What You Need to Know About Hiking with Dogs

Are you thinking about going hiking with your dogs? If so, there are some things that you will need to know about ahead of time. Hiking is a fun activity for both dogs and owners and is a great form of exercise. However, taking your dog out on walk or a hike without being prepared isn’t a great idea.

This guide is going to give you the best tips for hiking with a dog. You will learn about getting ready for a hike, knowing what to pack for the hike, what gear to use, and much more. 

Trail Preparation with a Puppy

If you have a puppy that you want to hike with, there are some things that you need to do first. These things include the following:

  • Check with their veterinarian. You need to make sure your puppy is physically able to go hiking. Generally, the vet will recommend they are at least a year old to go on true hikes. There might be vaccinations they need before hiking, as well. 
  • Check the regulations for the trails you want to go on. There are some trails that don’t allow pets. If this is the case, you will need to find a different trail that will allow you to hike with your dog. 
  • Do obedience training with your dog. One of the best tips for hiking with a dog is to make sure you train them first. If your dog can’t abide by basic rules and requests from you, they shouldn’t be out on the trails.
  • Follow trail etiquette. This is more for you than for your dog. It is important that you bring the necessary supplies to clean up after your dog when they go potty. You should also keep your dog on a leash at all times. 
  • Trail train your dog. Your dog might already know how to be on a leash or dog harness and walk appropriately with you near your home. However, they might not know how to act in unfamiliar territory. You can look up training regimens for trails to practice with your dog ahead of time. 
  • These are some of the ways that you can prepare your puppy or dog for the trails. 

    Gearing Up for the Hike

    If you are going to go hiking with your dog, it is important that you have all the right gear. Some of the gear that you are going to need include the following:


  • Dog pack. You can get a backpack for your dog to carry. Be sure this is light enough for them. Depending on your dog’s size, this can vary. This can hold their poop clean-up bags, a water bottle, and a few other things. 
  • First-aid kit. You will need a first-aid kit for your dog and for yourself. Even if you are an experienced hiker, you and/or your dog could still get injured. If an accident occurs, it is important to ensure that you can keep yourself and your dog safe. 
  • Sleeping equipment. If you are going to head out on an overnight hike, you need to make sure you have the proper sleep gear for you and your dog. You should have a two-person tent, comforters, and anything else you need for the night. 
  • Other important things you will need. You will also need a water container for your dog. It is important that they stay properly hydrated on the hike. Your dog might need boots to protect their paws during the hike. You can also bring a handy paw balm that can help soothe your dog's paws in case they crack and get too dry. You should bring along nail file, nail clippers, a safety light, coat for your dog (if weather permits), a cooling collar, your dog’s favorite toy, food, water, leash, and anything else you might need for you and/or your dog.

    If you have all of this equipment ready, then you can start planning your hike. When planning your hike, be sure that you also know about the hazards that you might encounter. 

    Hazards While Hiking

    You may already know about the hiking hazards for yourself. However, there are some hazards that you need to be aware of for your dog, as well. Some of the hazards that you should be aware of include the following:

  • Doing too much. Even if you have one of the best dog breeds to go hiking with, you still need to make sure they aren’t doing too much. Every dog has their limit. If your dog’s breath or heart rate are not normal, you need to slow things down. You should also make sure your dog isn’t limping. Even without these things happening, you should make sure your dog is taking regular breaks. 
  • Dealing with wildlife. It is important to ensure your dog stays on their leash when hiking. There are plenty of wildlife that could harm your dog if you don’t have your dog on a leash. It is also important to check your dog for ticks, as these can be a problem on many trails. 
  • Plants. It is important that you don’t let your dog chew on plants when hiking. There are some plants that could poison or irritate your dog. 
  • Overheating. Heat stroke is very common in dogs when hiking. You need to make sure you have plenty of water for your dog and that you take breaks when you can in the shade. Doing these things can prevent overheating in your dog
  • Waterborne diseases. You should bring your own water for your dog to drink. There are too many dangerous pathogens that could be in the water on the trails. 
  • These are some of the things that you need to be aware of in order to keep your dog safe on the trails. 


    If you want to go hiking with your dog, it is important to make sure that you and your dog will be safe while hiking. Making sure that you have the proper gear, have enough food and water, and be aware of the hazards on the trails are the best ways to stay safe and have a productive hike. 

    What to bring when hiking with a dog?

    Some of the things that you should bring when hiking with your dog include a collar, leash, harness, food, water, bowl, identification for your dog, bags for poop cleanup, sleeping gear (if staying overnight), and first aid-kits.

    How to go hiking with a dog?

    If you are going hiking with your dog, you should first have it cleared by their veterinarian. If they are cleared for hiking, you should follow all trail regulations, bring all the equipment and gear that is needed, and don’t overdo it. You should also keep your dog leashed.

    What age can I start hiking with my dog?

    Generally, veterinarians will recommend that a dog be 1 year of age before they go on a hike.

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    Written by Leo Roux

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