Are you planning to go hiking more this spring and summer? It’s a great activity you can do with your pet where both of you can get fresh air and exercise.
There are so many new smells and things to explore when hiking in the forest, so it provides some excellent stimulation for your dog. To get the most from your dog hike, you must be prepared. Here’s what you need to know to prepare for hiking with your dog this season.
Preparing for your hike
Before you take your dog on the trails, you should make sure you (and your dog) are prepared.
If you check out a new trail, look for reviews and user comments on that route. That will help you determine:
Is the hike appropriate for your pet?
For example, a Jack Russell is not likely to do well on a more rustic trail with large boulders and stream crossings. However, a golden retriever could easily walk across this type of terrain.
Does the trail allow dogs?
Not every trail is dog-friendly, so check to see if there are any restrictions.
Is it off-leash?
Some trails allow trained dogs to be off-leash. If so, make sure your pet is ok with other off-leash dogs coming by. Likewise, if it’s an off-leash trail and you’re uncomfortable taking your dog off-leash, know that it’s ok to stay leashed.
If this is your pet’s first time on a trail, be sure they have a good understanding of obedience training and reliable recall, especially if this will be an off-leash walk. It’s also helpful to start dogs on shorter hikes to ensure it’s an activity they are physically able to do and to build up their endurance.
As their human, you are also responsible for ensuring both you and your dog practice trail etiquette. This means:
- When possible, walk on the right side of the paths, allowing for faster hikers to pass on your left
- Leave no trace behind (pick up your garbage or dispose of it in approved garbage receptacles along the path)
- Pick up your pet’s doggy-doo and carry it back with you
- Ensure you and your dog stay on the trails
- Be sure your dog has a good recall and won’t chase animals or wildlife
Dog hiking packing list
When hiking with your pet, bring a small backpack with supplies. If you have a larger dog, you can buy your pet a special doggy backpack to carry food, water and supplies.
Here’s an essential dog hiking packing list:
- Water (for you and your pet)
- A small water dish or bowl (to feed treats and water)
- A small first aid kit
- Snacks for you and your dog
- Extra poop bags
- An emergency blanket
- A fully charged cell phone
- A bell on your shoes or bag to make noise to scare away animals
When choosing snacks, look for ones that don’t require refrigeration (or bring an ice pack) and ones that pack an energy punch. Protein bars and trail mix are great choices for you, and your pet may like some kibble for treats or Go! Solutions wet food recipes. These make for great hiking snacks because they come in easy on-the-go packages in pocket-sized cartons. The moisture content of wet food is much higher than kibble, making it a good option to help keep your dog hydrated.
Pocket-sized paks of solutions-based nutrition
Formulated to provide solutions for dogs’ unique dietary needs including picky eating, dandruff or dull coat, and food allergies or sensitivities.
View wet food recipes
Be sure to bring plenty of water for both of you to stay hydrated. You can buy collapsible water dishes to pour some of your water into a dish for your pet.
Also, let someone know where you will be hiking, your planned route, and when you plan to return. This is a good practice whenever you go for a hike, with or without your dog.
If you follow these dog hiking tips and basic hiking etiquette, you’ll both be ready for many new adventures out on the trails.