One of the greatest joys of pet ownership is that you now have a buddy to join you on all your outdoor adventures. Dogs in particular — known as man’s best friend for good reason — make excellent companions when going out for a run, walk, jog, or hike. Hiking with your best furry friend is also a wonderful way for you to get inspired to be outdoors and to give your pet the opportunity to exercise and explore. Hiking with your pooch can be a rewarding experience, but like for any outing, you will want to ensure you are well prepared.
Temperature is always going to be an important thing to keep in mind when preparing for a hike. If your dog has a thick coat of fur and it’s hot out, perhaps consider going for a short walk or a walk under tree cover so you can be in the shade. Make sure you and your pooch don’t overheat when hiking. Take breaks and stay hydrated.
Cold temperatures also require careful planning. Many dogs, such as huskies, originally hail from the colder regions of the world and thus are already equipped with built-in snow gear. Other dogs, however, with shorter hair can be prone to getting cold in winter temperatures. If you plan to be outdoor for a long hike, you will want to be sure you and your pooch are both staying warm. A dog jacket could be what your pup needs to make sure they stay toasty while hiking.
Dog’s paws are prone to the cold. They can get ice and salt from sidewalks and roads stuck between their toes, which can cause pain. Here’s a pro tip: consider getting your pup some doggie booties.
Water is important when hiking with your dog. Especially in hotter weather, you and your dog can easily get dehydrated without even realizing it. It is always a good idea to bring water along on your hike with your dog. Take a small backpack and keep a foldable water bowl for your dog and a big bottle of water. You can easily drink from the bottle and pour some into the bowl for your doggo.
Many areas have parks or trails where dogs are allowed to run free off their leashes. However, there are also parks and wildlife reserves that require your dog to be kept on a leash at all times. Regardless of where you are hiking, having a dog leash is important. Even if your dog is well trained, sometimes there are occasions when it is best to put them back on the leash. Choose a leash that folds up compactly and will fit into the pocket of your jacket. Also, if the temperatures outside are cold, be sure you have a pair of winter gloves so your hands don’t freeze when you're holding the leash.
Even the most well-trained dogs sometimes like to run off for one reason or another. Perhaps they’re chasing an animal, playing with another dog, or simply are disoriented by a hiking trail they’ve never taken before. Be sure that your pet doesn’t go hiking without their collar and identification tags. If your dog is microchipped, that’s another way lost dogs can be identified. However, it’s best to keep a collar and tags on your dog at all times when on the trails.
Keeping dog treats and poop bags on hand is a good rule of thumb when walking your dog. Slip a handful of dog treats into the pocket of your sweatpants or jeans so you can reach them easily as needed. Having treats while hiking is a good way to reward your doggo for good behavior while on the trail.
Poop bags are useful when hiking in public spaces, such as parks and public trails. It’s the polite thing to do as a dog owner to clean up after your dog on the trail.
While it’s usually a good idea for you to have a backpack to keep water, snacks, or anything else you may need on your hike, you can also get a backpack that works as a dog carrier. For smaller pooches that don’t like to get left behind, there is always the option of a doggie backpack. Slip your furbaby into a cozy dog hoodie so they can stay snug while joining you on your hike.
With these tips, you can be sure you are prepared to explore the great outdoors with your furry best friends.