Top 10 Tips for Hiking With Your Dog
If you’re like us, and love to bring your dog on all your hikes and adventures. Be sure to read this blog to ensure your dogs safety on and off the trail. Here are the Top 10 safety tips for hiking with your dog.
If you want to take things up a notch consider tent camping with your dog to experience even more!
Hiking with a dog – Be Prepared
1. Make sure the trail is dog friendly
First and foremost, make sure whatever park, Forrest, etc., has dog friendly hiking trails. Some national parks don’t allow any dogs on the trails. Use websites such as BringFido to find dog friendly hiking trails. Hiking with a pitbull, or any dog can become overwhelming if you take the wrong trails and don’t know what you are in for.
2. Is the dog fit enough?
When planning out the hike with your dog, consider whether the trail is a good fit for your dog. If you have a small dog, a 10 mile hike is going to be really hard for that little guy compare to if you have a golden retriever who could easily do that hike. You know your dog best, so just keep in mind how many miles the hike is and how many your dog can do.
Our dog Hazel has lyme disease and bad knees, so we never take her on hikes longer than 4 miles. Even on some shorter hikes we end up having to carry her a couple times throughout just to give her legs a break. We’ve been considering getting her a K9 Sack so we can take her on longer hikes with us. It is a dog carrier that goes on your back like a backpack, it’s a great option if you have a tiny dog, or any dog in general who can’t do long hikes.
3. Pack the right supplies for a dog hike
This bowl is a MUST. It is so convenient and clips right onto your backpack. You will still need to pack water for your dog since this bowl doesn’t come with a bottle for water.I’ve found that a shaker bottle is great since most have the loop on the lid that you can just clip the water bowl too. You can use this bowl for giving your dog some food or treats along the way too!
If your dog will wear them… Waterproof dog boots are the best way to protect their paws during the hike. Some trails are filled with sharp rocks, mud, water, etc. These boots will keep your dogs feet dry and protected.
- Jacket for cold weather
If you plan on hiking in cold weather or the rain, it is always a good idea to make sure your dog has either a rain jacket, or a winter jacket. The one our dog Hazel is wearing in the photo below is a great option! It is reversible. One side is a sherpa with the water-repellant fabric on the inside, and when you reverse it, it’s a rain jacket with the sherpa side inwards to keep her warm.
↓Link Below ↓
4. Give the dogs enough calories for hiking
If you know you’re going on a long hike with your pup that day, make sure you feed them enough before you go and/or bring them some treats for the hike. These PowerBark Bars are the best, they are 100% complete, balanced, natural, and vegetarian dog food bar. They come in individually wrapped packages so you can put the bar with your other snacks for the hike and it won’t get all over the place. Keep in mind these are meant to be used as meal bars (for 30 lbs or smaller) , so just keep that in mind when figuring out how much of the bar to give your dog.
Traveling With a Pitbull our any other so called "aggressive" breed? Check out our blog on How to travel through BSL states safely.
During The Hike – Hiking with dogs
5. Always keep them leashed
I cannot stress this enough… KEEP YOUR DOG ON A LEASH! Not only for the safety of your dog, but for the safety of others and their dogs. You never know if another dog is aggressive, and if your off leash dog goes up to sniff that aggressive it could end badly. Not to mention you never know how your dog is gonna react when they see a deer or squirrel on the trail. Most parks require your dog to be on leash anyway, so don’t risk it.
6. Know your dogs hiking and mental ability
If you know your dog is aggressive towards bikes, horses, people, etc., try to avoid shared and crowded trails, the less stress on your pup the better.
7. Frequent Rest & Water Breaks
This is an obvious tip but it is the most important one. Just like we need water breaks and to take a breather, your furry friend needs those breaks too. Don’t be that dog owner who forgets water and makes their dog drink from the dirty creek or pond along the trail.
8. Flea & Tick prevention for dogs
Flea & Tick Prevention is a MUST, your pet is most likely already on an either a flea and tick supplement, or have the Seresto Collar. But if you’re looking for even more protection for your pet, make them a bug spray! Don’t use the horrible kind that you spray on yourself, i’ll give you a natural recipe for dog bug spray using essential oils. You can either spray this on their feet and legs before the hike, or spray a lot on their collar and let it soak for a few minutes before the hike.
In a spray bottle, add the following Essential Oils…
1 tsp of witch hazel 3 drops - Purification 3 drops - Eucalyptus 1 drop - Lemon grass 2 drops - Peppermint 2 drops - Pine
After The Hike – Dog Hiking Tips
9. Check for Ticks
Even though you’re using tick prevention, sometimes a tick or two will still end up crawling on your dog and its usually always the deer ticks. So just double check your pup when your done hiking to make sure he doesn’t have any on him. The photo below shows the most common places ticks like to hide.
10. Let Them Rest
After a long day of hiking, let your dog rest. Don’t try to do 2 hikes in a day or go for another walk later in the day. Unless your dog is super active then go for it, like I said before. You know your dog best, so just don’t push them.