Tips for Hiking with a Pet: A Complete Guide for Adventurous Hikers


Tips for Hiking with a Pet: A Complete Guide for Adventurous Hikers


There’s nothing better than hiking with a pet because you can rediscover nature through their eyes, and even understand how to respect it more. But all that requires some extra preparation and some new info. 



Do Leash Training

You’ll need to train your pet how to behave on the trail first. That’s if you’re not bringing along Tweety in a birdcage or a pet snail. But if you’re planning to hike with a four-legged partner like a dog or a cat, you might need to do some leash-training first.

Dogs aren’t allowed in national parks or reserves, and most of the places they are allowed in will generally require you to put on a leash. Some of these places need you to have a permit in advance, while some don’t, but it’s seldom that the leash rule is off.

And since you don’t want to drag or be dragged by a pet that pulls the leash frantically, you should start exercising the proper walk way in advance. If you have a pet, a few weeks would probably do the trick, considering that you will need to exercise the walk in different places. However, an older dog or one that comes from a very independent breed will require more time for that.

Get the Right Equipment

It’s easier to bring equipment for a smaller animal that can be carried in your back pocket. But did you know that there are some great slings or pouches for transporting bigger animals too? It’s great to have something like this with you, particularly if your pet becomes injured.

At this point though, you should also consider getting the right gear for you. If you have a pet on a leash, it’s more important than ever to have good ankle support so you don’t trip. Pets are unpredictable, and they can always pull the leash.

Besides that, you should bring some water and food for your pets, even some treats to throw along their way. There’s some great dog hiking gear on the market today, as well as for cats. Stuff like harnesses to replace your leash or a vest that keeps them warm on the way can really be lifesaving for you both.

An insect repellant is also a great idea, particularly if you’re going in an area with a lot of grass where ticks might be hiding. And you can always think about adding a cool vest to your hiking gear, it keeps the little furry ones safe from the heat.

Follow the Law

There are plenty of issues to be mindful of when hiking, but you should start with the legal stuff first. So keep in mind that you shouldn’t take the leash off your dog if you’ve been instructed not to when you first set foot in the park. There’s a real problem with dogs hunting down and killing native birds, and it’s not a joking matter even if you know that your dog behaves at home.

Besides this, you should also pick after your dog or cat. That means getting plenty of doggie bags with you since the great outdoors is a great laxative too. But since you are in a park that sees a high influx of tourists along with their dogs, you’ll probably see plenty of safe places to throw away your dog poo.

Get into shape

It’s not enough to just train your dog or cat to walk on a leash and obey your commands. It’s also fairly important that you get into shape. So you should start with some basic cardio and weight training to improve your fitness condition.

Just keep in mind that no matter how well-trained your pet is, their excitement will test your patience. So you’ll have to be so fit that you can actually keep the same pace as your pet.

However, some dogs are actually couch potatoes themselves, so you’ll need to train them too in order to follow your and milestones. You should start with some easy back country hikes in allowed places, like on the East Coast that has some easier trails.

But even if you both are in pretty good shape, it doesn’t hurt to do a few trial runs so you can see how you get along on a hike. You’ll find out what style of terrain and hike suits you best, and you can prepare for the issues that might arise.

Consult Your Vet

Hiking isn’t easy, so it’s always a good idea to get your doctor’s ok before setting off on a difficult trail. For instance, you might be prone to altitude sickness or bone injuries. The same goes for your pet, and you should know that it’s ok to take him or her along.

But your vet can give you other input regarding things like the extra calories needed for optimal energy on the hike. You’ll know how much your furry friend can handle in terms of trail difficulty, and you’ll also get the chance to do important vaccinations or insect treatments. There are plenty of parasites or fleas that can’t wait to find a new home, so it’s best that your pet doesn’t end up being that.

Your hiking buddy might also need to carry a pack of his own, so you should find out if he can actually do that. It’s true that most dogs can carry a quarter of their own weight, but please ask your vet if your dog is also capable of doing that.

And since it’s always best to bring along a First Aid Kit for you, it’s also advisable to bring one for your pet. The good news is that a visit to your doctor can clarify exactly what to put inside it in terms of medical supplies.

That said, don’t forget to have lots of fun! Your pet will surely love hiking just as long as they’re with you! And once you’re home, come back here and tell us how it went. You’ll probably have lots of advice to share with your fellow hikers.

Guest Post Author Bio:


Rebecca lives in the United States, but loves hiking all over the world. Her favorite is the Everest Base Camp Trek in Nepal. It usually takes 16 days, but she likes to slow down, enjoy mountains, the company of other adventurers, and take more pictures, so it took her 28 days last time. Another of her passion is the ocean, so all short and long hikes along the ocean shore bring a lot of joy. She also writes for hikingmastery.com

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