Important Factors To Consider Before Hiking With Your DogImportant Factors To Consider Before Hiking With Your Dog

Dogs display a natural exuberance in the outdoors. Being away from the city gives them a chance to run and play unconstrained by the limitations of home. There is a world of exciting new sights and scents to explore on the hiking trail. For canines, the lure is nearly irresistible. For owners, their pets' enthusiasm is infectious.

But it is important to take the right steps to ensure your dog's safety away from home. A lot of owners take a haphazard approach, and unwittingly place their pets' health at risk. In this article, we'll offer several suggestions to help you prepare to go camping and hiking with your canine. Preparations should begin long before you pack your vehicle for the trip.

First Stop: The Veterinarian

Because hiking requires a high level of physical activity, your dog needs to be healthy. He may appear so, but health problems can lurk beneath the surface, placing him at risk once you hit the trails. For this reason, make an appointment with his veterinarian so a routine examination can be done. Results from the exam will reveal any issues that may be hidden from view.

The vet can also make suggestions regarding whether certain activities may be harmful for your canine. For example, if your pet is showing early signs of arthritis, hiking may worsen the condition. Similarly, if he is nearing his twilight years, too much exercise may be unwise. The veterinarian can also suggest products that will minimize the trouble caused by fleas, ticks, and intestinal worms. These and other pests are commonly found in wooded areas that are dense with foliage.

Conditioning Your Canine Before The Hike

Given that hiking can be physically strenuous, spend time helping your canine prepare for it. If he is accustomed to taking a short, leisurely walk each day, there's a good chance a long hike will leave him exhausted. If he is overweight, help him drop a few pounds before the trip. Otherwise, his extra weight will place stress on his joints and ligaments.

If your dog receives a lot of exercise each day, he may only need a small bit of conditioning for the hike. If, however, he spends much of the day indoors, take the same approach as a long-distance runner. Determine how much activity your canine will enjoy on the trip, and slowly work him up to that point. For example, start increasing the distance of his daily walks a few weeks ahead of time. Each day, increase the distance a bit more. He will gradually gain more endurance, which will prove valuable on the trip.

Taking The Essentials

Your canine will need several items for the hike. First, pack plenty of drinking water for him in order to prevent dehydration. Even in a relatively cool climate, your dog will need a constant source of water.

Second, pack a first aid kit. Your dog's veterinarian can recommend items to include, but start with bandaging materials, a disinfectant for wounds, tweezers, and cotton swabs. Put your pet's leash in the kit for easy access.

Third, make sure you take your canine's papers, including his identification and documents showing proof of vaccinations. Also, put his ID tags on his collar to help ensure he is returned in the event he becomes lost.

Fourth, take plenty of food for him to eat. In addition to his meals, pack a source of sugar (e.g. syrup) as well as something to replenish his electrolytes (e.g. Gatorade).

Proper Etiquette On The Trails

While hiking with your canine, it is important to observe common etiquette rules to avoid becoming a nuisance to others on the trails. Make sure your dog responds reliably to your commands. Also, pick up after him - or where allowed, bury his waste. If he defecates on a hiking path, make sure his waste is out of the way of other hikers.

Taking your dog hiking can be a rewarding experience for both of you. It gives you a chance to enjoy the outdoors while strengthening the bond you share together.
by Larry J. Reaves
References and Bibliography
Find the best Dog Bones and Barkwheats at
Rated:NR/0 Votes
Add To My Article Reading List
Add To My Article Reading List
Print Article
More Article By Larry J. Reaves
More Article by Larry J. Reaves
More Articles From Pets
More Articles From Pets
Related Articles and Readings
Join the American Hiking Society By: Monica Marty
Have you taken up hiking as a new form of family recreation? Are you a serious hiker that spends hours on challenging trails? Do you want to find a way to become more involved in hiking across the nation? Hikers of any background will want to check out the ...
The Benefits of One Day Hiking Trips By: Monica Marty
Do you like to take one day hiking trips? Do you want to take hiking trips on trails near your home? One day hiking trips have a number of advantages. They are great for the recreational hiker. Minimal hiking gear is required and you can take ...
Hiking Trails Preserve Your Experiences By: Richard Chapo
Hiking is a great way to escape the rat race, get out in nature and leave the stress of the world behind. Alas, your hiking experiences can fade with time. The best way to prevent this is to keep a hiking journal.Hiking JournalsTake a minute to give some consideration to ...
Hiking Shoes Versus Hiking Boots By: Steven Gillman
Hiking shoes versus hiking boots? Hiking shoes win. Okay, next issue? No, really. Hiking or running shoes are better for most backpacking trips, at least during late spring, summer and early fall. Boots are heavy, hot, stinky, and stay wet forever. A pound on your feet is like five on ...
Hiking Safety - Hiking Tips, Equipment and Gear List By: Bob A Fisher
When you talk about hiking, it does not mean you have to go for something as outlandish or extreme as the Appalachian Trail It can be as simple as taking a walk through a forest or up a hill in your neighborhood's ...
The information provided in this article and/or the comments is the sole responsibility of their respective authors and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of  does not endorse any article and/or comments published by our web users unless otherwise noted. 

Member Panel

login to submit articles and more


  • » Active Categories: 419
  • » Active Articles:252609
  • » Active Authors:31915
  • » Active Members: 38222
  • » Statistics Updated:
    - Thu May 7th, 2020 12:50AM EST