Tips for Hiking with Your Dog
Hiking with dogs can be a great way to bond with your furry friend while getting some fresh air and exercise. However, it’s important to be prepared before hitting the trail. Here are some tips to make your hike with your dog safe and enjoyable:
- Choose a hiking trail that is appropriate for your dog’s fitness level. If unsure, start with an easy trail and work your way up.
- Bring plenty of water for you and your dog, and take frequent breaks to drink and rest. Dog drink and dog food are musts for long walks.
- Make sure your dog wears a collar with ID tags in case they get lost. If a park ranger finds your dog with a tag attached, they will contact you to get you back to your pet.
- Pack some snacks for yourself and some high-energy treats for your dog in case they need a pick-me-up.
- Be prepared for weather changes and pack accordingly. If it’s going to be hot, bring extra water and a cooling coat or mat for your dog.
- Be aware of your dog’s body language and watch for signs of fatigue or heat stroke, such as excessive panting or drooling, lethargy, or muscle weakness. If your dog shows these signs, find a shady spot and give them a break from hiking.
Why is hiking different with a dog?
When camping or traveling, you should never leave your dog alone.
Be aware that even though your dog may be good with other dogs, they might act out in unexpected ways. You must ensure your dog is safe while playing in the pet area or at the dog park.
Two mouths instead of one
Before you and your canine friend embark on outdoor adventures, remember that you need enough food and water for your dog. Dog owners know best what their dog does and doesn’t like, so it’s up to you what goes into your dog pack.
Stay safe when hiking with your dog!
Supplies that work for you might not work for your dog. We recommend a specialized dog first-aid kit to keep your pup safe. These first aid kits are best kept small and easy to pack, in order to keep your load light on the trail.
What are the considerations for hiking with dogs?
Knowing what the conditions outside will be is critical before you and your pup hit the trail. Check the forecast and take other preventative measures in order to prevent being stuck outside in poor conditions.
Many hiking trails have a set of trail rules while you enjoy nature. Here are some handy tips to make sure you keep the trails in good shape:
- A leashed dog is a safe dog: keeping your dog on a short leash is a great idea to ensure its safety and the safety of other wild animals.
- Dispose of your pet waste. Nobody wants to stumble across (or into) your pet’s waste during outdoor adventures, so pack dog poop bags before you leave.
- Recall training is critical for the safety of your pup. An off-leash dog may run off while hiking, so making sure they’ll come back if you call is a great idea.
- If you’re camping, make sure the campground at which you’re staying is dog friendly. Not all areas allow your hiking buddy to stay with you, so do your research. Some areas will make exceptions as long as the dog’s waste is taken care of.
Respect wildlife, and educate yourself before heading out. Many national parks are home to plants that might cause an allergic reaction, so check in with your vet if you have any concerns.
A wild animal can be dangerous for pets, especially small dogs. When traversing bear country, it’s a good idea to bring spray or bear bells to keep your pup safe.
You should keep your dog on a short leash to prevent them from running off to a spot where you can’t see them.
Keeping an eye out for dangerous conditions can make an enormous difference when walking off-trail. Here are some of the top hazards to keep an eye out for.
- Sharp rocks: these can be hard to see and can lead to paw injuries and sprained ankles. Keep a keen eye when traveling on rough terrain or on challenging hikes. Pack antibiotic ointment in case your pup winds up with paw pad injuries.
- Ticks: ticks are mainly dangerous when they carry Lyme disease, which can make your dog very sick. Experienced dog owners bring their dogs to the vet to check in on their immune systems, preventing dangerous diseases.
- Other hikers: while other people might not be especially dangerous, a dog that’s easily excited can be riled up quickly outdoors. Keep your dog close, and maintain around six feet from other hikers with dogs. On paved trails, move to the other side of the path and manage your leash to ensure both parties have their own space.
- When you’re out enjoying nature, it’s always best to remember that you’re not alone. Plants like poison ivy and poison oak can irritate your dog’s paw pads, making walking a painful experience.
How long is too long for a dog to hike?
Everyone loves a long walk with their dog, especially in beautiful state parks or on gorgeous trails. However, you need to keep your pet’s capabilities in mind.
However, you need to keep your pet’s capabilities in mind.
Larger dogs may keep up for longer treks, while short walks might be best if your canine companion has shorter legs.
It’s best to start short and work your way up to longer walks instead of going all-in, as tempting as it may be.
If you’re going on a camping trip over a couple of days, ensure your dog gets plenty of rest at night so they’re recharged for the next day of adventure.
Is it safe to take my dog hiking?
When hiking with your dog, there are a few things you can do to keep them safe. First, make sure they are adequately hydrated by bringing plenty of water for them to drink.
Learn to love the shade
Next, monitor them for heat exhaustion, including heavy panting and lethargy. If you see any of these signs, find a shady spot for them to rest and cool down.
Be aware of your surroundings and keep your dog on a leash to avoid hazards like cliff edges or wildlife. By following these simple tips, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable hike for you and your furry friend!
Pack your own gear
Hiking equipment like food, water, a first aid kit, and other essential gear can make the experience much better for you and your hiking companion.
Dogs with pack training can help to ease some of the heavy load, allowing your hiking trip to go by much more smoothly. Depending on your dog’s body weight, they might carry more than you think. However, not all dogs fit into every harness. Here’s our pick!
For longer camping adventures, bringing supplies like nail clippers can make hitting the trails much more manageable.
Fun outdoor ideas with your dog
- Have a picnic! Spread out a blanket and enjoy a meal in the company of your furry friend.
- Go swimming! If you have a pool, lake, or ocean nearby, take advantage of it and go for a swim. Your dog will love it, and you’ll get some refreshing exercise too.
- Play fetch! This classic game is a great way to bond with your dog and get them some exercise.
- Go for a run! If you’re both feeling energetic, go for a run together. It’s a great way to get some fresh air and spend some quality time with your furry friend.
About K9 Conquest
K9 Conquest is your source for ideas, tips, and products to make your outdoor adventures with your dog safer, more fun, and more effortless. Subscribe to our newsletter to get more tips as we write about these ideas.