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Hiking and Backpacking
with your dog


Discover the 7 essentials for a successful backpacking trip

Guest post by Emily Henry


If you want to go hiking or backpacking, what better companion could you have than your canine friend? They love going on adventures and exploring the outdoors, so they'll have a brilliant time with you as you spend time in nature. To ensure you both have a good time, here are some tips for taking your dog along with you safely.



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man hiking with dog in backpack

Hiking and Backpacking
with your Dog


1. Ensure Your Dog Is Ready For Hiking

Just like yourself, you need to be sure that your dog is physically up to the challenge. If they aren't able to cope with hikes, they're not going to have a good time. How do you know if your dog is physically fit enough?

  • Very young or old dogs may not have the stamina needed to go on longer hikes. They also may not have the best immune system either, so hiking won't be right for them.
  • Dogs that aren't properly trained won't be able to go hiking with you. They need to be able to obey commands and not go off into undergrowth away from you.
  • Short muzzled dogs, like pugs and boxers, aren't able to cope well in heat and don't have the endurance for long hikes.
  • Your dog needs to be up on their vaccinations before you take them hiking, to keep them protected. Check with your vet before you go.

Hiking and Backpacking
with your dog


2. Find Pet Friendly Lodging

If your dog is up to hiking, then your next step is to find somewhere to stay. While many campgrounds and hotels are pet friendly, there are still some that aren't. You'll need to call around the area you're hoping to travel to, and check with these locations before you book.

couple with dog by firesideFind pet friendly lodging

3. Look For Trails That Are Dog Friendly

Once you have your lodging, you next need to find trails you can take your dog on safely. You can often check out info online ahead of time, so you know what's expected of you.

'There are trails where you'll need to keep your dog on leashes, or keep to paved paths' says travel blogger Aaron McGill, from Lia Help and Big Assignments. 'Check for trails that are easy on their paws too, with soft, leaf or needle covered terrain.'

lady running with her dog

Hiking and Backpacking
with your Dog


4. Pack The Right Supplies For Your Dog

Just like you, your dog is going to need some supplies when you're on the road or out on the trail. Make sure you're packing what they need so they can have a safe trip. This includes the following:

  • Food, as well as extra snacks throughout the day. Remember, if you need more energy, then your dog will too.
  • Water and a drinking bowl. Offer water every 15 to 30 minutes while you're on the trail, and give your dog time to drink. This stops them going into natural water sources, which may contain harmful pathogens.
  • Don't forget a dog first aid kit. This should include gauze, bandages, liquid bandage for cut paws, antihistamines in case of snake bites, and tweezers to remove splinters or ticks.
  • Poop bags are needed, just as you would need them on regular walks. You can also bring a trowel to bury poop too, if possible.
  • Dog walking equipment, such as a leash, harness, and a collar with a tag
dog by a backpackPack the right supplies for your dog!

5. Get Your Dog A Backpack Too

There will be some extra things to bring when hiking and backpacking with your dog, such as some dog food, some treats, and doggy poop bags. Get your dog to join in, and carry their own doggy backpack.

You should measure your dog around its chest and choose a backpack based on those measurements. Pack it up at home and check the weight. Make sure the pack doesn’t go lopsided when your dog is wearing it. Start with some short hikes to ensure it’s a good fit, and not going to cause any problems.

A good rule is to start with around 10% of your dog’s weight in the backpack, and if that goes well, then you can add a bit more.

dog with own backpack

Hiking and Backpacking
with your Dog


6. Know The Rules Of The Trail

As you're taking your dog on the trail, you'll need to know the rules before you set out. 'Wherever you're hiking, it's a good idea to yield to other hikers on the path with your dog' says writer Lex Booth, from Elite Assignment Help and OXEssays. 'Also, ensure that you're protecting wildlife by controlling your dog, and leaving no trace by not leaving poop bags or other debris behind you.'

hiking with a dog by mountains autumn colorsHiking with your dog!

7. Be Aware Of The Dangers To Your Dog

There are several things out on trails that could pose a threat when hiking and backpacking with your dog. If you're aware of these, you'll be able to avoid that danger before it has a chance to harm your canine friend. Weather extremes and overexertion are the most common threats, so be aware of the weather and plan accordingly. Be sure to check the local weather forecasts before heading out. Take frequent breaks too, so your dog can recover.

Also, look out for injuries and natural threats. Falling, paw injuries, injuries from other creatures and plants are all possible, but if you've packed a first aid kit and are controlling your dog on the trail, then they shouldn't pose a problem.

With these tips, you'll be safely able to take your dog hiking, backpacking and camping with you. They'll have an amazing time when you keep them safe.

lady with dog on mountainsEnjoy your hike with your dog!

Author Bio: Emily Henry is a writer with Dissertation Abstract. She's a travel writer focusing on backpacking and hiking, sharing her knowledge on sites such as PhD Thesis Writing. She also writes about pet care for Write My Paper.



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