Hiking with a dog is beneficial to both you and your pet besides; your canine companion will enjoy the hike no matter how many times he’s been on the trail. Dogs have excellent instincts and can warn you of incoming danger such as predators or a storm.

Although the dog is a man’s best friend and hiking with him can be exciting, not all pooches are well behaved for hiking. Sometimes, even obedient dogs could act out of line because of instincts; for instance, your pooch might chase after a hare even if he is trained to obey your commands. Dogs love adventure, and they act without thinking, and sometimes they might bring you a dead bird or squirrel or even a predator on their heels. You should have your hound on restraint at all times to prevent accidents and unnecessary confrontations with wild animals.

Preparing for the Hike

Your furry companion can be an excellent camping partner but only with the appropriate preparation. You have to ensure that your canine is all set to endure the mountain trail by preparing him. The following tips will help you to plan for the trip.

What Dogs are Suitable for a Hike?

As a pet owner, you should know that not all pooches are suited to scaling the rugged trails up the mountain.  Although your pet might try his best to please and keep up with you, it doesn’t indicate he can proceed for the hike. We have gathered essential items and details that you ought to consider before the hike.

  • Consider the Age

If your pet is still young, he might lack the vigor to navigate across the terrain with you. Older canines might lack the stamina to keep up with you, and their body defenses are weak, which means that they are susceptible to infections.

  • Health

The reason why you need to evaluate the health of your dog is that a sick pooch is not in any condition to be out enduring a tough exercise. Besides the temperatures might be unbearable for the dog which might worsen the condition.

  • Breed

Short-muzzled species such as boxers and pugs shouldn’t be taken on hikes because too much heat affects them, and they cannot endure the tough mountain terrain. This is because their short snouts and narrow nose are not convenient for hikes or tough exercises. They are at a higher risk of suffering from heat strokes, get tired quickly, or even be unable to finish the hike.

  • Training

You shouldn’t go camping with your canine if he is untrained or if he ignores your commands.  A dog like this does not only pose as a risk to himself but to others, and wild animals.

  • Consult a Specialist

The veterinarian will tell you if your pet is set for the hike by giving him the right vaccination and advising you on action to take. He will enlighten you on the manner to respond in case a snake bites the canine, and aquatic bugs, and microorganisms such as lice. Although camping with the canine can be exciting, it is advisable to microchip him because he can easily get lost.

Although the canine might be accustomed to camping with you, it is vital to consider the topography; is it smooth, hilly, wet, or uneven? Is the weather warm or chilly?  These will help you to worry less about questions such as when camping with a dog where does he sleep?

Dog-Friendly Hiking Trails near Me

When you are sure that the pooch is ready for the activity, the next step is to pick a hiking track. Majority of the hiking trails have rules about dogs that should be followed by all owners. For instance, some require you to have your canine friend on a restraint at always while others don’t permit pooches. Do your investigation ahead of the hike to get familiar with the guidelines of the camping area or trail. You can as well use online resources and apps to search for “dog-friendly hiking trails near me.”

Practice before the Real Hike

Once you decide which trail to take, you can start preparing your furry companion for the terrain by taking short camping trips and hikes. For instance, if you plan on hiking the long trail with a dog, you ought to prepare him for this long hike by starting with effortless walks.

Monitor the pooch’s response at every stage and continue increasing the difficulty of the hike if he still shows stamina at the end of the first break. Remember to check your canine’s ears for foreign objects, dirt, and infections. Being outdoors exposes your hound to these elements, that is why it is vital to use a good dog ear cleaner afterwards, so that your canine friend can hear as best as doggedly possible.

Train the Dog on Basic rules of the Trail

Although your hound is conditioned and obedient, he still needs to learn the expected behavior on the trail. Below are some of the techniques you can use to ensure that your pet follows the hiking track guidelines.

  • Concentrate on Your Pooch

Hiking with a dog is exciting for you and the animal, but when taking a trail, ensure that you can see and hear him at all times. Follow the guidelines of the trail, for instance, keep your pooch on a restraint if you are required to; this prevents him from disturbing other campers and hikers.

  • Consider other Hikers

Make room for others and ensure your dog does the same, especially where there are lots of hikers. For instance, when hiking the Appalachian Trail with a dog, you could let others know that your pet is friendly.

You don’t need to ask questions like; “will my dog protect me?” because you won’t encounter any dangerous animals unless your dog wanders far off. You ought to prevent your canine friend from tampering with the plants or splashing in the ponds. Pathogens and toxic plants are dangerous, especially since you will be far from the veterinarian’s office.

  • Clean After Your Pooch

Carry several bags for collecting your canine’s poop. It sounds strange that you have to scoop your canine’s poop even in the forest. All animals communicate through scent, and the canine’s poop can disrupt other creatures’ territorial boundaries. In case you plan to camp through the night, you can pack shovels to bury the matter. Remember to choose a site away from the rivers, footpaths, and camps.

Accessories and Gear for Hiking with Dog

The difference between going for a walk and going on a hike is the preparation and the gear needed. Hiking with a dog might take you on a long an unfamiliar terrain that is why you need to carry the correct gear. The following list contains some of the essential items you need for the experience.

  • First-Aid Kit

The first-aid kit should be among the first items that come to your mind when you decide to go hiking with the dog. You can attend to the canine in case of injuries because you can’t access a vet on your journey.

  • Sleeping Essentials

When camping with a dog where does he sleep? As a pet owner, you might want to protect your pooch from the elements, but you don’t have to buy a sleeping bag for the animal unless you camp occasionally. A comforter or a cozy blanket is enough and comfortable for the canine.

  • Dog Hiking Boots

When packing your hiking shoes, remember to include dog hiking boots for your canine. These booties are essential because they protect the animal from thorns, sharp rocks, snow, and other debris such as broken glass and bones. Remember to pack extra boots because losing a boot is common for many dogs. You can also bring salve for sore paws.

  • Dog Pack

You don’t have to carry your entire dog’s gear; your canine companion can help you. Ensure that the dog pack fits well and both sides balance and that the dog harness doesn’t chafe. When you both carry your items, the hike will be much faster, and you can go rest high on that mountain afterward.

  • Dog Carrier for Hiking

A dog carrier enables you to take your dog on trails that he cannot navigate, to carry him in case of an injury, or whenever he’s too tired to continue the hike. Dog carriers are important because they come with pockets where you can store supplies. This way you won’t have to carry extra bags.

  • Collar and Leash

The dog collar enables the dog to be easily found if he gets lost wandering around. The collar should contain your pet’s name and your contact details. The best leash for hiking with dog enables you to control him, especially preventing him from going to restricted areas.

You can as well invest in a cooling pad which enables canines to get rid of heat. This accessory can help your canine to cool when the temperatures start to rise during the hike. At this point, the pooch will enjoy the experience, and according to him, the rest is noise.


Hiking with a dog is an exciting and memorable event because you get to take your best friend and the pooch will be more excited than you. Remember to prepare the pooch for the hike, teach him some trail formalities, and gather essential gear. Always keep your eyes on the pet or leash even if he is trained.

How much water do you think a dog should drink during a hike? Please share your comments.

About the Author Brian

Hello, I'm Cindy. I’m a super duper mega hiking enthusiast, with a love for everything that has to do with outdoors, hiking, gear, footwear and more.

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