Want to take your dog camping or hiking? Here are things to consider.

If you have a dog, I’m willing to guess you’ve considered taking it hiking or camping. Taking your dog hiking is a great way to spend time with it outside of the house. Hiking with your dog is also a wonderful way to expose it to the outdoors in a way that city dogs rarely get to enjoy!

If you do take your dog camping or take your dog hiking, there are a few things to consider.

Check with the destination
Many private campsites and trails and most state parks welcome well-behaved dogs, but check in advance.  If you had planned to go hiking with your dog and discovered canines aren’t welcome, it will throw a wrench in your plans. The dog will almost definitely be required to be on its leash at all times, so only take your dog camping or hiking if he has been leash trained.

Get the hiking gear or camping gear
Remember you aren’t the only person on this trip that needs gear. Dogs have to be properly prepared for camping or hiking to enjoy it and do it safely. Because of the increased activity and chance of stepping on a jagged rock or thorn, any hiking dog needs a pair of booties. This protects the dog’s pads from tearing, which would make it painful for the dog to walk. A harness leash is also a good item for hiking with your dog. A tether is good if you are camping with your dog; this will ensure he cannot run away while you are setting up camp or cooking over the fire.

Remember the essentials
Don’t accidently leave the dog’s typical essentials at home. Just because you’re camping or hiking with the dog, doesn’t mean the bed should stay at home. Bring a tarp to place underneath the dog bed to keep cold from seeping up from the ground. Just like with your food, pack dog food in an airtight container and store it properly so it doesn’t attract bears.  If you pack water for your trip, remember that you need enough for you and your dog.

Only take a well-behaved dog
Think about how close you are to other campers at campsites. Your dog will affect everyone’s camping experience – not just your own. If it barks a lot, tends to wake people up in the morning, or is overly aggressive, don’t bring him camping. Similarly, a dog shouldn’t be on the hiking trail if it’s going to bother other hikers or challenge other dogs it passes. Be sure to consider that what you are okay with because it’s your lovable pooch, may annoy other people.

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5 Comments

  1. Posted January 22, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    One thing to remember is that dogs need a lot of water, probably more than you can pack in for both you and your dog. A water microfilter can pump water from streams and lakes to fill your bottle or dog bowl. If you are going on a day long or multiday hike, a water microfilter is a good investment for you and your pooch.

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