We’re sure your best friend would love to go on a dog hike. All dogs, even urban dogs, enjoy some fun in the sun and new adventures. Here are some great tips:
1. Check in advance to ensure the trail or park allows dogs
Not all trails or parks are dog friendly so definitely check in advance.
2. Make sure your dog can handle the exercise
Hiking is more strenuous than walking, especially since the terrain is uneven. Make sure your dog’s fitness matches the distance and level of hike you’re planning to take. Otherwise, you might end up carrying your dog half way through the hike.
Some factors you’ll want to consider is their age and overall health. Dogs that are in shape and over 40 lbs generally are well adapted for hiking. Smaller dogs can be good hikers too, but they do need to take a lot more steps to cover the same piece of ground, and they cannot stretch as far up or down a rock, so they may need a lift where a larger dog would not. If you’re not sure, start with an easy, flat hike that’s not too long.
3. Bring the right gear for your pooch
- Some trails require your dog to be on leash at all times and some even require your dog to wear a muzzle, so make sure to check in advance.
- Hopefully your dog is already using tick protection such as Advantix II, but you might want to also bring mosquito & tick spray made for dogs and a tick twister tool for tick removal.
- If you have a strong, fit dog and you want him to share the load and get him to wear a dog backpack.
- If the hike you’re considering does not have much shade and you have a dog that could easily sunburn, bring some sunscreen made for dogs.
- If your dog overheats, consider using a dog cooling vest.
- Remember to bring water not just for yourself, but also for your dog. Check out our recommended travel water bottles.
- We believe it’s also good to bring some treats for your dog. It’s a great way to get their attention and they might need some nourishment if it’s a strenuous hike – just as you would bring trail mix for yourself.
4. Follow Dog Hike Etiquette
- Clean up after your dog just as you would after yourself, using the Leave No Trace principles.
- Give dog-less hikers the right of way. When you meet others on the trail, put your dog on a leash.
- Do not allow your dog to disturb plants or wildlife.
- Keep your dog on the trail.