Introducing your four-legged friend to new sights, places, and terrains is a bonding experience you’ll never forget. More special than your average walk in the park or along the beach, a good hike is a perfect way to keep your dog active and stimulated while you enjoy the great outdoors. But with any great adventure comes a lot of preparation and planning, and we’re here to help!
At Poppy + Ted, we want to help you get exploring with your beloved fur babies. This is why we have created a beginner’s guide to hiking with dogs. Filled with all the must-know tips and packing advice you need to embark on a fun and safe adventure with your furry companions.
10 Essentials You Must Pack to Hike with Your Dog
Before setting foot or paw outside, you must ensure you have everything you and your dog might need during your hike. Here is a packing list you will want to follow and stick by to ensure your hike is memorable for all the right reasons!
- Whistle: This is a must-bring if your dog is trained to come to a whistle. However, this is also handy in an emergency or if you lose your way along the trail.
- First Aid Kit: Keep first aid supplies on hand for both you and your pup, as cuts and strains are common on a hike.
- Water Bottles & Foldaway Dog Bowls: You and your dog need to keep hydrated during your hike, so keep filled water bottles on hand. A fold-away water bowl that allows your dog to drink as much as they need comfortably is also a must-pack.
- Sturdy Lead & Harness: You can’t leave home without a high-quality and sturdy lead and harness for your hike. We recommend avoiding a typical collar or extendable lead when walking on uneven terrain, so you can keep your dog close and well-supported. Our 3-click tough dog harness is the perfect option for hiking.
- Poop bags & Holders: You need to pick up after your dog even in the wilderness, but make it easier for yourself with a handy poop bag holder and a waste bag carrier.
- Pet Insurance Details: Hiking can be dangerous, so if an accident occurs, you should have your pet insurance details on hand in case an emergency vet trip is needed.
- Treats: There is always a time for training and rewards, so keep your dog happy and motivated on the hike with a selection of treats ready to go in a handy treat pouch.
- Dog-Friendly Wipes: Hikes can be muddy and wet, especially if your pup likes to explore. Keep on top of cleaning before you head back to the car with animal-friendly wipes.
- Favourite Blanket or Toy: If you plan on staying overnight or camping, having your dog’s favourite blanket or toy with its familiar scent will keep them calm and happy.
- Food: Spending all day exploring and adventuring is hungry work, and you will burn a lot of energy. Make sure you have double portion sizes of what you would normally feed your dog to keep them full of energy.
Hiking with Dogs Tips
Now you know what to pack, it’s time to head out on your epic hiking adventure with your four-legged friend in tow. To ensure you have the best time, here are a few tips to make the whole experience as safe and enjoyable as possible. Follow these tips, and we’re sure you’ll want to hike with your dog every weekend!
Don’t Take Your Dog Hiking Before They’re Ready
We know you might be eagerly waiting for the opportunity to take your dog on a hike with you, but you should be patient and wait until they’re ready. Puppies are not equipped for long walks and hiking, and we’re not talking about behaviour.
Did you know that puppies’ bones and joints still form until they are ten months to one year old? This is why avoiding rigorous exercise for your puppy in case they sustain an orthopaedic injury is important. Even longer, larger dog-breed puppies continue to form their bones and joints until they’re two years old.
Stick to Your Dog’s Limits
When hiking with your dog, you must be mindful of how far they can go and when to stop pushing. Just because you might have the energy to keep walking doesn’t mean your dog can keep going too. Watch out for any signs of exhaustion or discomfort exhibited by your dog, such as panting, and give them a long rest before you set off again.
Remember, our beloved dogs want nothing but to please us, so they won’t stop unless we do.
Avoid Turning Back Too Late
On a long hike, seeing how far you can go and what else you can discover can be fun. We often keep going until we get tired, but then you need to make the same journey again to return to your car.
When hiking with a dog, it is important not to turn back before it’s too late. This means deciding on a good point to loop back around and head back to the beginning before your dog displays signs of discomfort or fatigue. If you don’t do this, your risk having to carry your dog all the way back and depending on their breed and size, this could be a hefty job.
Keep Them Cool
It’s important to remember that dogs don't sweat and so can’t naturally cool themselves down as we do. So, you should avoid taking your dog on long hikes on particularly warm days or during the height of the sun at midday. Make sure you take plenty of stops to have a drink, and keep in mind that if you’re thirsty, your dog likely is too. Pack plenty of water with you for your hike, and stop your dog from drinking from rivers, streams or ponds, as there could be harmful bacteria and diseases lurking.
Stick to Trail Etiquette
Just because you’re in the wilderness does not mean you and your dog can go wild. Among seasoned hikers, there is such a thing known as ‘trail etiquette’, which basically means cleaning up after yourself and your dog. There is a reason why hiking trails remain so beautiful and scenic, and that's with everyone doing their part to maintain the natural beauty around them, picking up dog poo and loose rubbish. So, make sure you do your part!
Get Outside & Enjoy Your Hike!
Are you ready to get out and explore the great outdoors with your pup by your side? We hope our guide on hiking with dogs has given you all the tips, tricks and advice you need to embark on your next adventure.
If you’re unsure you have the right supplies, we can help with that too! At Poppy + Ted, we put dog safety and comfort first, with a sprinkle of style thrown in too. Shop our collection of tough 3-click harnesses that are perfect for hiking and our range of dog leads and poop bag holders. You can also find car seat belts that mean you can take your dog with you for any adventure, no matter how far!