The Ultimate Guide To Hiking With Dogs
There are likely to be plenty of local parks that allow dogs in your area, and sometimes even dog parks specifically designed to let your pooch off-leash. Sometimes that’s not enough though, and you and your furry pal need more of an adventure to ward of the crazy runs? Hiking provides the perfect outlet for you and your dog to relieve stress and reconnect with your wild sild.
How to Find Trails That Allow Hiking With Dogs
Finding places to go hiking with dogs is usually pretty easy. A quick google search of the town you’re in plus the phrase ‘Where to go hiking with dogs in XYZ City?’ is going to bring up a bunch of results. What you’ll have to keep in mind is that even when places are open to dogs – they’re not always allowed on every trail.
Some areas are off-limits because they’re ecologically sensitive. It might seem silly that dogs can just roam the forest with you- they’re animals too right? The truth is that because dogs live with their humans and drop different kinds of bacteria than are normally present in wildlife feces. Gross – but if everyone was allowed to bring their dog everywhere we wouldn’t have these places after a few years.
You’ll find that many state parks do allow dogs – but national parks often won’t.
Tips for Traveling With Dogs In National Parks:
Visit the National Park website for their interactive map on where dogs are allowed. Most national parks seriously limit where you can take your dogs – but campgrounds, viewing areas are often open to them. If you can’t take your dog into a trail – and you have an RV – the dog should be fine in the campground.
What To Do When a Park Doesn’t Allow Dogs
If you have the desire to go on a hike and the park doesn’t allow dogs, make sure that the trail allows dogs before you go. The last thing you want to do is be geared up to go hiking, only to get to the trailhead to find out that dogs aren’t welcome.
Do Your Research Ahead of Time: If you do a quick Google search ‘Are dogs allowed in XYZ Park?’ – You’ll find an answer. It’s up to you to plan ahead and make provisions for traveling with your dog. If it ends up being too much of a hassle and you can’t take them to most places you want to go – consider getting a house sitter!
Doggy Daycare Dog For The Day: There are many people taking to the roads these days, setting out in RV’s, Campers, and converted cars. With the number of people traveling full time, and our culture becoming more mobile than ever – there’s an increasing need for doggy daycare. This means while you’re living out your wildest adventures – your furry friend can go too. You’ll just have to map out your destinations a little more carefully!
Tip for Scheduling Doggy Daycare:
Call well in advance! Popular destinations like Yosemite’s neighboring doggy daycares will fill up fast!
Trail Etiquette for Hiking With Dogs
Keep your dog on a leash. Especially in more crowded areas – you don’t know if another person’s dog is going to be a jerk. It only takes a few seconds for two dogs to get their heckles up and decide that they feel threatened. There is really nothing worse than a dog fight. It sets both owners on edge and annoys whoever’s dog gets attacked.
Keeping your dog on a leash also keeps native wildlife from being disturbed! Chasing them and killing them in ecologically sensitive areas is important for preservation.
Plan Ahead for Your Dog – It’s going to need water, food depending on how long you’re gone, and poop bags. The last thing you want to be doing is cutting short your trip to go find water for a thirsty pooch! (We also highly recommend a flea and tick collar – as well as being up to date on heartworm medicines. )
Practice Leave No Trace – This means not allowing your dog to dig up plants, destroy animal nests, etc. Obviously, you should pick up dog poop – especially on the trials. Can’t tell you how many times we’ve stepped over dog poop or Thunder has unknowingly walked right through it. Accidents happen – but you can make it easier on yourself by pre-packing poop bags!
Gear That Makes Hiking With Dog’s Easier
- Collar – We love this collar that has a leather handle! It makes it so much easier to manage a large doggo! Sometimes a leash isn’t the right tool if we need to pull him to the side to allow others to pass.
- Backpack & Harness – Thunder has a harness with a detachable backpack. It really is the best thing when we’re hiking to be able to out his treats, food bowl, and food in his own backpack. (Plus it helps tire out a high energy dog!) This one is also a great option.
- Leash – You don’t need anything crazy here – but we don’t advise using a retractable one. This one comes with a collapsible water bowl.
- Identification Tag or Microchip – This is super important. Especially if you’re a camper- things happen and dogs get loose. While we hope this never happens to you – but in the event it does, having identification tags is so important!! Not to mention – it’s SO cheap to do.
- Water Bowls – Linked the 32 oz collapsible one we have. It really makes it so easy because they come with clips you can put right on your backpack.
- Food – Don’t forget to grab treats and food!
- Plastic Bags or Small Spade – You need to either bury dog poop or bag it up! Leave no trace principles folks!
- First Aid Kit – In general it’s a good idea to have a first aid kit if you’re going to be hiking a lot! Most of these include tweezers which are great for pulling thorns out of paws and burrs off fur!
General Traveling with Dogs Reminders
Never Leave Your Dog In A Closed Car – It’s so easy to lock your keys in your car! We did that on accident one time when we were about to get Thunder out of the car and it was terrible!! Thankfully it was a cool night so he didn’t get hot while we waited for AAA to come unlock the car. Remember that heat builds up quickly and the lack of airflow from closed windows makes it even worse!
Take Frequent Potty Breaks – The last thing you want it to have an accident in your car!
Make Sure Your Dog Has Time to Eat – If you’re hiking and stopping for lunch – don’t forget to bring a baggie of food for your furry friend! They need energy for all-day hiking as much as you do!
If you found this post helpful, we’d love for you to share it on Facebook or pin it on Pinterest for later!
The best of all worlds… combining travel, hiking and dogs! Woohoo! My professional pet sitter observation is that lots of hikers don’t pay enough attention to when their dog needs water on the trail. And if they’re used to drinking out of a bowl, there’s no guarantee they’re gonna be willing to drink out of a stream. Great article – thanks!