Hiking With a Dog: Things You Need to Know

If you’re a nature lover and a dog owner, hiking with your furry friend may be one of the best things you can do together. Not only does it provide exercise and fresh air for both of you, but it can also deepen your bond with your pet. We are excited to share tips and advice on how to get the most out of your hiking experience with your dog.

Welcome to our website, your go-to resource for all things “hiking with a dog”.

Here, we celebrate the joy of spending time in the great outdoors with your canine companion by providing valuable information, tips and tricks. We know that every dog is unique, which is why we cover everything from the basics to more advanced tips.

We know how important it is to keep your dog safe and comfortable while you are exploring nature together, which is why we also discuss the best gear for your four-legged friend.

Come join us as we experience the beauty of the great outdoors with our furry friends!

Hiking With a Dog

Going on a hike with a dog?

Here are some things that you should know.

1. Not All Dogs Are Fit For Hiking

First things first, not all dogs are fit for hiking.

All dogs require training for hiking long distances.

While most dogs love to walk and explore, certain breeds have a natural inclination towards the outdoors. Breeds like huskies, border collies, and retrievers are examples of dogs that are excellent hiking companions. However, it’s important to consider your dog’s age, size, and physical capabilities before hitting the trail.

If your dog is a senior pet or has health issues, it’s best to opt for easy trails, shorter hikes, or simply stick to walks around the park.

What are the best dogs for hiking? Here are a few examples – huskies, border collies, and retrievers.

1.1 Best Dog Breeds For Hiking (Off-Leash and On-Leash)

The best dog breeds for hiking are those that are energetic, strong and have a keen sense of smell such as Australian Shepherds, Border Collies, and Siberian Huskies.

The size of the dog doesn’t always matter.

Smaller dogs such as Beagles and Jack Russell Terriers can also make excellent hiking companions. However, regardless of size or breed, it’s important to have a dog that is well-trained, obedient and has the stamina for a long hike.

An ideal hiking dog should also be able to navigate all kinds of terrains. They should be able to keep up the pace, even when the trail gets tough, making for the perfect hiking partner. In essence, the best hiking companion is one that is ready to embark on the adventure with you!

Siberian Husky animation

2. Bring the Right Gear (Dog Hiking Gear)

Secondly, when you’re planning on hiking with a dog, it’s essential to bring the right gear. Especially if you are going on a longer walk.

A harness that fits your dog is a must. It’s much safer than using a collar/LED dog collar, especially when your dog pulls or stops abruptly. A dog backpack is also a great addition as it allows your pet to carry his own food, water, and other necessities. Additionally, pack water and a collapsible dish for your dog, paw balm to prevent cuts or blisters, and dog boots for rocky or rough terrain.

2.1 Choosing Leash and Dog Harness For Hiking

One of the most important items is a sturdy, properly fitting harness that provides support and control without restricting your dog’s movement or breathing.

  • Consider the fit: Look for a harness that fits your dog properly, with enough room for them to move around comfortably, but not so loose that it slips off or chafes their skin. Measure your dog’s girth (the widest part of their ribcage) to make sure you’re getting the right size.
  • Look for durability: Hiking can be tough on gear, so look for a dog harness that’s made from high-quality, rugged materials that can stand up to the elements.
  • Choose a harness that’s designed for hiking: While any harness will work for hiking in a pinch, there are some harnesses that are specifically designed for this activity. Look for a harness with a back clip or front clip leash attachment that will give you better control over your dog, especially for steep terrain or scrambling.
  • Consider your dog’s needs: If your dog is prone to pulling or is not yet leash-trained, you may want to look for a no-pull harness that will discourage them from pulling while also providing more control. Additionally, if you plan on doing a lot of hiking in cold or wet conditions, consider a harness that has a built-in jacket or insulation to keep your dog warm and dry.

A long leash that allows your pup to explore while still being under your control is also important. This can be a simple nylon leash or a retractable leash, depending on your preference. Find the best dog leash for hiking in 2 simple steps!

  1. Consider the length: Choosing a leash that is appropriate for hiking will depend on the trail and your dog’s outdoor behavior. For most hiking trails, a leash that is at least six feet long should be sufficient. The leash should be long enough to allow your dog to explore, but not so long that you lose control. Retractable leashes can be a great option for hiking since they allow your dog some freedom to roam while still being under your control.
  2. Look for durability: Look for a leash that is made from materials like nylon or leather for optimal durability. Also, consider a leash that has a reflective coating or is brightly colored to improve visibility in low-light conditions.
Dog Hiking Harness

2.2 Dog Backpack For Hiking

A dog backpack, also known as a dog hiking backpack, is a specialized backpack designed to help your pup carry their own gear while hiking.

Yes – that’s a backpack for a dog (not a backpack to carry a dog).

Dog hiking backpack is not a dog carrier backpack.

This type of backpack typically features adjustable straps that fit securely onto your dog’s back and allow them to carry items such as water, snacks, waste bags, and even a first-aid kit. Dog backpacks can be extremely beneficial when taking long hikes or backpacking trips with your furry friend, as they allow you carry less stuff yourself. Additionally, dog hiking backpacks can provide a sense of purpose for your dog as well as help them build strength and stamina through exercise. To sum it up – it’s great both for you and your buddy.

