Hiking with Dogs – Tips on Bringing your Dogs on a Hike

Posted by Eddie Salama on

The journey of life is sweeter when traveled with a dog -unknown

Want to go on a Hike with a dog? Worry no more, we’ve gathered the best tips for you!

Hiking is one of the things people love to do. For some people, going somewhere and being with nature naturally satisfies them. For some, it’s about being healthy and achieving goals. Moreover, people also like to go on a hike because it helps them think things over, shake off negativities and be whole again. Seemingly, a lot of people like adventures. Discovering the beauty of nature is a delectable idea.

Anyhow, humans these days doesn’t just do it alone. They have somebody with them to share a good memory. Research have found out that people nowadays are hiking with their dogs!

Most people say that dogs are the best companions on Hiking. Simply because they don’t complain about anything. In fact, they never show that they are already tired which makes us, their companions motivated in reaching the peak.


hiking with dogs


According to REI, there are 5 things to consider before hiking with dogs:

1. Pre-hike readiness: Consult with your vet, brush up on obedience training and trail etiquette, pick appropriate trails, and build up your dog’s stamina.

It is important for you to work out exactly when your dog will be ready. Here are the things to consider:

  • Visit the Vet: Ask your veterinarian some key questions before you and your dog head into a hike.
  • Know Your Trail Regulations: Always check on the regulations for the areas where you’ll be hiking with your dog.
  • Bone Up on Obedience Training and Trail Etiquette: You have to maintain control of your dog at all times. Step off the trail to yield the right of way to hikers, horses and bikes. And having your dog on a leash isn’t enough. You also need to be able to keep your dog calm as other people and pooches pass by.
  • Leave No Trace: On day hikes, always pack out filled poop bags. It’s also bad form to leave them by the trail for later pickup.
  • Start a Trail-Training Regimen: Ease into the routine of hiking. Start with hikes of an hour or so, then monitor the energy level afterwards. If your dog is still super active, increase the time for the next training hike. Your goal is to work up to the amount of trail time you plan to do on future day hikes or backpacking trips. This slow approach also helps toughen up citified paws.


hiking with dogs


2. The dog hiking pack: Fit it right, watch the weight and load it evenly.

It’s not the only gear your hiking buddy needs, but it truly separates going on a walk from going on a hike.

The dog pack must contain the following:

  • First-Aid Kit- A vet won’t be handy when you’re on the trail, so a doggie first-aid kit and the knowledge to use it are essential. Be sure to add special medicines your vet has given you to your kit. Another handy addition is old, clean wool socks that can be taped on as “bootie bandages” in a pinch.
  • Your Sleep System- This starts with the size of your tent—now “one-person larger” to accommodate your dog. A piece of closed-cell foam and a crib-size (down) comforter make an excellent backcountry doggie bed.


hiking with dogs


3. Other gear considerations: Your trail partner might also benefit from one or two other essentials, from a roomier tent to a special first-aid kit.

  • Water container: Hydration for your dog is best handled by fresh water carried by you. Some owners train dogs to drink as they pour from a bottle. A lightweight, collapsible dish also works.
  • Booties: They offer protection from sharp rocks, thorns and snow. It’s not uncommon, though, for a dog to lose a bootie. So if you choose booties rather than simply toughening up paws on training hikes, you need to pack spares. And you’ll still need to allot time for your dog to get used to wearing booties.
  • Dog towel: You need one dedicated “hiker towel” to wipe off muddy paws before your dog joins you inside the tent. Bring an extra towel, too, to dry fur if your dog jumps in a lake or is soaked in a downpour.
  • Nail clippers and file: Dog paws can wreak havoc on tent fabric, so it’s important to keep nails neat and trim.
  • Safety light: This seemingly urban-area accessory is a great way to help you keep tabs on your dog after sunset and during nighttime potty breaks.
  • Dog coat: Definitely bring one if your dog lacks thick fur and temps will be low.
  • Cooling collar: All dogs struggle to dissipate heat, so this soak-and-wrap accessory is worth every added ounce when the temps start to climb.


4. Food and water planning: This is especially important on backpacking trips, when your dog needs more fuel and is likely to be the one carrying it.

Being on the trail all day requires you to provide more food and water than your dog typically consumes.

Larger dogs might drink 0.5 to 1.0 ounces of water per pound per day. Dogs 20 pounds and lighter will be closer to 1.5 ounces per pound per day. These are general guidelines, though, so you need to be watchful and offer water often, especially on hot days. If the nose is dry, then you’re under-hydrating your dog.

The rule of thumb for feeding is that you need to start with the usual amount of food, then add one cup for every 20 pounds of dog weight.


hiking with dogs


5. Beware trail hazards: Think about water safety, as well as concerns about heat, creatures, plants and pathogens.

Your pooch is susceptible to most of the same dangers you are. More concerning, though, is that your dog won’t recognize many of them, nor be able to explain to you when something is going wrong. So be extra vigilant.


Sometimes, even if hikers think that they are all set to hike, things still come up on their way. To help you be more confident and hands down on hiking with your dog, here are 5 more tips from Petfinder when you and your dog are already on the trail:

  1. Keep your dog on a leash while hiking
  2. Steer clear of poison ivy, oak and sumac (look for leaves of three)
  3. Stay away from critters such as snakes, porcupines, bears, mountain lions and coyotes
  4. Allow time for frequent rest and water breaks, preferably in the shade
  5. After the hike, check for fleas and ticks


Being in nature takes me back to the core principles that life is made of! Dogs are the quickest way to connect to nature. – Tamar Geller

Solo backpacking with a dog is one of the best ways of having fun. While you’re away from the busy, social life, start building relationship with your dog. Clearly, it’s one of the ways of getting closer with him. Also, hiking with dogs can give you a lot of life lessons. It’s a must for people who are getting through tough times.

Hiking will never be the same without your friendly pets. Relax and enjoy having adventures while you still can. Have fun. Taking it off from the famous line, “You only live one”.


To read more interesting stuff about dogs, check out the following:

Why losing a Dog Hurts so Much

4 Faithful Stories of Unconditional Love

Heroic Dogs in History

Get Yorkified: The Ultimate Yorky Care Guide for Beginners

The 10 Smartest Dog Breeds

50 Dog Facts You Should Know


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