I knew bringing a dog into my life would be a big commitment. What I didn’t realize was just how big of a difference she would make. Walking Luna, my Cockapoo, is now one of my favorite pastimes, whether it’s to the local park or up Welsh mountains like Mount Snowdon.
When you decide to hike the second biggest mountain in the UK, you have the right to be a little apprehensive. But I’m glad I followed through with it because it is one of the best experiences I’ve had with Luna so far.
Join me as I share my experience and some tips on hiking with dogs.
Start as early as possible
Although I don’t consider myself to be a lazy person, I do like to take things easy on the weekend. Which was why I couldn’t believe I got up as early as I did to take on Snowdon with Luna. We left the house just before 4 am, which was great as it meant Luna slept in the car on the way there. Our reward for our early start was a bit of time to enjoy Snowdon with only a small number of other people and animals there.
Choose your path wisely
It is important to choose the path you take wisely. Research on trail regulations and hazards (dangerous wildlife, plants etc.) and take in consideration your dog’s age, fitness level, and experience.
Also remember, your dog should be the pacemaker. I resisted the temptation of taking the quicker, but steeper and harder route and opted for the gentler albeit longer alternative. This was a wise decision as the gradient was not only gentler; we were able to enjoy the sights and sounds better.
Pack the right supplies
I have found that it’s hard to decide what to take and what not to take on a hike. You don’t want to be weighed down by too much stuff, but on the other hand, you don’t want to be stuck halfway up a mountain in Wales without the essentials.
I purchased a winter coat for Luna. Even though she didn’t get to wear it, it gave me peace of mind knowing we had it in case the weather decided to turn. I made sure I packed a lot of doggy snacks, which Luna gratefully gobbled them up whenever we stopped, plenty of water, and a practical collapsible bowl to fill her water in. I also invested in a new leash that’s longer and more durable. I’m happy I did and would never attempt another mountain with Luna without it.
Other things you may want to bring:
- Poop bags
- Dog boots to offer protection from sharp objects and snow (make sure your dog is comfortable wearing them before the hike)
- A special first aid kit for your dog, which can include antiseptic, saline, and bandages
- Towel and car seat cover or hammock – your dog is likely to be quite dirty by the end of the hike
- Dog pack if you want to share some load with your dog
Take lots of breaks
One of the most important lessons I learned from doing this with Luna was that hiking with dogs is not a race, but a journey. The path we took, the Llanberis Path, had numerous places we could stop. It is important to take time to pause, not only to rest but to take the time to enjoy the view.
Follow the trail regulations, pick up after your dog, and respect your surroundings. Hiking up a popular mountain like Snowdon means you would come across a lot of people and dogs. Mostly, they would be in good spirits and happy to see you and your dog. But there would also be some people who don’t want to stop or don’t like animals. You need to show them respect and give them the courtesy of keeping your dog on a tight and short leash.