2.3 Dog Walking Boots

Dog walking boots offer several benefits that can make outdoor activities more enjoyable and comfortable for your furry buddy, while also providing you with peace of mind.

Firstly, these kind of boots provide essential protection for your dog’s paws by shielding them from cuts, scrapes, and other injuries that can occur while walking or hiking on rough terrain. They also protect paws from hot pavement or cold surfaces, making it possible for your dog to safely and comfortably walk on any surface.

Secondly, dog walking boots provide a better grip and traction, which can help prevent slips and falls, especially on wet or slippery surfaces. This is especially important for senior dogs or dogs with mobility issues, as they may be more prone to injury.

Husky dog running
A happy husky

3. Not All Hiking Trails Are Dog Friendly Hiking Trails

Next, always check the trail rules beforehand.

Some trails may have leash requirements or designated areas where dogs are not allowed. If the trail allows dogs off-leash, make sure to keep your dog under your control and be considerate of other hikers on the trail. Also, remember to clean up after your dog and dispose of the waste properly.

3.1 What Makes a Hiking Trail Dog-Friendly Hiking Trail?

These trails may vary in difficulty and length, but there are a few general characteristics that make them dog-friendly.

  • Firstly, a dog-friendly hiking trail will be well-marked and easy to follow, often with dog waste stations and clear signage.
  • Additionally, these types of trails will be free of potential hazards such as steep cliffs or sharp rocks that could cause injury to your dog or yourself.
  • Dog-friendly hiking trails will also provide plenty of rest areas and water sources along the way.
  • These trails are typically located in areas where dogs are allowed, which makes it for a stress-free experience (both for you and a dog).
  • Finally, dog-friendly hiking trails will have rules in place that ensure that the trail is kept safe, clean and enjoyable for all users, both human and canine alike.

If you are planning to hike with a dog, be sure to research trails in your area and always follow the rules to maximize your experience on the trail.

3.2 How Long Can a Dog Walk?

How long a dog can walk, and how much hiking is too much, depends on several factors, such as the dog’s breed, age, fitness level, and overall health. As a general rule of thumb, most dogs can walk for 15 to 20 minutes per day for each month of age, after 12 weeks of age.

So, for example, a 6-month-old puppy should be able to walk for around an hour, while a 2-year-old dog can walk for up to two hours (and more, depending on the dog’s stamina and how long are your daily walks).

However, when it comes to hiking, it’s important to take into account the terrain, temperature, and humidity, as these factors can significantly affect your dog’s endurance.

A short, leisurely hike of a few miles may be fine for most dogs, including senior dogs, but if you plan on tackling a more challenging terrain, it’s best to start slow and gradually increase the distance and difficulty over time. Additionally, it’s important to watch for signs of fatigue or overheating, such as excessive panting, drooling, or limping, and to provide plenty of water, rest breaks, and shade along the way. If you’re unsure about whether a particular hike is appropriate for your dog, consult with your veterinarian beforehand.

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4. Bring Enough Food and Water (For Your Dog and Yourself)

Another essential tip is to bring enough food and water for both you and your dog. Depending on the length and difficulty of the trail, your dog will need more water and food than usual.

Additionally, dogs may burn more calories than usual during the hike. So for meals, plan to give your dog a little bit more food than they’re used to. It’s best to bring dry kibble or treats that are easy to carry and won’t spoil during the hike.

4.1 Signs of Dog Fatigue While Hiking

Here are some signs of dog fatigue to look out for while hiking:

  • Excessive panting: Dogs pant to help cool themselves down when they’re overheated. However, if your dog is panting excessively, it could be a sign that they’re struggling to keep up with the hike.
  • Slowing down: If your dog starts to slow down or lag behind on the trail, it’s a sign that they may be starting to tire.
  • Limping: If you notice your dog limping, it could be a sign that they’re experiencing pain or discomfort. This could be due to a minor injury or sore muscles.
  • Increased thirst: If your dog is drinking more water than usual, it could be a sign that they’re becoming dehydrated.
  • Restlessness: Your dog may become fidgety, unsettled or constantly stopping while on the trail.
  • Refusal to move: If your dog suddenly stops walking or refuses to take another step, it may be a sign of fatigue or injury.

If you notice any of these signs, it’s important to take a break and give your dog a chance to rest and recover before continuing on the hike. Additionally, keeping your dog on a leash can help you monitor their behavior and prevent them from overexerting themselves.

5. Play It Safe

Lastly, a few words on safety.

Before you hit the trail, make sure your dog is up to date on vaccinations, flea and tick treatments, and has identification tags. Always keep your dog within your line of sight and keep them away from wildlife. Be aware of signs of overheating or dehydration and take breaks as needed.

Hiking with a dog can be a fun and rewarding experience for both you and your furry friend. With proper planning and preparation, you can enjoy a safe and enjoyable hike with your pet.


Hiking with a dog can be a fun and rewarding experience for both you and your furry friend. With proper planning and preparation, you can enjoy a safe and enjoyable hike with your pet. Remember to choose the right trail, bring enough gear and supplies, and always consider your pet’s physical capabilities. With these tips in mind, you and your dog can look forward to many happy miles of exploring and adventure. Happy hiking!