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Hiking with dogs is a fun activity for families with active pups. Many dogs love to explore new places while also getting all their energy out. According to Dr. Teresa Fossum, DVM: “”Embarking on a hiking adventure with your canine companion not only strengthens your bond but also offers both mental stimulation and physical exercise for your four-legged friend.””
However, if you’re new to hiking with your furry friend, there are some precautions you’ll want to take. We have some tips for hiking with dogs and a list of the best pet-related hiking essentials to get the most out of your trek with your pup. By getting some of these beneficial items, your canine companion will be safer and happier during hikes. However, avoid hiking with your dog if it’s extremely hot outside to prevent heatstroke.
Tips for Hiking with Dogs
There are often more risks involved on hikes than there are for normal walks, so here are a few safety tips.
- Pre-Hike Vet Checkup: Ensure your dog is healthy and up-to-date on vaccinations and preventatives against ticks, fleas, and other pests.
- Look for Dog-Friendly Trails: Select trails that are appropriate for dogs, taking into account the difficulty level and pet regulations.
- Pack Essentials: Carry sufficient water, a collapsible bowl, food, waste bags, and a basic canine first aid kit for emergencies.
- Use a Leash and Harness: Keep your dog on a leash for safety, and use a comfortable harness for better control and support.
- Check the Weather: Be prepared for the weather conditions, and consider protective gear like booties for rough terrains.
- Train and Socialize Your Dog: Make sure your dog is obedient, listens to commands, and is comfortable around other people and animals.
- Post-Hike Care: After the hike, check your dog for ticks and injuries. Then, clean them up and allow them time to rest and recover.
Safety should always come first when going on adventures with your dog. Follow these tips to ensure a successful hiking experience for both you and your pup. Remember, hiking isn’t beneficial for every dog, so you may need to find other activities for the two of you to enjoy if that’s the case.
Best Hiking Essentials for Dogs
Staying hydrated is essential for both humans and dogs on a hike, so the Springer Classic Dog Travel Water Bottle can help ensure your pup doesn’t get dehydrated. As seen on Shark Tank and Oprah’s Favorite Things, this water bottle has a dog bowl attached to the top so all you have to do is squeeze the bottle to fill it with water for your dog. When you stop squeezing it, the water will be released back into the bottle so you don’t have to waste any. It comes with a clip on the top so you can easily attach it to a bag or belt loop while on the go. Plus, it’s dishwasher-safe, making it easy to clean after a hike. It even offers some customization with four sizes and seven colors.
Every hike needs a high-quality dog leash. The Rover Gear Essential Dog Walking Leash is perfect for long hiking sessions because it’s durable enough to ensure that your dog doesn’t accidentally get loose. It uses a locking, swiveling carabiner to clip to your dog’s harness, which can withstand up to 880 pounds of force. Plus, it has two padded handles for a comfortable grip: one at the top and one close to your dog. The leash includes a D-ring to clip a poop bag holder to and a built-in spot to hold used poop bags. So, you can carry the essentials with you without keeping your hands full. This leash comes in either 4-feet or 6-feet and it works great when paired with Rover’s Better Walk No-Pull Dog Harness. Check out our full review of this leash here.
Dogs need water, especially while they’re active. So, the Prima Pets Collapsible Bowl is the perfect product to bring on hiking trips. Made with durable, non-toxic silicone, this travel bowl is designed to be both lightweight and compact. It collapses flat, making it exceptionally portable and easy to slip into a backpack or attach to a leash. Despite its portability, it expands to hold ample water or food to keep pets nourished and hydrated during walks, hikes, or travels. It has a small and a large size, both of which come in four color options.
ID tags are always good to have on your dog, but they’re especially important when hiking in places that are unfamiliar to your four-legged family member. The Red Dingo Stainless Steel ID Tags are great for active pups because of their durability. The robust stainless steel tags can hold up to six lines of text on the back, depending on which size you choose. Plus, the front has a charming paw print design that comes in 11 colors. With one of these tags on, your dog will be more likely to return to you if they escape their leash.
It’s always good to be prepared, even if the chances of your dog getting hurt are low. The Adventure Medical Kits Dog First Aid Kit has everything you need to help your dog during an emergency. It includes dressings, bandages, and other essential veterinary care supplies that can help your dog on a hike. Luckily, the kit is compact and has a handle to make it easy to bring along on hikes. With this kit, you can feel more at ease knowing you’ll be able to protect your dog if something goes wrong.
Dogs are likely to get muddy on hikes, so this portable towel can help you clean them up a bit before letting them back in the car. The Sweet Paws Portable Dog Towel comes in a compact case that can clip to your bag or your dog’s leash. It dries quickly, so it’s great for cleaning off your dog’s damp, muddy paws. Plus, the towel is machine-washable and the case is dishwasher-safe so you can effectively clean it after every adventure. It’s available in two sizes and several colors, and it comes in a three-pack if you suspect you’ll need portable towels often.
