Trail Tips for Hiking With Your Dog

By Latasha Dunston (@jitterbug_art)

We all love to get outside and the only way to make the experience even better is to have your best doggo by your side! But before we can hit the trail with our canine friends there is a short list of things to consider and pack to ensure the experience is awesome for the both of you.

First thing is to research the trail and area you are visiting. Did you know that most National Parks are not dog friendly or only have a limited number of trails that you can take your buddy on. So be sure that the trail you are going to allows dogs and if it is required for them to stay on leash. Its important to know because some trail have active wildlife or terrain that would be difficult for a dog to traverse, like rock scrambles or unstable bridges.

We’ve got our trail so lets pack our backpack. Obviously we grab the 10 essentials but with a dog there a few more essentials you want to have on hand.

  • For me, I add a small tweezers and matchbook to my first aid kit just in case we encounter ticks. My dog is small and low to the ground so it has come in handy in the past.
  • You want to be sure you have a leash, collar or harness that has an updated ID tag just in case they get lost someone can contact you.
  • Poop bags are your best friend! Bring extra because they can work in a pinch to pack out human waste or any other litter you find on the trail. We want to leave it better than we found it right?
  • A water bowl and EXTRA water! Your dog will drink and maybe waste a lot so you want to have an extra bottle just for them.
  • Treats and or a ball they love. This is your insurance that your buddy will be (hopefully) more attentive to you. Having your dog with you out on the trail is an amazing bonding experience but making sure they also have good trail etiquette is very important.
  • Keep them on trail and close by. Do not let them chase or antagonize wildlife, for everyones safety.
  • I always bring a small towel for any messes like mud or even worse, poop! This way I know I have something to wipe off my dog before we get back in the car.
  • If your adventure leads to water maybe bringing along a life coat for your pup just in case!

Just those few extra items will save you and your pup a ton of distress on your next hike. My little girl personally loves a mid hike snack to keep her energy up. And I love seeing her explore the world with fast feet and curious eyes. Dogs teach us so much and we are lucky to have them! So get out there safely with your pup and enjoy a good hike!