My Top 7 Tips for Hiking with Dogs

  1. My number one tip for hiking with dogs is to keep your dog hydrated! You may be thinking “that’s obvious”, but I see way too many people on trails with their dog looking like it could really use a drink. More than once I’ve offered my dog’s bowl and water to a thirsty trail pup.
    Know the signs of dehydration: Dry gums and mouth (you can tell the change in your dogs saliva too), excessive panting, lethargy, and loss of elasticity in the skin are common ones.
    A collapsible bowl is key to our hiking adventures! We use the Ruffwear bivy bowl (which we give 5 stars!) and clip it on to my pack or Loki’s. And if I know there won’t be safe water to drink, I pack enough for the both of us.

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2. Do a little research beforehand. Know the trail conditions and expected weather. Try to find out things like if your dog will have access to drinkable water or if there is shade on the trail. Make sure the trail even allows dogs. And what the leash rules are. It’s usually very easy to look up online.

3. Protect your pooch’s paws! Every season poses a potential danger to your pup’s feet. Some prefer shoes for their dog. Loki won’t use those to save his life, so we go with Musher’s Secret. I’ve read such mixed reviews on this, but it totally works for us. It helps keep pup’s paws conditioned and safe from balled up snow between the toes or burning on hot summer hikes.

4. Be courteous on the trail. As an owner of a dog, we have the responsibility to make sure our dog stays out of other people’s way. If your dog is not trail trained, make sure to leash them around people and other dogs. Pull them to the side of the trail to let others pass without issue.

5. Know your dog and the signs they give. Never push them beyond their limits. They get tired and need breaks too. Don’t push them too far out of their comfort zone. It’s important that your dog feels safe with you to build a strong bond. And always remember: No shot is worth putting your pup in danger. 

6. Pick up after your dog! Especially if you are in a busy area. Nobody wants to be hiking, enjoying the scenery, just to look down and realize they stepped in what your pup left behind.

7. Finally, after the hike, do a comb over of fido. Feel for unwanted things on their body and brush their fur. It is good to do frequent checks of your dog on a daily basis as is so you are aware of what is normal or not. And then after the all over groom, cuddle your best adventure buddy and tell them you love them. 🙂

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