One of the best things you can do with your dog is taking it on a hike up a mountain. Most dogs, regardless of breed and size love a good walk in the great outdoors. However, hiking up even an easy route on a small-sized mountain, takes a lot of planning and preparation, even if you are doing it without a dog. The addition of your furry friend means you have to take extra precautions.
With this in mind, before you head off in the car with your canine buddy, take a look at our top 10 tips for hiking a mountain with a dog.
Table of Contents
- 1 – Put Your Dog Through Some Pre-Hike Training
- 2 – Research Mountain Hikes Suitable For Dogs
- 3 – Pack Lots Of Food And Snacks For Both Of You
- 4 – Take Dog Poo Bags
- 5 – Pack A First-Aid Kit Suitable For Dogs
- 6 – Let Your Dog Carry Something
- 7 – Pack Extra Doggy Clothing
- 8 – Take Their Favorite Toy
- 9 – Keep A Close Eye On Your Dog And Stop Regularly
- 10 – Invest In A Good Leash
- 11. Pack a High Visibility Vest
- 12. Bring Along a Special Leash
- 13. Use a Dog Carrying Pack
- 14. Grab Some Special Treats
- 15. Avoid Difficult Trails
- 16. Get a Dog-safe GPS Tracker
- 17. Familiarize Yourself with Local Wildlife
- 18. Keep an Eye on the Weather
- 19. Plan for Extra Breaks
- 20. Keep Any Allergies in Mind
- Can You Bring Smaller Dogs on a Mountain Hike?
- What Dogs can Handle Uneven Terrain?
- Should I Bring My Dog’s Medicine with Me?
1 – Put Your Dog Through Some Pre-Hike Training
Before you even begin the walk or planning the walk you are going to take, you need to do some pre-hike training with your little buddy. Make sure your dog is comfortable around other dogs and people and has been socialized well. It is also a good idea if he or she is not used to experiencing new things that you prepare them for this. You should also consider taking some kind of training class together. Another way you can do this is by taking him to the dog park regularly, as this will help to test in a safer environment than the side of a mountain whether they will act okay around different dogs and people.
You also should work on your own fitness levels. Remember if anything goes wrong, you may have to carry your dog down a mountain.
2 – Research Mountain Hikes Suitable For Dogs
Although you may have some ideas in mind, it is not a good idea to drive out to the start of a trail only to find it is not suitable for dogs, or worse still they are not allowed there at all. There are plenty of places you can look at online that give you information on hiking trails suitable for dogs in your area.
3 – Pack Lots Of Food And Snacks For Both Of You
When you go hiking alone, you will probably take some high-energy snacks and lots of water. When you take your dog along, you need to ensure they have enough food and water too. to avoid any complications, bring the food your dog normally and some of their favorite snacks. Don’t be afraid to pack more treats than you would normally give them because they are going to be burning up more calories than they normally do. For water, along with your own water, it is a good idea to bring a water bottle for your dog, and a collapsible water bowl, like the Roysili Collapsible Dog Bowl.
The Collapsible Dog Bowl from Roysili is BPA-free and FDA-approved and made from silicone. Not only is it extremely convenient and easy to use, but there is also a quick-release Carabiner clip system for attaching it to a backpack or your dog’s leash when it is not in use. It is also extremely expensive since it comes in a two-pack offer.
4 – Take Dog Poo Bags
One of the most important rules you should always follow when out and about in nature, particularly hiking up landmark mountains is – ‘leave no trace’. That is, ensure you clear any rubbish you generate up as you go along and that includes dog poo. Take lots of dog poo bags and correctly dispose of them. The
DogCareCompany Dog Treat Bag with Built-In Poop Bag Dispenser is a good choice. This actually kills two birds with one stone, as this is not only a great way to pack your dog’s favorite treats, it also features a handy roll of dog poop bags and dispensers.
5 – Pack A First-Aid Kit Suitable For Dogs
Another necessary thing that you may not have even thought about is making sure you have packed a first aid kit specifically designed for dogs. This Pet First Aid Kit not only includes everything you could want or need but comes vet-approved and is great value for money.
6 – Let Your Dog Carry Something
Depending on the fitness level, age, and size of your dog you could let them carry some of their own gear. This will help you as you won’t be carrying quite as much, but you should always go down to an actual pet store and try some on your dog to see which fits best and which your dog feels comfortable wearing.
7 – Pack Extra Doggy Clothing
Bring the right clothing along with your dog, based on the area you are hiking and the expected weather. While you are walking, if there is a temperate climate, your dog will probably not need a jacket, but if you take long stops along the way it is good to take something along to keep them happy and warm. The layer system that we humans use can work well for your dog too. Along with waterproof jackets and fleece, you should also take a high vis vest or jacket like the Track Jacket from Ruffwear for your dog to wear, as the visibility may be poor.
8 – Take Their Favorite Toy
Bring one of your dog’s favorite toys, for when you take breaks from walking. It is best to bring one you actually know they will play with or else you will be carrying extra weight and taking up extra space in your bag for no reason. Having something familiar that they like can also prevent your dog from getting stressed.
