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Hiking with your dog can be awesome with these simple tips

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Taking our bestest boy out hiking is one of our favorite things to do, but it wasn’t always that way. It took us a while to learn how to hike with our dog in a safe and responsible way. Once we got the hang of it our hiking trips became more fun for us, our dog, and everyone we encountered. We are excited to share our favorite tips for when you want to go hiking with your dog.

AI generated image of family hiking with dog

Key Takeaways:

Plan your hike ahead of time

The first time you hike with your dog, you’ll want to make certain that it’s a wise idea to do so. Talk with your veterinarian or a local dog trainer to see if your dog is physically fit enough for hiking. You should also make sure your dog is well-trained and accustomed to walking on a leash.

If your dog is still growing, you should not take them hiking, since this can cause joint problems later in their life. Dogs with smaller legs have to work harder to keep up and will need more rest than larger dogs. Dogs with short snouts, like pugs, have trouble breathing and are not suitable for hiking. Taking these factors into account when choosing a hike’s length and difficulty is key.

Not all hiking areas allow dogs or are appropriate for dogs. Do some research in advance. If the hiking area is in a state or national park there should be information on the website. Otherwise, a website like AllTrails should have what you need.

Remember that dogs aren’t everyone’s best friend

When hiking with your dog, it’s important to be aware of proper etiquette. Check if dogs are allowed on the trails you plan to hike and follow any restrictions in place. Always leash your dog and be considerate of other hikers, giving them space to pass safely. It’s also important to pick up after your dog and dispose of waste properly. By following these etiquette guidelines, you can ensure a positive hiking experience for both you and your dog, while also respecting the natural environment and other trail users.

Hiking With Dogs Etiquette:

By following proper hiking etiquette when hiking with your dog, you not only create a positive experience for yourself and your furry friend but also show respect for other hikers and the natural environment. Remember to always check trail rules, leash your dog, pick up waste, give space to others, and stay on designated trails. By practicing good etiquette, we can all enjoy the beauty of nature while ensuring its preservation for future generations.

Bring food and water for your dog

Like humans, dogs need to eat and drink when exercising. No matter how long the hike is, it’s important to carry enough food and water for your dog. Don’t forget to bring a container for them to eat and drink from as well.

We have tried different food and water containers for our dogs and still haven’t found the right one. Currently, we are using a plastic bowl that has a screw-off lid. The lid is deep enough to hold water. It’s not fancy but it works.

Tip: Our dogs are often reluctant to eat or drink while outdoors. We have found that adding a little beef or chicken broth to the water helps.

Warning: You should not allow your dog to drink from natural water found along the trail. In the same way that people get sick from this, dogs can and will get sick from it as well.

AI generated image of family hiking with dog

Safety When Hiking With Your Dog

Ensuring the safety of your dog while hiking is crucial. Before heading out, check with your vet to ensure your dog is fit for the activity, especially if they are young or older. Be mindful of weather conditions, avoiding hikes in extreme heat or other dangerous conditions. Bring enough water for your dog to stay hydrated, as dogs do not sweat like humans and are more susceptible to heat-related illnesses. Additionally, protect your dog from fleas, ticks, and other parasites by using vet-approved preventatives. By prioritizing safety, you can enjoy a worry-free hike with your dog.

When hiking with your dog, it’s also important to be aware of potential hazards along the trail. Look out for poisonous plants, such as poison ivy or oak, and keep your dog away from them. Watch out for sharp rocks or thorns that could injure your dog’s paws, and consider using dog booties for added protection. Additionally, be cautious of wildlife encounters and keep your dog on a leash to avoid any confrontations.

Safety Tips When Hiking With Dogs
1. Consult with your vet Before embarking on a hike, make sure your dog is in good health and physically capable of the activity.
2. Check weather conditions Avoid hiking in extreme heat or inclement weather that could put your dog's safety at risk.
3. Bring plenty of water Dogs can easily become dehydrated, so ensure you have enough water for both you and your furry friend.
4. Use flea and tick preventatives Protect your dog from parasites by using vet-approved preventatives before and during the hike.

Don’t Forget First Aid Supplies For Your Dog

I’m sure you already carry a first-aid kit for yourself but don’t forget to pack stuff for your dog too. If you don’t have one we have a guide on making your own first-aid kit. If you follow that guide almost everything you need for you and your dogs will already be in your kit.

Pack a leash and harness and keep them leashed

Many people forget this but one of the most important things to bring is a harness and leash. Unless your dog is very well trained and the area is remote, leave your dog leashed during the hike. This might not sound like much fun but it will save you and your dog a lot of stress and hassle.

As you get more comfortable hiking with your dog you will know when it is appropriate to let them off the leash. I will say that there are several good reasons to always have your dog leashed. Having them leashed will help you protect them from their four biggest hiking risks. Those are wildlife encounters, poisonous plants, falls, and other hikers and their dogs.

AI generated image of family hiking with dog

Put a GPS device on your dog’s collar

Nothing would be more heartbreaking than losing your dog in the wilderness. You can help to avoid this by getting a GPS tracking device for your dog’s collar. There are many of these products and we have written about our top 4 GPS collar picks if you want to check that out. To save you time the Halo 3 is by far our top choice.

product image

Halo 3 GPS Dog Collar Most Accurate GPS fence - Coverage everywhere, worldwide. Your dog is safe everywhere, so you can go anywhere. Shop the Halo wireless fence now.

