We receive a lot of inquiries about taking part in one of our events with a dog, so today’s blog post is not only for you, but also your furry sidekick 😉
Please note: While dogs are allowed in all our 2022 events, they must be kept on a leash the whole time, and some of our trails/parks/wildlife areas might have additional requirements to look out for. Please also note that we don’t provide any food for your pup, and you have to take care of your dog’s well-being the whole time - as well as that of other participants.
Doing MammothMarch with your beloved four-legged friend can be a lot more fun and motivating. In addition, exercise and fresh air are good for both humans and animals.
So, no wonder that we keep getting inquiries as to whether your dogs are allowed to accompany you. We believe that you know your animals best and that you can assess how well they can cope with long distances. Anyone owning a dog knows that taking the dog to such an event means responsibility. If you are still unsure whether attending MammothMarch with your four-legged friend is an option, the following questions may help you.
1. Is my dog trained enough?
What applies to us humans is not necessarily different with dogs: we usually have to prepare for MammothMarch. It is possible to start untrained, and some of you can manage the 20 or even 30 miles yourself without having hiked long distances before. However, it makes sense to get your body used to long distances. The same goes for your dog.
Remember: unlike you, he cannot communicate clearly when he is exhausted. And maybe he wouldn't. Shorter training distances are good for keeping a close eye on the dog. This is how you can learn to read and recognize the dog’s physical limits. Because this is your job, not his.
2. Is your dog physically ready?
Puppies shouldn't cover long distances. You need to wait until a young dog’s bones are fully developed. That might be at a year of age, plus or minus several months, depending on size and other factors. What's particularly dangerous is that young dogs tend to run until they drop - literally.
On the other hand, we shouldn't expect too much from older dogs either. Just like us, our dogs deteriorate physically over time and become weaker. Old dogs often suffer from osteoarthritis and need exercise - but in moderation and at a very moderate pace.
3. Which food can my dog tolerate?
Food is not only an important topic for us humans. Regular drinking breaks are just as important as enough food. Your dog consumes a lot of energy, which is why you should always have enough treats, dry food and the like with you.
Your dog must tolerate his food well – also or especially during physical exertion. Therefore, test beforehand what he can handle and do not make any experiments during the event.
4. Do I have a plan B?
If all else fails and your dog is no longer able to do it, you should have an emergency plan ready. Is there someone who can pick up your dog and take care of him until you reach the finish? If this is not the case for any reason, it means: if in doubt, get out yourself, and that would be a shame. Good organization is therefore half the battle.
Last but not least, we have a quick list of do’s and don’ts for you and your dog:
- Remember to keep the dog on a leash the whole time. Don’t assume that every hiker you meet on the trail likes dogs. Be sure to keep your dog well controlled so that other hikers don’t feel frightened or threatened.
- In the city, you might not worry about things like your dog drinking water in a lake or pond that an infected animal has contaminated with Leptospirosis or even giardia. Ask the vet about preventative measures for outdoor destinations. Pre-treat your dog with heartworm preventative medication as well as insecticides to prevent flea and tick infestation.
- Practice “Leave No Trace” ethics and clean up your dog’s waste. Dog waste contains fecal coliform bacteria, which can cause disease and pollution. Dogs can also carry salmonella and giardia.