Hiking with dogs is an excellent way for you both to enjoy the great outdoors. A walk lets you enjoy some fresh air, exercise, and is a great chance to explore new places. But before you go hiking, you should think about what is necessary for your pet and figure out what to bring hiking with your dog. We've put together some tips for hiking with your dog.
- First, find a dog-friendly hike and ensure that dogs are allowed.
- Keeping your dog on a leash also helps to ensure its safety, since the leash keeps them contained and by your side.
- Think ahead about your dog's needs on the hike. Don’t forget to pack food, water, and accessories that will keep your dog energized and comfortable.
- Practice the Leave No Trace ethic and clean up your dog's waste. Either take a small shovel with you and bury the rubbish or pack it in plastic bags.
The Best Dog Hiking Gear
To have the best experience, you should pack your dog’s hiking gear just as thoroughly as your own. The best hikes are ones where your dog has plenty of water to rehydrate; can explore with a durable, comfortable leash; and where you're prepared to handle everything from their waste cleanup to sudden emergencies.
On shorter hikes, it's a good idea to bring packable essentials that'll fit in your day pack. On multi-day hikes, let your dog carry their gear hiking and food. With the right gear, there's no better day outside than one where your dog comes back happy and safe. Here's a list of the best dog hiking gear:
- Hands-free leash to keep the dog close
- A backpack for the dog with food and supplies
- A first-aid kit for common mishaps
- A lightweight, collapsible dog bowl
- Doggie sunscreen
- An airtight waste container
- A dog collar with GPS tracking
- A sturdy, comfortable harness made for active dogs.
- A dog bandana to keep bugs, sun and dirt off and to easily spot your dog.
This is a basic set of hiking equipment for dogs.
Dog Hiking Essentials
When you go hiking with your dog, the things you bring with you will vary depending on the breed of dog and the length of time you are on the trip. But before you go on the trip, we recommend studying the list of essentials for dogs on a hike.
- Basic first aid kit
- Doggy backpack (for longer hikes)
- Dog food and trail treats
- Water and water bowl
- Equipment - leash and collar, or harness
- Dog-friendly insect repellent
- ID tags
- Dog booties
- Poop bags and trowel
- Favorite toy
- Nutrition (extra food)
Remember that dog gear for hiking is just as important as yours! Keep an eye on your dog at all times and don’t forget these essentials for hiking with your dog!
What Dog is Best For Hiking?
Many dog breeds have been bred for long hours of work outdoors during any weather conditions, and these breeds are the best choices for those looking for very active companions. These active dog breeds should be considered if you are looking for the perfect hiking partner. No matter what breed is your pup, however, always remember to pack proper hiking gear for both you and your dog.
- German Shorthaired Pointer
- Australian Cattle Dog
- Bernese Mountain Dog
- Rhodesian Ridgeback
- Alaskan Malamute
- Portuguese Water Do
Any dog can go camping, all depends on the level of its training and personality. If your dog is used to walking for several hours every day, then a short hike will be feasible for them. The level of difficulty of your hike also matters - time, terrain, weather, and time of year. A 2-3 hour hike will not be difficult for most dogs.
How Do I Prepare My Dog For a Long Walk?
Dogs who have been lounging around on the couch will need to build endurance for those longer adventures. If you usually walk for a short time, then start adding time to the walk every day, for example, every day for 15 minutes. The time will depend on your endurance goals.
Protect against critters and other dangers. It is important to ensure that your dog is up to date on vaccinations and heartworm, flea, and tick prevention.
If your dog has very light skin or thin fur, you should purchase sunscreen made specifically for dogs.
And make sure your dog doesn't get heatstroke. Many dogs will keep running until exhausted, so it's important to know what to look out for and what to do if your dog overheats. Ensure your dog has enough water, take breaks if needed, and try to find shade along the trail. This will help prevent heat stroke.
How Do I Protect My Dog’s Paws When Hiking?
Trimming your dog's nails can help prevent injury. Nails can crack and get stuck on objects, which can lead to injury to the paws while hiking. If your dog hates getting his nails trimmed, gradually get used to it and give him something tasty to eat after that.
If your dog has sensitive paw pads, or you want to make sure their paws are protected on hikes, grab some paw protection wax or invest in some dog booties!
Paw wax protects the feet of your dog. Special cream for protecting the paw does an amazing job of creating a hydrophobic barrier between the paw and anything else that your dog may walk through. It works just like an invisible boot for your dog’s sensitive paws!
Dog booties are socks or shoes for dogs used to protect their paws against everything from hot pavement, rough surfaces, and glass, to snow, salt, and freezing temperatures. Special dog boots for hiking have trail-ready build and performance designed specifically with your trail dog’s paws in mind. They are cinching around the narrowest part of the dog’s leg to provide a secure fit. We recommend checking the closure system, and adjusting the fit needed 15 minutes into your activity and throughout the adventure!