Are you looking to enjoy the great outdoors more often? Maybe you made a resolution to exercise more, or maybe you are looking for different activities that allow you to bond with your dog. Whatever your reason, you are ready to dive into some hiking!  

Hiking is a great form of exercise for both you and your dog. It gets you breathing in some fresh air, and it’s also a form of mental stimulation, so the perfect workout for your dog’s brain. Hiking provides a great bonding experience, and it’s overall good for everyone.  

Before you confirm that you and your dog are officially hiking buddies (especially if you have never taken your dog hiking before), there are some factors you should consider. Let’s answer the top questions that will leave you feeling ready and excited to take on the hiking world with your pooch. 

How should you prepare? 

You can’t expect a dog to go from couch dweller to expert trail hiker, so start small with exercising, and build your dog’s stamina to be able to handle the trails. This might look like a long walk every day that builds in mileage, or going for a short run if your dog’s exercise level is already more advanced. Make sure you are setting them up for success before adding hiking to their list of accomplishments. 

You’ll also want to check in with your veterinarian to make sure all proper vaccinations are up to date for your dog, and that they are receiving monthly heartworm, flea, and tick preventative. Nature can present some risk factors that you don’t want to mess with!  

Where should you go?  

Not every hiking trail is created equal. They vary in length and difficulty, so you should choose wisely. Assess your dog’s physical condition and what they can handle, and go from there. Build your way up to the harder trails.

When researching trails, you need to check for one very important piece of information– Are dogs allowed? Not every park permits dog friends, so eliminate any from your list that your best friend can’t tag along to.  

What do you need?  

You wouldn’t go on a hike without all of your gear, right? The same is true for your dog!  

When hiking, you’ll want a sturdy leash that can handle the elements. You’ll also want to figure out what type of harness your dog is most comfortable in, and have it properly fitted so they cannot slip out, and it doesn’t rub against them and cause irritation.  

Hydration is also so important! You’ll need to bring extra water along for your furry friend, and a portable bowl so they can easily rehydrate as needed. Trails can be physically rough, so there’s always a chance of injury. Throw some first aid gear in your backpack, and of course… don’t forget the poop bags!  

Are you feeling ready to plan some future hikes with your very best friend? Get out into nature and clear your head, exercise your body, and bond with your dog!