Hiking is an excellent way to get exercise. You get fresh air. It’s not expensive. And there are beautiful sights to see. It makes sense you’d want to bring your dog along with you. A dog can be the perfect companion to join you on the trail. But, just like you wouldn’t hit the trails in your dress shoes, you want your pup to have the right preparation too.
Find out where dogs are welcome
Different parks or forests will have different rules. You don’t want to put your dog or other animals at risk. You also don’t want to tick off the other hikers. A good rule of thumb is to follow the National Parks B.A.R.K. rule.
- Bag your dog’s waste
- Always leash your pet
- Respect wildlife
- Know where you can go
Some parks will allow dogs on trails but not in buildings or other public areas. Knowing the rules ahead of time will prevent tense moments and guarantee a better trip for you and your dog. It only takes a few moments to find a National or State Park’s rules for pets.
Knowing your dog
Taking a young pup or an older dog may not always be the best idea. An older dog may not have the stamina to keep up with you and a younger dog may not be well-behaved enough to be around lots of other hikers.
Hiking in hot or cold weather can also impact your dog. They can’t always put on or take off an extra layer like you can. Your dog’s breed also makes a big difference here. A huskie may shrug off cold temperatures that would leave another pup shivering.
Keeping your dog safe on the trails
It may sound idyllic for your canine companion to drink from a running stream, but unknown water can carry high risks. Avoid parasites and bacteria by bringing enough water for you and your dog. Pack a bowl with the water and let your dog take breaks to hydrate just like you need to. Bringing a dog brush or comb is another excellent tool to have on hand to remove unwanted tangled items and critters.
Fleas and ticks are a substantial risk on some trails. Talk to your vet or clinic about preventative precautions you can take like special collars or medications. Make sure you examine your dog for ticks after a hike. Early removal of a tick significantly reduces the chance of illness. An after-hike bath can be an excellent way to check for ticks, remove burrs or leaves, and make sure they don’t bring the trail into your home.
Always be training
Just like being a parent, a dog owner’s job is never done. You want your dog to be well-behaved and obedient on the trail. Basic commands like come, leave it, drop it, and sit can come in handy when encountering other hikers or animals. This is another reason to have a well-socialized dog. It will help them stay calm when meeting new people or seeing new things.
Preparing for the hike
Is your pup a city dog? Do they have the stamina and tough paw pads to take on the trails? It can be a good idea to start them on shorter hikes to build stamina. If they’re mainly inside dogs, you also may want to check their paw pads. You don’t want them to have injured or sore pads when they come home from a hike.
Take the time to prepare and you could have the perfect hiking companion by your side. Here’s to happy hiking!
Can’t get out on the hiking trails? Try these other exercise options
- Exercising your dog when you’re stuck inside
- Fun ways to exercise your dog
- Ways to provide mental and physical stimulation
H2H Canine Orphanage
Home 2 Home is a non-profit canine orphanage revolutionizing the way dogs find their perfect homes. We consider ourselves an orphanage versus a traditional shelter because we provide needs-based care. We also have licensed trainers on staff, veterinary care, flowing water, and always-available beds. Their better life starts when we get them, but their best life is after they’re adopted to their forever home. Learn more about us and our story.