For many, one of the great joys of having a dog in your life is their, well, portability. They not only are easy to take everywhere (for the most part and we know not all dogs are the same) but they also tend to love being included in all the activities from the mundane to the special. And there’s nothing that most of them love more than leaving the house with their human companion(s). If you dream of taking your furry friend with you on trails, there are some things to know before you go hiking with your dog.

things to know before you go hiking with your dog

Before hiking with your dog

First things first: visit your vet.

Make sure your dog is fit enough for whatever trail and hiking you have in mind. Also, check to see if they need any additional vaccines or preventative medicines.

Know the trail regulations.

Don’t just assume, for example, that dogs are allowed. You might also have to keep your dog on a leash on some trails. Go here to find dog friendly trails and areas for exploration.

How is your dog’s obedience?

Is your dog already trained or do they need to go through a training review? Remember, if you use Sundance Retrievers training, you’ll be ready!

Dog hiking essentials

Besides making sure you have enough food and water (or access to clean water) for your dog, depending on the intensity of your hike, you might want to consider the following:

  • a first aid kit specific to your dog
  • a pack for your dog to wear (and fitting it properly is important)
  • doggie booties
  • a towel or two
  • a doggie coat in case the weather changes for the colder
  • a doggie cooling collar in case it gets hotter than anticipated
  • and of course poop bags (leave no trace applies to your fur friend too!)

Finally, make sure you assess all possible trail hazards

Investigate the possibility of wildlife, poisonous plants, and water pathogens in the area.

During the hike

Remember that your dog is not you

If you are an experienced and physically fit hiker, your dog is not necessarily able to keep up with you. Consider your pacing and consider how long you hike in one go. Take breaks to hydrate, give your dog a treat, and just give them some pets and attention for the good job they’re doing.

Be aware of trail etiquette

Just because dogs are allowed on the trail or in the park, doesn’t mean everyone is friendly to that fact. Be sure to move off of the trail to let other humans pass you by. And don’t assume other dogs are as well behaved as your own.

Some hiking experts suggest that you keep your dog to human ratio at one to one to ensure everyone’s safety.

After hiking with your dog

Check them over

Thoroughly. We all know the prevalence and danger of ticks and the importance of finding them and removing them. Remember that they are usually found around the head and neck, and if you don’t know how to remove them correctly, go here.

Provide some special care

Your dog didn’t voluntarily sign up for that hike ((ha)) so they deserve some extra care after, don’t you think? If they’re muddy, get them groomed, and maybe get them a pup massage.

They might be extra tired for a couple of days so maybe lighten up on their walks!