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7 Tips for Hiking with Dogs

By Odie Blog Editors on July 13, 2020

Going on outdoor adventures is always better with your pup. Here are 7 Tips for Hiking with dogs, brought to you from Odie Pet Insurance. Read more now!

Here are a few tips and things to consider that will make your hike that much better:

  1. Choose a dog friendly hiking trail
  2. Prevent fleas & ticks with medication or a collar
  3. Bring a sturdy leash and collar with up-to-date tags
  4. Take fresh water and a collapsible bowl
  5. Don’t forget doggie waste bags
  6. Provide dog booties for extreme temperatures or tough terrain
  7. Keep a towel and first aid kit handy

Before getting started outdoors and beginning your hike, consider your dog’s health and fitness and choose a trail that will suit both of you. While searching for trails be sure that dogs are allowed and in case of an emergency check to see how close the nearest vet is.

#1 Choose a dog friendly hiking trail

To offset any disappointment, do a simple internet search and check if dogs are allowed at your hiking destination. While it may seem like dogs are welcome at most trails, many national parks do not allow dogs. If you’re unsure whether your dog is welcome, try calling the park’s ranger station ahead of time. You may find out that your dog is allowed in some designated areas only.

#2 Prevent fleas & ticks with medication or a collar

Dogs love to sniff around, and if they are extra adventurous they will probably want to explore off-trail in plants, bushes, or trees. The problem with off-trail exploring is ticks and fleas. It is important to keep your dog safe and out of these parasites’ way to prevent diseases such as Lyme disease. The best way to reduce the risks and ensure your dog remains flea and tick free is to apply medication such as Frontline or provide a flea/tick collar like Seresto. If your dog loves the water, most collars are not water proof so applying medication at least 24 hours before you hike is your best bet.

We also recommend checking your dog for ticks after every hike and washing them with a flea and tick shampoo especially if you live in an area where ticks are prevalent.

#3 Bring a sturdy leash and collar with up-to-date tags

Second, you’ll want check that your dog has a sturdy leash and collar. Many hiking trails require a non-retractible leash that is no longer than six feet long. This is to ensure hikers maintain in complete control of their pet at all times. Your dog’s collar should also bear up-to-date tags including your name and phone number, rabies tag, and a state registration tag.

Proper trail etiquette is to abide by the leash laws. Especially in high traffic areas, following the leash law will help keep your dog out of harms way and provide additional safety to you and other hikers. Remember, as dog owners it is our responsibility to keep our pets from aggressive encounters with other dogs or animals as well as keeping them out of plants like poison oak/ivy. If your dog is hiking off leash, they should be able to walk at a heel and obey simple commands to create a much less stressful environment while hiking.

#4 Take fresh water and a collapsible bowl

It’s important that you and your dog stay hydrated while conquering the trails so be sure to bring clean water for both of you. We’ve found the best way to give your dog water on a hike is using a collapsible dog bowl that ultimately does not take up a lot of space. If you aren’t the one that wants to carry something like this then be sure to dedicate a water bottle for your dog to drink from on your journey.

#5 Don’t forget doggie waste bags

No one wants to step in dog poop while they’re enjoying a beautiful hike so do your part and dispose of your dog’s waste. Proper etiquette is to bring your own doggie waste bags, double bag it and carry it out. Why, you may ask? Because in high traffic areas, piles of dog waste can get extra stinky and those pathogens can end up in fresh water sources. Plus, it ensures other hikers enjoy their time outdoors just as much as you and your pups.

#6 Provide dog booties during extreme temperatures or tough terrain

In case you and your dog are the adventurous types who enjoy hiking during extra cold winter days or hot summer months, dog booties may be helpful in keeping your dog’s paws safe. A water resistant boot with traction and flexibility will provide a protective layer and nice durability. They’re also useful if you plan on hiking through tough terrain or over abrasive surfaces.

#7 Keep a towel and first aid kit handy

It’s well known that dogs love to explore and as a result get into all sorts of dirty trouble wandering on and off the trail. Keep a fresh towel on hand or in your car just in case your pup decides to go swimming and roll in some dirt. A clean dog is a happy dog and your car will appreciate it too!

Another item to keep on hand is a pet first aid kit with the basics: tweezers (ahem ticks), gauze, tape roll, bandages, Benadryl, antiseptic towelettes, and cotton swabs. We at Odie feel it’s better to be over prepared rather than underprepared for an accident or emergency.

Final Thoughts

Aside from these quick tips on items that you can bring with you on your hike it is also important that you can adventure somewhere where there is shade for you and your dog to cool down and rest. Dogs get tired and can overheat just like we do so be considerate of the conditions you are hiking in and the fitness of your dog.

Using a little extra time not only plan out your hike but also to bring items for you and your dog will make for a much better adventure with your pet. It will make for some great exercise and most importantly will make a great adventure with your dog.

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