9 – Keep A Close Eye On Your Dog And Stop Regularly
Watch your dog closely while you are hiking, to check for any signs of fatigue, overheating, or discomfort. If your dog limps, pants excessively, or behaves differently then stop walking and check them over. Offer them food or water and if necessary, use your first aid kit. Rather than waiting until they are physically showing signs of fatigue, make regular stops.
10 – Invest In A Good Leash
Most mountain trails that are suitable for dogs require that they are on the lead for all or most of the time. Therefore, it is a good idea to check how sturdy and hike-worthy the lead you normally use with your dog. It may be worth investing in a brand new one, perhaps one like the AOShop Hands-Free Dog Leash, which can be attached around your waist, freeing up your hands while keeping your dog close. As a bonus, there is also a dog poop dispenser attached.
This post was originally written by Simon at PoochingAround.
Alligator, a writer for Petloverguy, has found a few more golden nuggets for you…
Top 10 Tips For Taking Your Dog Up A Mountain
11. Pack a High Visibility Vest
A high visibility vest from Amazon or another online dealer can really help you avoid hazards. These vests are light and easy for dogs to wear, but they have enough reflective tape to make your favorite pooch look like they’re headed off to a rave party.
Some areas require you to have a high vis vest on your dog if you’re going to be walking at night. This is needed so that rangers and other outdoorsy types don’t mistake you and your pet for something else.
12. Bring Along a Special Leash
Just like some of the carrying packs and bowls, you’ll see, some leashes include sophisticated carabiner clips. Depending on whether you use a collar or harness, you might need a hard-wearing piece like this so your dog doesn’t start pulling if they see something interesting while you’re out on the trail.
13. Use a Dog Carrying Pack
A dog-carrying pack is perfect for anyone who has a smaller dog who won’t be able to walk the entire trail. While you might get frustrated with people who never let their dogs walk out in public and always have them in one of these, they really are a good idea when you’re doing anything this intense.
You’ll really want to consider getting one if you plan on hitting the trails hard. Most dogs aren’t going to want to show nearly as much energy or enthusiasm as you do unless they’re on the bigger side!
14. Grab Some Special Treats
Chances are that if you’ve been following all the advice here, you’ve packed a few special treats in your bag already. Double-check to see if there’s anything in particular that your dog absolutely loves.
They’ll really value these whenever you stop to take a break.
15. Avoid Difficult Trails
All dogs are very different when it comes to the type of trails that they can traverse. Some dogs will like more challenging courses and may even relish the chance to get out on them.
Keep an eye on whether or not your dog is struggling. There’s a good chance that you should avoid at least some trails that they’re not equipped to handle.
Finding a lost dog in the wilderness can be nearly impossible. Several dog-safe GPS transceivers can help you track a lost animal.
These generally run on low-power safe batteries, so you won’t have to worry about shock hazards.
17. Familiarize Yourself with Local Wildlife
Coyotes aren’t the best friends of domestic dogs. Neither are wolves, but both species have something in common.
They should be respected rather than feared. Pet owners have tried to get forestry commissions to get rid of these animals, but that’s not the right solution at all.
Simply keep local wildlife in mind and make sure to not go on any trails that might have large land predators. Steer clear of them and there shouldn’t be any issues.
Naturally, they’re there for a reason and you’re a guest in their home!
18. Keep an Eye on the Weather
Learning just a little bit about cloud formations and local weather conditions will go a long way toward ensuring you don’t get stuck somewhere. If you’re concerned, then packing even the simplest AM/FM radio can help especially if you’re in a national park with an information station.
Check the forecast a few days before so you can be sure you’re not going on a rainy day anyway.
19. Plan for Extra Breaks
If you brought your dog’s favorite toy along, then you’re already in a position to have a great time on breaks. You need to be sure that you’re taking enough of them, however.
Depending on the size of your dog and their condition, you may have to stop and rest even if you personally feel you could keep going for hours. Don’t push a dog just because you could keep going longer.
Then again, you might be surprised that your dog has way more stamina than you do!
20. Keep Any Allergies in Mind
Remember that dogs are a lot like people in this respect, and they could come down with allergies just as easily as you can!
Dogs that don’t do well with pollen shouldn’t be taken up hillsides that feature a lot of flowers or fruiting grasses. You usually shouldn’t have too much of a problem if your preferred hiking area includes a manicured trail that’s cared for by the park service.
Can You Bring Smaller Dogs on a Mountain Hike?
Quite a few mountain breeds are actually smaller. Think about how some British authorities have long promoted the Welsh Sheepdog’s ability to run and even play flyball.
If you have a smaller dog that likes to play, then you can usually bring them along on your mountain trip. Consider using a carrier for those that are under a certain weight, however.
What Dogs can Handle Uneven Terrain?
As their name suggests, sheepdogs and mountain dogs are usually well adapted to handling uneven terrain. Many pet owners have had problems with corgis, bassets, and dachshunds.
If you have any of these breeds, then you might want to rethink your mountain trip altogether.
Some owners have had very successful hikes with them, though, by using only established trails and sticking to areas that have been professionally cleared of fallen logs, rocks, etc.
Should I Bring My Dog’s Medicine with Me?
Make sure to bring along any medication that your veterinarian has suggested or prescribed. Don’t bring your dog on a mountain if you don’t think they can handle it.
That being said, if they can a little exercise might be good for your health. Start slow and be prepared to stop if anything were to happen.