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Tips for Hiking with your Dog

Summer is fast approaching, which means longer days and hotter weather; who wouldn’t want to spend it outside, especially with your dog? Hiking is great exercise for humans and dogs alike and the perfect excuse to reconnect with nature. However, there a few extra precautions to take before hitting the trails with your pooch. Our tips for hiking with your dog will make sure that you’re fully prepared for fun and safe outdoor adventures together.


Before you go

Here are a few must-haves that any dog should have before going for any hike.

  1. Vaccinations: Make sure that your dog’s vaccinations are up to date. The trails have everything from other dogs to bigger wildlife; it is important to make sure that your pup is fully protected from any potential sickness you could encounter.
  2. Water: Bring two big bottles of water with you so that your thirsty dog does not end up drinking from a river. Experts recommend giving your dog a drink of water every time you feel like you need to stop for one. Packing a collapsible bowl like this elevated dog bowl in your pack is a great idea to prevent doggy dehydration.
  3. Proper leash: The last thing you need on a beautiful hike is your dog running off into the woods. Many hiking trails have bylaws in place that don’t allow dogs off leashes, and it is important to respect those laws while keeping your dog safe. Lucky for you, Happy Wags has retractable leashes with adjustable lengths that are perfect for hiking.
  4. Extra food: A good bout of exercise makes your dog super hungry. It is important that you bring extra food so that your dog doesn’t run out of stamina on the trail. If you are doing an overnight hike, make sure to remember extra food for snacking as well as bigger than usual breakfasts and dinners for your pup; an additional 30% is a good rule of thumb. A dry food like this one from Ziwi-Peak is a convenient option for bringing with you on your hike.
  5. Dog bed for camping: If you’re taking an overnight camping trip, make sure that you’re bringing a bed for your dog to sleep on within the tent as well. You can also bring a cozy dog blanket, like this one. Don’t forget a towel to wipe any muddy paws before going into the tent!


Start Small

No matter how high-energy or strong your dog is, you do not want to push him past his limits. Make sure that you start out with shorter day hikes before taking him on a ten-hour trek up a mountain. This will help your dog build up his stamina while getting him used to the sights and sounds of the trail. Take extra precaution with small dogs, senior dogs, and young puppies; they will tire more easily than a big dog.

Hike Responsibly

Your dog won’t be the only one on the trails. As a responsible pet owner, it is important to make sure your dog stays safe and respects everyone else on the trails. Use your common sense; if your dog is easily spooked, gets aggressive with other dogs, or needs her training brushed up, hiking may not be the best option for her stress levels. Don’t forget that strong leash; it will keep your dog safe on the trails.

Scoop It Up

When nature calls, make sure that you are not leaving your dog’s poop on the trail. While it is naturally biodegradable, the last thing you want is for another hiker to step in it or one of the local species to ingest it. Always remember to bring bags (like these lavender-scented ones) to properly dispose of your dog’s poop after the hike. Don’t want to carry it around with you? Dig a hole and bury it at least 8 inches beneath the ground. Make sure it isn’t in a bag when you bury it!

Keep Your Dog Comfortable

Your dog will always do his best to keep up with you. However, dogs get tired just like we do. Make sure that you are doing your best to stop for regular rests. If you can, bring a jacket for your dog, like this Royal Apex Dog Jacket, in case of cold weather or sudden rainfall. These small things will keep your dog happy and excited for hikes to come.

These tips for hiking with your dog will make sure that you and your pup have the best time exploring the outdoors together this summer. Make sure you check out Happy Wags to make sure you have everything you need before your next adventure. Happy hiking!