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Go Hiking With Your Four-Legged Friend! Dogs Are Great Hiking Companions!

Updated on February 16, 2010

Dogs and hiking, what a GREAT combination (unless, of course your dog happens to be a Chihuahua!). Did you know that people who own dogs exercise more and are also more physically fit! Dogs motivate us to exercise whether we want to or not. After all, most dogs don't care if it's raining, snowing, too hot or too cold. They simply want to go outside…no matter what! Before I continue, please read my HUB Page: Dog's and Heatstroke (you will find valuable information that you may need if you plan on hiking during very warm weather). If you own a dog, why not plan a hiking trip today! There are several basic things you will need to take with you (see the dog hiking checklist below). The good news is that you probably already have most, if not all of the items in your home, therefore, you won't have to spend a dime!

Hiking Supplies You Will Need

There are basic hiking supplies you will need to take with you when you go hiking with your furry friend.

  • Trail information (route plan)
  • Dog collar with identification tag (this is a MUST)
  • Leash
  • Bright colored bandana for your dog to wear so that you can see him or her at all times
  • Poop bags (another must have item)
  • Water and collapsible bowl (enough for both you and your dog)
  • Basic first aid kit in case of an accident
  • Cell phone (with emergency veterinarian number)


This dog is ready for school...NOT hiking!
This dog is ready for school...NOT hiking!

Know YOUR Limits and Your Dog's Limits as Well!

When determining where you will go hiking, there are several things you must take into consideration. For example, how physically fit are YOU? If you are an active person who hikes all the time, then your hiking options are greater than someone who just got off the couch yesterday. It is also important that you choose a hiking trail that is compatible with your pet. Is your dog young, healthy, active? If so, then a challenging hiking trail is in order. If you have an older dog that has issues with arthritis, then obviously, a short, easy hike would be the way to go. Knowing your dog's limitations is very important!

The easiest way to carry your hiking supplies is in a durable hiking backpack. If you want your dog to do his share of the work, then by all means, purchase a doggie backpack! There are many great dog backpacks on the market today (search the internet for the best prices!). If you do decide to buy a doggie backpack, make sure that it fits your dog correctly. The pack should fit snugly to your dog's body do that it doesn't move around (backpacks that are too loose can irritate your dog's skin, not to mention fall off!). If your dog has never worn a backpack before, it would be a good idea to allow him to adjust to his new hiking gear BEFORE you head out. Simply place the pack on the floor and allow your dog to smell it. Next, put the doggie pack on your pet and let him walk around the house for a few minutes. Do this for several days (leaving the pack on longer each time). When you take the pack off, praise your pup and give him a treat! When the time comes to hit the trail, your dog will be familiar with his doggie pack and not be intimidated or frightened when you put it on him.

Be Considerate of Other Hikers!

When you finally hit the trail with your dog there are several things that you need to remember. First of all…PICK UP THE POOP! No ifs and or buts about it…you must be considerate of your fellow hikers and pick up your dog's waste. After all, wouldn't you be upset if you stepped in a pile of poo while hiking? I think you would be! Never leave trash behind, only hike where dogs are permitted and leash your dog when other hikers are around. It is also important that you stay on the marked trail and do not allow your dog to chase and scare wildlife.

There are MANY dog friendly hiking trails in the United States. For example, in Virginia, you can visit Shenandoah National Park, Appomattox Court House National Park and Prince William Forest Park (just to name a few). To find a dog friendly hiking trail in your neck of the woods, please visit the website: Hike With Your Dog (it is wonderful and full of great information!). If you plan on camping overnight with your dog, be sure to bring a dog air mattress bed so that your dog gets a good night sleep!

Hiking with your dog is fun! Not only are you AND your dog getting much needed exercise, you are strengthening the bond between you and your furry friend. Here's to hiking, dogs and the good life!

Interested in learning more about Personal Locator Beacons? If so, please visit the PLB Guide! Thanks!

 Oh, and before I forget...I also wrote a HUB Page about hiking boots! Be sure to check it out.


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