Taking your dog for a hike is a great way for both of you to get exercise, enjoy natural scenery, and have fun together. To ensure a safe, enjoyable experience, it’s important to be prepared before going on any trails.
Choose a dog-friendly trail
Review any dog-specific rules for the trail(s) you plan to hike. Some trails require things like keeping your dog on a leash at all times or keeping them off certain parts of the trail. To protect your dog and show courtesy to fellow hikers, abide by these trail rules.
Assess your dog’s health
Before hopping on a trail with your furry friend, make sure he’s up for the task. Just because a trail is dog-friendly doesn’t mean it’s safe for your pup.
Age: Puppies and senior dogs are more prone to injuries and heat exhaustion.
Size: Smaller dogs take longer to cover the same distance as medium to large-sized dogs.
Training level: Have you taken your dog on hiking trails before
Health conditions: Does your dog have any health conditions or breed-related hindrances that would adversely affect her ability to complete a trail hike safely?
Check the forecast
To avoid poor weather conditions while hiking with your dog, check the weather forecast before heading out on the trails. This will protect you and your dog from potentially dangerous weather conditions and keep you from taking a muddy dog home.
Pack the essentials
Check out our beginner’s guide to know what to bring the next time you hike with your dog.
Must-Have Dog Hiking Gear
Water and water bowl
Food and snacks
Updated ID tags
Dog first aid kit
Insulated or cooling outerwear
Leave no waste behind
Pick up after yourself and your dog. After hiking a trail, it should be as clean as, if not cleaner than how you found it. This includes properly disposing of any trash and dog waste along the way.