Be Prepared For a Hike with Your Dog

August 13, 2015 in Aerowood Animal Hospital

Hiking is a fun activity and great exercise for dog owners and their canine friends. Before you hit the trail, here are some things to consider that will ensure you and your pet have an enjoyable outing together.


  1. Is my dog physically fit enough for the hike I am planning? If your dog is overweight, a senior, or has mobility problems such as arthritis, they will have a difficult time on even a mildly challenging hike. When your dog’s fitness hasn’t been verified in actual performance lately, start small and have an exit plan if your dog becomes over-tired. If you’re not sure if your pet is in good enough physical condition for a hike, consult with your veterinarian.
  2. Does my dog consistently come when called? When hiking with your dog off-leash, he or she should respond to basic commands and be in the habit of coming when called. Places people hike are highly exciting for dogs, and only the best trained dogs will listen to you when the choice is obedience or chasing wildlife. Keep in mind that dogs with training are more likely to heed your commands when they are closer to you. The father from you they are allowed to wander, the more likely they are to ignore your calls to run off on an adventure. Your pup should also be well-socialized around unfamiliar people and other dogs. Their responsiveness to your commands could prevent them from scaring other hikers, clashing with another dog, or veering too far away from you.
  3. Will my dog do well on-leash if necessary? Some trails and parks require dogs to be on a leash. Leashes are also recommended for hiking around fast-moving water and steep or rugged terrain. A standard leash (not retractable) attached to a harness is best for hiking. This will prevent a serious neck injury if your dog slips or loses his or her footing. The harness will allow you to lift your pet if necessary.
  4. Do I have the appropriate dog hiking gear? Make sure your dog has an up-to-date ID tag or collar. Always carry plenty of fresh water and healthy snacks for you and your pet. Carry poop bags to clean up after your pup. A small first aid kit with emergency items such as gauze, scissors, and a flashlight is advised. Of course, don’t forget your cell phone.


When you return home from your hike, it is a good idea to check your dog for ticks and other pests as well as scrapes or wounds. Pay particular attention to their paws and in and around their ears. If you believe your pup might have come in contact with poison oak, ivy, or sumac, give them a bath.


Preparing ahead of time for a hike with your dog can assure a safe and wonderful time together in the great outdoors.

Hiking with Dog

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