Your dog can be one of your best hiking companions. They force you to keep a brisk pace, provide you with a willing partner in your endeavor, and also cause you to be more attentive to the weather and trail conditions (on their behalf).
Before you go
- Be sure that dogs are allowed on the trails you plan to hike. Check with the managing agency (NPS, State Parks, etc.).
- Make sure your dog is wearing tags which are up to date.
- Your dog should also be current on their vaccinations, and their toenails should be trimmed.
- Don’t feed your dog before a hike– feed them afterwards. It’s okay to bring along some treats, though.
On the Trail
- Bring along plenty of water for both you and your dog. Bring a bowl, too.
- If your dog has won a few obedience awards, maybe you can let them hike off lead– but I recommend always keeping your dog on a leash. Even if your dog is well-behaved, he might still frighten other hikers, especially children.
- Be sure to have a first-aid kit. Remeber that your dog is hiking bare-foot, and the pads of their feet is the most likely place for an injury.
- Before climbing back in the car after the hike, scan your pet for ticks. You’ll want to check them again after you get home for tick and flea infestations, as the hike exposes them to a much greater risk.
We have some great resources that can help your hikes with your dog go smoothly.
- Sierra Club: Hiking with your Dog
The Sierra Club points out that having your dog with you in the wilderness is a privilege, not a right. They provide some great advice on how you and your dog can leave nature bettter than you found it.
- Your Active Pet
YourActivePet.com specializes in adventure gear for your dog. They carry Life jackets, backpacks, boots, bowls, leashes, collars, and more.
- Dog Hiking at CyberCanine
More hints and tips for taking your pet outdoors.
- Dogs on the Trail
Hiking, camping, and traveling with your dogs. This is the companion website to a wonderful new book.