When spending time outdoors on the trails, it’s important to pack the essentials and other items to make your adventure more enjoyable and safe. When hiking with your dog, prepare to add a few extra things to your gear checklist. Being well-equipped and prepared will help ensure your dog is safe and having a good time.

Dogs, hiking, and fall foliage
GEAR CHECKLIST: What To Bring for Your Dog

Dog in a hiking pack
What To Consider When Hiking with Your Dog 

Assess your dog’s physical condition. Start by taking them on trails that are short in distance and low in elevation to help build up their endurance slowly. As your dog begins to adjust, gradually increase the length and difficulty. If your dog is on the older side or has physical disabilities, choose a hike that will accommodate their specific needs.

Trip Planning

There are several things to remember when planning a hike for your dog. Pick a trail that will suit your dog’s physical capabilities and your own. Research the trail length, terrain type, popularity, and difficulty.

Trail Etiquette

Remember that others will likely share the trail with you and your dog. You should feel confident you can control your dog to ensure a positive experience for everyone involved. Not everyone is comfortable around dogs, so keep that in mind. If the area you’re visiting has leash laws, it’s essential to abide by these rules that are put in place for good reason.

Leave No Trace

You must always pick up after your dog, it’s basic hiking etiquette. Your dog’s waste could cause issues for critters and tamper with the local water supply. On day hikes, always pack out filled poop bags.

Wildlife Encounters

Be aware of what kinds of wildlife you could encounter on your hike and learn how to avoid unwanted encounters.

Food and Water Preparation

Dehydration is dangerous when hiking, so carry more water than you need. Use the rule that if you’re feeling thirsty, your dog is likely also parched. If your dog’s nose is dry, then they’re probably underhydrated.

Rules and Regulations

Reading up on the rules for the area you visit before you go is essential. Pet policies can change frequently, so call to verify or check the park’s website. Leash laws are set in place for a reason, so follow them!

Hiking with a dog
Final Thoughts on Hiking with Your Dog

Bringing your pup for a hike is always a great decision, so long as you plan well, prepare properly, and follow the rules.

Happy trails! *woof*