Dogs enjoy the beauty of the great outdoors just as much as humans do. It’s great exercise and a nice change of scenery, even if you don’t hike often. Dogs don’t need a full pack of gear, but there are extra items you should pack to keep your four-legged hiking buddy safe and happy. Here are a few factors to consider before bringing your dog along.
Start Slow- Consider Your Dog’s Ability Level
Do they get enough daily exercise to be able to successfully tackle the hike? Like humans, dogs might need to adjust to hiking by starting at a lower level first. If your dog tires easily, a difficult and long hike with obstacles might require them to stay at home.
Consider How Your Dog Socializes
Does your dog get along well with other dogs and people? If you are hiking a high-traffic trail, make sure they are well-trained and conditioned to crowds. It might be overwhelming for your dog if they are not used to having people or other dogs around.
Is the Trail Dog-Friendly?
Is the trail you are hiking dog-friendly? Do some research to ensure the trail allows pets. Remember that even though a trail is dog-friendly, that doesn’t mean it is safe for your dog. Research potential threats on the trail such as venomous snakes, large animals, and dangerous plants.
Is Your Dog Up-to-Date?
Is your furry friend up-to-date with all their shots such as flea, tick, and heartworm vaccinations? It is crucial that your dog has their vaccinations before heading out on the trail to avoid issues down the road. Vaccinate them prior to your hikes, especially in wooded areas where ticks are prevalent.
Extra Items to Pack For Your Dog
Besides your own gear, your pooch will need some gear to safely complete the hike. While this list isn’t all-inclusive, consider what you normally bring and bring something comparable for your furry friend.
- Water – Dogs need to stay hydrated too, especially when they are physically exerting themselves in hot weather. Always pack extra water for your dog before a hike. Foldable or collapsible water dishes are a great option for pets because they don’t take up much room. Fill the bowls with extra water bottles or water fountains if available on your trail.
- A Leash and Collar – Some trails might require your dog to be on a leash at all times. Always bring a leash along just in case. Even a well-trained dog might need extra guidance on a trail they are unfamiliar with. Always print their collar with their name and your contact information in case they do get lost.
- Waste Bags – Bring plastic bags to pick up your pet’s waste during your hike. You can buy dog waste bags or reuse old plastic grocery bags. Either tie them to your dog’s collar or strap it to your own pack. Bring 2 to 3 extra bags for longer hikes.
- Food or Treats – If you are planning for an all-day hike, bring some food or healthy treats to keep their energy up. Like humans, dogs need to eat snacks too. Depending on the size of your dog, a handful of dog food should be sufficient.
- Dog Booties – Protect your dog’s paws from rough and hot terrain with dog booties. Look for booties with grips that help when climbing slick surfaces. Your dog’s paws may get tired or even injured from cuts and scrapes. Using booties on their paws can protect them. Try the booties on at home first to get your dog used to them before hitting the trails.
- Pet First-Aid Kit – Is your dog fearless? It is possible your dog will get a minor injury during a hike. Prepare a first-aid kit equipped with a few things needed for dogs. Talk to your vet about what your dog might need depending on the terrain and level of hike you are embarking on.
Having a companion on your hike is fun, but it’s important to be well-prepared. Once you have determined your dog is up for the hike, use this guide to pack some essentials for your dog. And as always, if you need any more helpful articles or tips for your adventures, check out our blog. Or, visit your local Sun & Ski Sports for help on your next thing adventure.