Don’t forget to bring poop bags

If we have learned anything hiking with our dog it is that he will always poop about a mile in. Following the principles of “Leave No Trace” it is our responsibility to clean up after them. This makes the trails a cleaner and safer place for everyone.

Once you have picked up their waste you will need to take it out with you. This sounds gross so we recommend getting a smell-proof bag holder. This one is cheap, light, and easy to clean. If you don’t want to pay for one then a large Ziploc bag is almost as good.

Note: Some dog bags are biodegradable but it is always better to take your dog’s waste out with you. The diet that your dog eats makes its poop very unnatural for the wilderness. It is still recommended that you use biodegradable bags, but the poop shouldn’t be left out on the trail.

The Benefits of Hiking With Your Dog

Hiking with your dog offers numerous benefits for both you and your furry companion. It provides an opportunity for exercise and fresh air, which is essential for your dog’s physical and mental well-being. The shared experience of exploring nature together can deepen the bond between you and your dog. Additionally, being in nature has been proven to reduce stress and improve overall mental health for humans. Hiking with your dog is a win-win situation that allows you both to enjoy the great outdoors and reap the many rewards it offers.

When you take your dog hiking, you both get to enjoy the physical benefits of exercise. Regular hiking can improve cardiovascular health, strengthen muscles, and help maintain a healthy weight for both you and your furry friend. The varied terrain and natural obstacles on hiking trails also provide mental stimulation for your dog, helping to keep their mind sharp and engaged. Dogs who are regularly exposed to different environments and situations tend to be more adaptable and well-rounded, which can be beneficial in their overall behavior and socialization.

Another major benefit of hiking with your dog is the opportunity to strengthen your bond. Spending quality time together in nature promotes trust, communication, and a sense of companionship. Dogs are pack animals and enjoy being part of a social group, so including them in your outdoor adventures helps fulfill their need for social interaction. Hiking together allows you to share joyful moments, overcome challenges, and create lasting memories. It’s a fantastic way to strengthen the bond between you and your dog and enhance your relationship.

Additionally, being in nature has numerous benefits for our mental well-being. Research indicates that spending time outdoors can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, while improving mood and overall mental health. The calming effect of nature, combined with the companionship and unconditional love of your dog, creates a powerful and positive experience. Hiking with your dog allows you to escape the hustle and bustle of daily life, immerse yourself in the beauty of nature, and find peace and tranquility together.

Finding Dog-Friendly Trails

When planning a hike with your dog, it’s important to find dog-friendly trails. Many national parks and other wilderness areas have specific rules and restrictions regarding dogs on the trails. Research and identify trails that welcome dogs and align with the level of difficulty and distance that you and your dog can handle. Local hiking websites and apps often provide information on dog-friendly trails and allow you to filter hikes based on pet accessibility. By choosing dog-friendly trails, you can ensure a positive and enjoyable experience for both you and your dog.

AI generated image of family hiking with dog

When searching for dog-friendly trails, consider the following:

By choosing dog-friendly trails, you can provide your furry companion with an enriching outdoor experience while adhering to the rules and regulations of the trail. Remember to always respect the environment, follow proper etiquette, and be a responsible dog owner throughout your hiking journey.

In Conclusion

Going on a hike with your dog can be very fun and relaxing with the right preparation. We hope that this post has helped you get ready. We are looking forward to seeing your doggy hiking pictures so please tag us. If you enjoyed this post we would love it if you could share it on your social media.


Q: Are dogs allowed on all hiking trails?

A: No, it's important to check if dogs are allowed on the trails you plan to hike. Some trails have specific rules or restrictions regarding dogs.

Q: What should I do with my dog's waste while hiking?

A: Always pick up after your dog and dispose of waste properly. Bring poop bags with you for waste disposal.

Q: How can I ensure my dog's safety while hiking?

A: Ensure your dog's fitness level is suitable for hiking and check with your vet before heading out. Bring enough water for your dog to stay hydrated and protect them from fleas, ticks, and other parasites. Avoid hiking in extreme weather conditions.

Q: How can I train my dog to be well-behaved while hiking?

A: Teach your dog basic commands such as "come," "sit," and "stay" to maintain control. Train them to walk politely on a leash and have a reliable recall. Work on "leave it" and "quiet" cues to prevent unwanted behaviors.

Q: What equipment should I bring when hiking with my dog?

A: Essential equipment includes poop bags, a sturdy leash and collar, a water supply and portable bowl, dog food or treats, a pet first-aid kit, pet-safe insect repellent, and dog booties for rough terrain.

Q: What are the benefits of hiking with my dog?

A: Hiking with your dog provides exercise, fresh air, and a chance to bond. It also reduces stress and improves mental health for both you and your dog.

Q: How can I find dog-friendly hiking trails?

A: Research and identify trails that welcome dogs. Local hiking websites and apps often provide information on dog-friendly trails that you can filter based on pet accessibility.

Q: How can I minimize my environmental impact while hiking with my dog?

A: Keep your dog on the trail and prevent them from disturbing wildlife. Follow the National Parks B.A.R.K. rule which stands for bagging your pet's waste, always leashing your pet, respecting wildlife, and knowing where you can go. Avoid bringing your dog to areas where they may damage the environment.

By Summer and Bill

Photo of Summer and Bill

Summer and Bill are the dynamic duo behind, a blog dedicated to inspiring others to explore the great outdoors. With a combined lifetime of experience traveling and adventuring across America, they have a wealth of knowledge to share. From hiking to camping, kayaking to travel, Summer and Bill are passionate about helping others discover the beauty of the natural world.