Happy Dog1

What could be better than hitting the trail with your dog?  Dogs love to get outside, go on walks, exercise and explore just as much as we do so they make an ideal hiking companion.  But, hike difficulty and trail type can vary significantly so it is important to prepare ahead of time and take extra precaution when hiking with your dog to ensure your safety and the safety of your dog.  Additionally, consider the health and endurance of your dog before taking them on any hikes.  Below are 5 tips for hiking with your dog so that you both can have a fun and safe adventure.

5 Tips for Hiking with Your Dog

  1. Food
    • Just like you might pack a granola bar, trail mix, or a banana to give you fuel and nourishment during your hike, your dog needs food as well. How much you need will depend on the difficulty of the hike and how long you intend to be on the trail but bring a few snacks and treats for your dog for shorter, easier hikes and a small meal for your dog if you plan to be on the trail for a few hours.
  2. Water
    • One of the most important things you can bring for yourself and your dog when hiking is water. Always bring clean, cool water because hiking is a strenuous activity and requires hydration.  Again, how much you need will depend on the length and difficulty of the hike but it never hurts to bring extra just in case.  Also, don’t forget to bring a bowl for your dog so they can easily consume their water.  Bring a small bowl from home or pick up a portable collapsible bowl for your dog from the pet store that is specifically designed for travel.
  3. First Aid
    • Always bring a first aid kit for you and your dog on a hike. You never know if you will scrape yourself on a branch or take a tumble and get a laceration.  The same goes for your dog.  If your dog gets an injury you can help them stay safe, calm, and feel their best with a dog first aid kit.
  4. Protective Wear
    • If your dog has delicate paws or the elements are particularly rough, you may want to put protective paw-wear on your dog’s feet. Yes, there are even hiking shoes designed specifically for your dog.  There are also cooling vests that dogs can wear.  And, consider throwing in a portable dog bed in case your dog needs to take a rest.
  5. Leash & Collar
    • While some dogs love to stick close to you, you just never know what a dog might do on a hike. You may encounter other people or other animals and critters and that could potentially spook your dog.  It is important to have a collar on your dog in case they run off and, even better, keep them on a leash so you can ensure they stay close to you.  Bring an extendable leash if you like to give your dog some wandering room.