Hiking with Dogs: 6 Tips for a Great Hike with Your Dog

Hiking with dogs can be a lot of fun. My dog is one of my favorite hiking partners but you do have to remember to care for your dog and take responsibility for your pet. Below are the top six tips for successfully hiking with dogs.

Tips for Hiking with Dogs

  • Know the Park Regulations- Many parks, including most national parks, don’t allow any animals on the trails. Whether you are visiting a national park, state park, county park, national forest or city park, check out the rules and regulations before you arrive. Some trails also require leashes to be less than 6 feet long. Know the rules and follow them.
  • Don’t Over-Do It- Dogs, just like humans, need to ease into a workout routine. Don’t take your out-of-shape dog for a ten-mile hike out of the blue. Start with easy walks and work your way up to longer hikes. Also, know how difficult the terrain will be. Don’t take a dog on a hike that will require some scrambling and rock climbing.
  • Control Your Dog- Even if a leash isn’t required, you must be able to control your dog by voice command. Do not allow your dog to chase wildlife, attack other dogs or jump up on other hikers. Dogs can kill wildlife, hurt other dogs and annoy other hikers. Remember your dog is your responsibility.
  • Dispose of Waste- Carry out any dog feces or bury it the same way you would your own. Bring plastic bags to carry out all waste or bury dog waste at least 6 inches under ground and at least 200 feet from a trail or any water source.
  • First-Aid for Your Dog- Be prepared to care for any cuts, bites, splinters or ticks that your dog may encounter. A thorn in a dog’s paw can cause serious pain. Make sure you are ready to care for any problems your canine might encounter on the trail.
  • Bring Drinking Water- Dogs need to stay hydrated too. Bring plenty of drinking water for yourself and your dog especially on hot days or in dry areas. Also, drinking from lakes and streams can cause your dog to get sick. It’s safest to train your dog to only drink out of a water bowl. Try to limit the amount of lake or stream water your dog drinks, if possible.

how to hike with dogs

Follow the above tips for hiking with dogs and you’ll both have more fun on the trail. Remember to follow the rules, clean up after your dog and keep them under control. Now you known how to hike with a dog. Check out our recent posts on 4 outdoor adventures for your dog and tips for camping with your dog.

Do you have any other tips on being a responsible dog owner? Tell us in the comments below.

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Andy Hawbaker
Andy is a hiker, backpacker, snowboarder and outdoor fanatic. When he isn't exploring the Rocky Mountains, burning marshmallows or scratching his dog behind the ear, he shares his experiences here on the Sierra Trading Post Blog.

4 comments on “Hiking with Dogs: 6 Tips for a Great Hike with Your Dog

  • My wife and I are Forest Service volunteers. We hike the trails in Sabino Canyon and Mt. Lemmon in Tucson. We often find neat little plastic bags containing dog waste. We are not sure if the owners intended to collect these on the way out or not but it seems to me that it is better to leave the waste to decompose then to leave the waste in a plastic bag that will never decompose. As you say, it is best to carry the dog waste out.

    Regarding dog health on the trail, our vet says dogs need to hydrate just as humans do, they also need to replenish electrolytes. At her suggestion we carry water mixed with electrolytes (Pedialyte or equivalent) for our dog.

    • Thanks for this comment. I agree about the plastic bags. What is the deal with that? We’ve got to keep the trails clean and enjoyable for others.

      I give my dog plenty of water but have never tried electrolytes.

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