Hiking with Hounds
Dogs make amazing hiking partners. They offer companionship and a sense of safety, especially when our human friends can't make it hiking. There's no doubt your dog is always available for an outdoor adventure! Wherever you go, your pup most definitely wants to come along.
Here are a few tips to make sure you’re being a responsible dog-momma on the trail!
Check trail restrictions and conditions.
Certain areas like national parks and wildlife management areas may not allow you to take your dog on the hiking trails. I know our dogs are part of the family, so this isn't always easy to hear. However, rules are in place for a reason and we all have to respect them.
The best thing you can do is search the trail you're hoping to hike and check if they welcome canine companions before heading to the trailhead. While checking on trail restrictions, look to make sure the conditions are safe as well! Steep terrain, stream crossings, or scree fields may not be ideal for your pup.
Clean up after your pup.
It’s a responsibility that comes with being a dog owner and it’s the farthest thing from glamourous. If your dog uses the bathroom on the trail, you need to bag up the mess and pack it out.
Bags need to be packed out with you and not left to collect at a later time. Don't let your brightly colored poo bag be an eye-sore for others getting out into nature, please.
Pack plenty of water and treats.
Yes, pack water and tasty treats for yourself, but make sure you do the same for your furry friend! If you haven’t browsed the variety of outdoor gear for pups yet, prepare to be blown away.
Backpacks. Collapsible water dishes. Water bladders. Jackets. Bear bells. Hiking boots.
All for your dog! It’s cute, but also super practical.
Seriously, your dog could have their own outdoor gear closet after a trip to REI. They have everything your dog will need from gear for day hikes to multiday backpacking trips. The best part is, they can carry some of their own food and water with a fancy doggy saddle pack.
Keep dogs leashed or by your side.
Remember not everyone is a dog lover and that's okay! Although your friendly golden is sweet inside and out, it may make another hiker nervous to have a dog run up to them... even if you know they're just in search of head pats.
We’ve got to keep our dogs under control on the trail. Make sure your dog is leashed, especially when required, or that you can keep your pup from visiting with other hikers. Be empathetic and understanding!
Where's your favorite place to take your dog hiking? Let us know in the comments!
Emily is a freelance travel and outdoor lifestyle writer for hire. Samples of her published work can be found at emilylorenwriting.com.