Hiking in the wild, or even in parks is a good way to relax and enjoy the greenery of this world, and with a companion, it would be better. Dogs are well known as man’s best friend and would be a good companion for your hiking trip.
If your dog makes a fuss during the hike, it sure can be stressful and possibly ruin the fun. That’s why you need to know how to hike with your dog.
This post is part of our outdoor family adventure series
In this guide, Ken and Jules from Outdoor Magnet, a couple from Asia will share with you some tips on how to hike with your dog.
We will be splitting the topic into two sections:
- Preparations For Hiking With a Dog
- Tips When Hiking With a Dog
Preparations for Hiking With a Dog
When you go for a hike or go camping, it is always important to check the rules and regulations of the park. All parks always have rules and regulations regarding pets and animals to roam around.
Most of the national parks welcome dogs to enter the park, but they require the dogs to be leashed and not enter certain areas of the park. National parks do have a hiking trail for dogs and owners too, do follow or you may get a fine that may ruin the hike.
Do ask the park’s management department for further information.
Before any hike, read here for the 10 hiking essentials for beginners.
Other than that, you should be aware of your dog’s physical health. Take your dog to the veterinarian for a check-up before you get ready for the hike. Ask yourself:
- Is my dog ready? Dogs bones may not be fully developed, and may injure themselves badly. They should be ready about a year old depending on the size and some different factors.
- Do they need medication or vaccination? In a controlled environment like your home, or a city, worrying about your dog drinking from water isn’t a big deal, but when you go the wild with your dog, they may contract some virus or disease from waters to plants. Do consult your vet about your dog’s medication and vaccination.
- Is my dog’s immune system good? Dogs build their natural immunity like us, and it should be strong at a certain age depending on what kind of dog you have. Ask your vet about getting vaccines for your dog and other information.
Prepare your dog for the long walk
The duration of the hike will depend on you, so make sure you train your dog for the long walk. One of the best ways to train your dog is to bring them for a trial run, usually around small parks or around the city.
While bringing them for the trial run, you should teach them to listen to your commands and to behave while walking. Do it a few times to ensure they get used to long walks and to build their stamina. Remember to leash them so that you can control them better.
Equipment for Hiking with a Dog
Just like camping, hiking requires you to bring equipment like water bottles, emergency resources and more. Here’s a list of what you should bring for your dog:
- Poop bags
- Collars with your dog’s ID and a good quality leash (make sure it’s long and it fits just nice for your dog)
- Water supply and a portable water bowl
- Dog food and snacks
- A First-Aid kit for your dog (see here how to prepare a First-Aid kit for your dog)
- Insect repellent
- Dog boots for hiking
- Safety light
Tips When Hiking With a Dog
Walking for hours without rest is not good for you and your dog’s body. Taking a rest is important for everyone including your dog, as you can fill up your body and move on.
Do make sure your dog is hydrated as it prevents dehydration and overheating. One way to identify dehydration is by looking at the nose. If it is dry, it means under-hydration or dehydration.
To calculate how much water is needed for your dog, it depends on how intense the activity is. Generally, your dog needs 1 ounce (30ml) of water per 1 pound (0.453 kg) of your dog.
Other than that, eat enough food for both you and the dog, the longer the trip means that both of you should eat more. It is advised to ask your vet about how much your dog should eat for the hike.
Trail Hazards for Dogs
Like us humans, dogs also do encounter hazards, but not all hazards can be identified by your dog. Be extra careful of the following:
- Overdoing anything. Keep an eye on your dog’s heart rate and breathing rate and check on how long it takes to normalize during rest. If it takes longer than usual, take more breaks, it helps your dog to keep up for the hike. Limping is a sign that you should stop and go back.
- Wildlife. The leash is your best friend to restrain them from eating any plants. Unknown plants may be poisonous or tainted and may irritate your dog badly, and always keep them away from foxtails.
Foxtails are hairy and usually grow on the tips of plants, they can get stuck in the toes, fur, and for worse cases in the nose, eyes and even genitals use tweezers to remove them as fast as possible as it may cause death to your dog.
Also, note that drinking water from an unknown source like rivers and lakes is dangerous. Most lakes and rivers may be infected by diseases and blue-green algae.
- Heatstroke. Dogs with darker and thicker hair will get hot faster and may fall ill to heatstroke. A temperature of 104 Degree Fahrenheit (40 Degree Celcius) means heatstroke and you should get your dog to a cool place, cool their body with cold water and apply towel-covered ice packs to the groin.
- Water safety. Do not bring your dog near water or into water if it can’t swim, it will cause drowning. Bring a PFD, which is an inflatable vest for your dog in case you need to cross the river, but be careful of strong currents. Carry your dog if needed and dry immediately after getting wet.
Clean up after your dog
Always clean up your dog’s poop after a quick poop session on the trail, other hikers may get mad if you don’t do so. Use a tissue or a plastic bag to take the poop and keep it in a poop bag till you can throw it away.
That’s all for now, hope you hikers may have a nice hike with your dogs.
About the Bloggers
Jules and Ken are from Outdoormagnet.com. It’s a small blog that they run about outdoors and travel adventures. They love spending time writing articles on the wild outdoors, an interest they are most passionate about.
You can learn more about hiking and outdoor adventures over on their Facebook page Outdoor Magnet
More Family Hiking Tips
Now we’ve got your fur-child ready to hit the trails, what about the rest of your family? Head on over next and check out our guides to
- Essentials you will need hiking with a baby
- Hiking with toddlers – how to make it fun!
- Best hiking shoes for toddlers
- The best hiking carriers for toddlers & older children
- Best home-made energy snacks for family hikes
- Your ultimate family hiking packing list (includes downloadable packing checklist)