If you plan to hike on rough terrain, you should consider the Muttluks Trackers All-Season Dog Boots. Designed for optimal paw protection, these boots boast a robust construction that shields your dog’s paws from sharp rocks, hot pavement, snowy paths, and other harsh surfaces. The versatile all-season design ensures your pet’s comfort, providing warmth in cold weather and breathability during warmer months. With adjustable, secure fastenings, the boots are tailored to fit snugly, offering your pet superior comfort without slipping or chafing. There are ten unique sizes, so check the company’s sizing chart for the best fit.
Dogs can get sunburned just like humans can. So, the Petkin Doggy Sun Stick can help protect them. Whenever you’re worried about your dog getting sunburned, simply rub this stick anywhere your dog’s skin is exposed. It’s a gentle non-sticky and non-greasy formula that can effectively protect your dog’s nose, ears, muzzle, and any spots with thin fur. This product’s compact size makes it easy to bring along on hiking trips so you can reapply whenever needed.
If you have a small dog, they shouldn’t have to be left behind on long hikes. The Kurgo G-Train Dog Carrier Backpack is a fun and convenient way to hike with a dog that weighs under 25 pounds. The front mesh window rolls up so your dog can stick their head out as you walk. It also has several carrying handles and pockets to ensure you have everything you need while still being able to easily bring the carrier with you. The shoulder straps clip around you in two places to ensure the backpack doesn’t slide off while you’re being active. It’s a great bag to bring along if you have a dog that can’t walk far and needs to be carried for part of the journey.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Should I Pack for Hiking with My Dog?
When hiking with your dog, it’s essential to pack a few key items to ensure both your pet’s and your safety and comfort. Include ample water and a collapsible bowl to keep your dog hydrated, high-quality food or treats for nutrition, and a sturdy leash and harness for control and safety. Don’t forget to bring waste bags for clean-up, a basic first aid kit tailored for canine needs, and depending on the terrain and weather, protective gear like booties or a coat for your dog.
Do I Need to Use a Leash While Hiking with My Dog?
Using a leash while hiking with your dog is highly recommended for their safety, the safety of other hikers, and wildlife. A leash helps you control your dog, preventing them from wandering off, getting lost, or encountering hazards like steep terrains, wild animals, or toxic plants. Additionally, many trails have strict leash laws, requiring dogs to be on a leash at all times.
At What Age Can Puppies Go Hiking?
Puppies can generally start hiking once they’re fully vaccinated, which typically occurs around 16 weeks of age. However, the length and intensity of hikes should be tailored to the puppy’s age, breed, and energy levels. It’s essential to start with short, easy walks and gradually increase the distance and difficulty as the puppy grows and builds endurance, always monitoring their reactions to ensure they’re not overexerted.
Can Dogs Hike at National Parks?
Dogs can hike in some national parks, but there are often strict regulations and restrictions. Rules vary by park, with many allowing dogs only in specific areas, requiring them to be on a leash, and limiting access to certain trails. Dog parents must research the specific rules of the national park they plan to visit to ensure they comply with pet policies and restrictions.
How Far Can a Dog Hike?
The distance a dog can hike varies greatly depending on the dog’s breed, age, health, and fitness level. Some dogs can comfortably hike for many miles, while others may be best suited for shorter excursions. Owners should observe their dogs for signs of fatigue and always consider their specific needs and limitations when planning a hike.
What Dog Breed is Best for Hiking?
Dog breeds known for their endurance, energy, and adaptability often make the best hiking companions. Breeds like the Border Collie, Australian Shepherd, and Labrador Retriever are popular choices due to their athleticism, intelligence, and ease of training. However, the best dog for hiking can vary depending on the specific type of hiking and the individual dog’s temperament and health.
How Can I Find Hiking with Dogs Near Me?
Finding hiking trails that are dog-friendly in your vicinity can be done by using online resources like websites or mobile apps dedicated to hiking, outdoor activities, or pet services; simply input your location to find suitable trails nearby. Joining local pet owner or hiking groups on social media platforms or community boards can also provide personalized recommendations and experiences on dog-friendly hikes. Always check the specific regulations and reviews for each trail to confirm that dogs are permitted and welcomed.
If you love hiking with dogs, getting the best gear is essential for making sure your adventures are successful. Most dogs love exploring new places, but their safety should always be taken into consideration. So, make sure your dog’s health and behavior are suitable for long hikes before embarking on your next adventure. Also, don’t forget to check the weather to make sure it’s not too hot or too cold for your furry friend.