bring along a first aid kit for your animal companion so you can address whatever emergencies he might encounter on the journey. Bring enough water and snacks or meals to tide him over enough to make the hike without getting hungry or agitated.
Further, before you leave for your Swiss Alps hike, give your dog the necessary medications to avoid pest infestation. You may have him vaccinated against certain diseases weeks in advance of the trip.
Consider the Weather and Trail Conditions
If it’s too hot out for your dog to hike with you, for example, consider changing your itinerary or postponing your trek for another day. You may need to bring additional gear or clothing for your dog depending on the weather.
To safely ensure your pet is up for the outdoor adventure up in the Swiss mountains, consult your vet before the trip.
Ever brought a furry friend with you on a hike? Tell us in the comments section!