5 Tips for Hiking with Dogs for the Summer | Alchemypet

There's nothing quite like taking your furry friend for a hike on a hot summer day. The fresh air and exercise are good for both of you, and there's nothing quite like the bond you'll share as you conquer the trail together.  

Of course, there are a few things you'll need to keep in mind to make sure everyone has a safe and fun time out while hiking. After all, the trails can present dangers you just don’t encounter in the comforts of your neighborhood. 

So, in this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about hiking or backpacking with your beloved canine companions. 

How to Prepare for a Hike with Your Pooch

While it’s more rewarding than hiking alone, hiking with your dog requires considerably more preparation and energy. First, make sure the trail you're planning to hike is dog friendly. Some routes have restrictions on dogs, so checking before you go is essential. Second, take into account your fitness level and energy level. A long hike might be too much for an older dog or a puppy. Lastly, be aware of potential hazards on the trail, such as toxic plants or steep drop-offs. 

So, if you’re still a bit confused, here are some of the most important considerations that you need to think about before you even embark on your hiking journey: 

Double-check if dogs are allowed at the trail. 

Some trails have restrictions in place to protect wildlife or fragile ecosystems. For example, dogs can disturb nesting birds or small animals and damage delicate plant life. In other cases, pet restrictions may be in place to prevent the spread of disease that your dog may introduce or catch from the trails. 

So, double-check if they're allowed before taking your dog on a hike. There’s nothing more disappointing than figuring out that you can’t go on a walk when you’re already at the starting point. 

Not sure where to start your search for the ultimate trail for you and your beloved pup? Here are two of our favorites: 

Whiteoak Canyon to Cedar Run Loop - One of the most popular hiking trails in Shenandoah National Park. And for good reason - it's home to six beautiful waterfalls! From the towering Lower Falls to the peaceful Cedar Falls, there's something for everyone on this hike. And, of course, your furry friend will love exploring all the different smells and sounds along the way. Just be sure to bring plenty of water - there's no shortage of hills on this trail. But trust me, the views are more than worth it. 

Duck Pass Trail - Just amazing views all the way around. With access to the green-blue waters of the Arrowhead, Emerald, and Skelton, you’ll also never have a shortage of lakes to keep your pup cool and hydrated during a hot summer hike. 

So, while plenty of beautiful trails are disappointingly closed off for our beloved furry friends, don’t be discouraged. There are plenty of other routes that you can try. All you need is a little bit of research. Check out this article from the Uncommon Path for some more dog friendly trails. 

If you’re trying to go to a trail far away from where you live, it may also be prudent to read this piece we’ve written on 5 Tips For Travelling With Your Dog With Ease. In it, we discuss some of the best and safest ways to get your pup across state borders and some tips on how to help them through long car rides. 

Make sure your pet is well-mannered. 

If a trail is pet-friendly, there’s a big chance that other pets will be walking about when you hit the trail. So it’s essential to ensure that your canine does not get into trouble with other pets or hikers on the usually narrow paths. 

One way to ensure that your dog can take to the trails is by giving them a quick refresher course on obedience training. This obedience training checkup will help your dog feel more comfortable and secure in new environments and make sure they stick close by when things get confusing or exciting. Plus, it'll give you peace of mind knowing that your furry friend is listening (or at least pretending to). So dust off those old training manuals, and get ready to have a well-behaved hiking buddy in no time. 

Research potential dangers such as wild animals, harmful critters, and toxic vegetation. 

Just because a trail is pet-friendly doesn’t automatically mean there won’t be any dangers along the way. Hiking in unfamiliar territory exposes your pup to all sorts of wild animals, from snakes and spiders to bears and coyotes. Some trails may even harbor parasites such as mites and ticks. And while most dogs will instinctively avoid danger, some may not be so lucky. In addition, there are several potentially harmful flora that your dog could come into contact with on the trail.  

To help you with your research, here are some of the most common plants that are toxic to dogs: 

  • Lilies (All species) 
  • Foxtails 
  • Mountain Laurels
  • Daffodils 

Another way to prevent potentially harmful substances from causing damage is by being proactive. Some holistic ingredients, such as the C60 molecule, can help alleviate some of the adverse effects of exposure to some toxic plants.    

Pack for the occasion. 

Much like how you wouldn’t want to go on a summer hike without the proper attire, you also wouldn’t want your dog to go on a hike unprotected. Therefore, ensuring that you have the necessary protective gear for your dog is crucial. In some extreme hikes, the ground can get so hot that it can burn your pup’s paw pads. In these cases, it would be best to have some puppy boots on hand to keep them comfortable and happy. 

Furthermore, walking under the hot sun can cause dehydration and heat strokes in dogs, particularly those with short coats or who are overweight. So, it’s essential to take measures to keep them cool.  

One way of keeping your dogs cool during a summer hike is to bring along a water bottle and give them frequent breaks to drink. You can ensure that your dog has enough water for himself by using one of those special dog hiking vests with pockets specifically for water bottles. This way, you won’t have to add your dog’s drinking water to the weight of your gear. 

Final Thoughts: Hiking With Dogs for the Summer

For many people, summer is the best time to get outside and enjoy some fresh air. And what better way to do that than by going for a hike with your furry friend? Not only will your pet love the exercise, but they'll also appreciate being able to explore new sights and smells. Plus, hiking is a great way to bond with your pet and create lasting memories.  

However, it’s not all fun and games as hiking with our dogs require proper lots of preparation. Hopefully, this article can help you get ready for your summer adventure! So, what are you waiting for? Get the engines started and start driving to your favorite trails and have yourself a pawsome time!