man hiking with his dog in a forest

All About Hiking with Dogs

Dogs are ideal companions for outdoor adventure as they’re always eager and ready to hit the trail. Hiking with your dog, first and foremost, is beneficial by strengthening your bond through a shared experience.

That’s right! While most dogs would enjoy exploring heights, terrain, sniffs, and scenes on their own, it’s experiencing those things together that makes hiking with your pup entirely worth the while!

couple hiking with their dog by a lake

Additional Benefits of Dog Hiking

As it turns out, hiking offers many benefits for both you and your dog! 

  • Cure for boredom: Regular hikes improve your dog's physical and mental stimulation. Hiking provides different terrain that could be interesting and fun for your dog. Consider the benefits of a hiking excursion for your dog and let them experience exciting, unsniffed territory. 
  • Builds endurance: Consistent hiking with your dog builds endurance and stamina for the next adventure – both for you and your dog! 
  • Offers additional exercise: A dog with a lot of energy can portray negative attitudes and behavior in your home. For example, your dog could chew furniture or jump and bark excessively. Exercise can improve such behavior, and hiking exposes your dog to terrains that will demand energy to maneuver. Your dog will have a memorable experience and expend significant energy during the hike.
  • A low-budget activity: Identifying an adventurous spot that won't break the bank when stimulating your pet through new terrain can be challenging. Indoor parks are suitable for added stimulation, but you will have to pay an entrance fee. Hiking is a convenient option as you will only pay your commuter charges and have a wide variety of sniff spots for your dog.

Improves enthusiasm for outdoor activities: Dog hiking can be a fantastic means to build confidence for an outdoor adventure. The outdoor experience changes your dog’s routine and can even temper their nerves about car rides.

Guidelines to Consider During Dog Hiking

Below are guidelines to remember when preparing to hit the trail with your dog.

  • Maintain your dog on a leash: This is a perfect guideline to ensure other hikers' safety upon meeting you on the trail. It shields your dog from chasing wildlife and minimizes habitat damage if they stray from the trail. Dogs can leave a predator scent that scares off wildlife and disrupt feeding and nesting activities. 
  • Don't assume every hiker likes your dog: Keep your dog in close contact to avoid threatening and frightening other hikers. If you encounter another hiker with a dog on lead, be sure to communicate before allowing your dog to approach for a hello sniff. 

Plan for your dog's hiking needs: Pack water, food, and accessories to keep your dog hydrated, energized, and comfortable. Dog exercise requires adequate preparation to enhance a memorable adventure. You may also pre-treat your dog with insecticides and other preventative remedies to reduce the likelihood of tick and flea exposure.

What Are the Best Hiking Dogs?

two dogs hiking with their owner in a snowy forest

Are you looking for a well-suited breed for your hiking activities? Consider dogs with an active lifestyle that will fit your companionship needs. Below are the best hiking dogs to suit your adventure.

  • Siberian Husky:

    They're specialty dogs with lively spirits facilitating their quest for adventure. These dogs are alert and gentle as they enjoy spending time outdoors.
  • German Shorthaired Pointer:

    This dog makes a fantastic hiking companion. It's a suitable option for hunting and enjoys long hours of strenuous tasks in different climates. That makes it an appropriate choice for hiking.
  • Australian Shepherd: It's an intelligent breed that's always ready to go. Initially used as hunting dogs, they guarantee excellent hiking companionship.
  • Australian Cattle Dog: This breed is always ready for vigorous dog exercise. The breed has a lot of energy that can enable it to trail over heights and terrain. They make the best partners for outdoor activities.
  • Bernese Mountain Dog: The Bernese Mountain Dog has a gentle yet strong desire for hiking. This breed enjoys strenuous practices on an all-weather terrain.
  • Alaskan Malamute: This is a large working dog suitable for cart pulling over long distances. This breed portrays a playful and affectionate attitude during dog hiking that guarantees memorable companionship. It's ideal for a hiking adventure as it can endure all-weather terrain.
  • Vizsla: This is a Hungarian hunting dog with natural energy for long trails. The breed has power suitable for athletes and thus an appropriate option for dog hiking. The dogs have a friendly and affectionate tone ideal for the hiking experience.
  • Weimaraner: This hunting dog is bred to work for extended outdoor activities. The dogs have a loyal and affectionate attitude that guarantees excellent hiking companionship. They're meant for stamina and speed and can perform well in short and long terrain excursions.

Are you and doggo ready for the trail? Always pack appropriate hiking gear for your pup to enhance a successful dog hiking experience.

Hiking Gear for Dogs 

husky in hiking gear overlooking a coastline

The best activities are ones where your dog has the proper equipment to facilitate movement. With the right gear, there is no better outdoor activity than one where your dog gets back home safe and sound.

Below is the best hiking gear for your pup:

  • A hands-free leash to maintain your dog close
  • A first-aid kit for accidental mishaps
  • A dog backpack to hold supplies
  • Rugged boots to shield the dog paws
  • A sturdy harness for active dogs
  • Emergency carrying harness
  • Light-up collar in case of a dark terrain
  • Dog collar with GPS tracking system
  • A collapsible and lightweight dog bowl
  • Airtight waste container
  • A sunscreen for a hairless dog
  • A pouch to maintain a fresh kibble

Conduct a proper check for all hiking equipment before hitting the trail. This will ensure you are well set for the adventure.

How Far Can a Dog Hike in a Day?

An average-size dog can hike for up to 10 miles. After proper dog conditioning, the stretch can add up to 20 miles. Weather, trail conditions, and your dog's genetics can influence the miles trailed in a day. For a startup, select an easy trail stretching up to 2 miles.

Consider cutting your hike by half to eliminate heat stress in hot or humid weather. Humid weather interrupts the dog's panting sessions, causing them to overheat.

You can increase the difficulty and length of the trail as your dog's stamina and conditioning improve. Hiking a hill or mountain requires more exertion than a forest or a winding path. Plan the length of the hike per your pet's ability.

husky hiking in the desert

Embark On A Memorable Experience Today

Hiking can be an excellent adventure if you acquire proper know-how on the requirements. We hope that after reading this article, you feel well-equipped to take to the trails with your best friend by your side! 


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