Hiking with Dogs: Everything You Need to Know

It’s that time of year here in Arizona where the weather is perfect to go hiking just about whenever you feel like, so why not bring your pooch along with you? Hiking with dogs can be a great way to give your pet some exercise while also giving you both time in the wilderness to bond. Taking your dog out for a hike is a little different from just taking them on a regular walk though. In today’s blog we’re going to cover everything that you might need to need in order to plan your next big hike with your dog.

Can My Dog Go Hiking?

Despite what we might think, not all dogs are cut out for hiking. Puppies or older dogs may not have the needed stamina in order to keep up with you on the trail. Your pet’s health will also play a part in whether or not they are able to make the trek. The breed of your dog can also make a difference in their hiking capability as dogs with shorter muzzles often have less endurance and are more susceptible to the heat. It’s also important to remember that there will more than likely be others on the trail with you, so the level at which your pup is trained will be important to consider when taking them out in the wild.

Get the Gear

Hiker with a dog in his backpack

Just like hiking on your own there are things that you’ll want to make sure that you have with you when you take your pup out on the trails. You’ll want to have enough water in order to keep you and your dog hydrated. If you’ll be hiking for an extended period of time you may also want to bring food along to keep their energy levels up. Like going on a walk, you’ll want to make sure to have your dog’s leash and collar on them as well as enough poop bags to pick up anything they leave behind. You never totally know what the trail might be like so having a towel handy can be great to dry off or for a quick clean up. Some other helpful pieces of gear to look into for your hike can include:

  • Collapsable water and food bowls – A collapsable bowl will take up less space in your pack while also still giving you easy access to provide food and water to your dog as they need it.
  • Dog Backpack – Having a good dog pack can help to alleviate some of the things you have to pack in your own bag by allowing your pup to carry some of their own things. Evenly distribute the items and keep the weight down to a third of your dog’s weight and you’ll be good to go!
  • Dog Boots – We don’t often think that our pups need their own shoes for the outdoors but if you don’t often take hikes in the wilderness their paws may not be adapted to the rocks or rough terrain. A pair of dog boots can help to add an extra layer of protection as well as offer better traction to their paws.
  • First Aid Kit – You can never be too prepared for what might happen on the trail. In case of emergencies you’ll want to have a first aid kit ready to treat your pup when they need it. Pet first aid kits can often be bought at local pet stores or you can always make your own.

Tips for the Trail

  • When choosing a trail make sure to pick one that is right for you and your pooch. Anytime you plan on taking your dog somewhere, make sure that it is a place that they are allowed. Learn the rules of the area where you will be taking your pet and figure out what the terrain will be like to make sure it is appropriate for them. This kind of  information can often be found online.
  • Always make sure that your pup is under control and within your reach. This is to help protect them as well as other hikers. Keeping your dog on a leash will help to keep them from chasing wildlife, drinking water that may not be clean, getting into poisonous plants or interacting with other hikers that may not want your pet’s attention.
  • Hiking with dogs can often be a fun and exciting experience but it is still important to make sure that you are taking plenty of breaks. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced hiker, overexertion is one of the biggest problems that comes up on the trails. Drink plenty of water and rest regularly to help prevent you and your furry friend from getting too tired.

One more thing you’ll want to make sure you do before hiking with dogs, is to make sure they are up-to-date on their vaccinations and healthy for the trek. Schedule an appointment with us today to get your pup vaccinated and find out other ways to keep them safe on the trails.

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