We love hiking with our dogs. In fact, we began our journey to make better probiotic supplements for dogs, so that our older dogs could continue hiking with us. So we know a thing or two about how to prepare when hiking with your dog, no matter how old they are.
Preparing to hike with your dog will look different, depending on the age, abilities, and experience of your dog. If you and/or your dog is new to hiking, it’s best to go slowly, and see what you’re comfortable with. Remember, this is meant to be fun and rewarding for both of you!
How To Prepare When Hiking With Your Young or Inexperienced Dog
If you have a puppy or a newly adopted adult dog, and you want to go hiking—great! Hiking is a great way to bond, enjoy nature, and get some fresh air and exercise, which is great for you both.
That being said, hiking is more involved than a walk around the block, and you will need to prepare.
First, your dog will need to be well socialized, as well as good on or off a leash. You can expect to meet other people or dogs on your hike, so you’ll both need to be comfortable with this. Don’t rush to get out of the dog park and onto the trails if you’re both not ready.
You should also note that dogs aren’t allowed on all trails, so be sure to do your research beforehand. It’s also a good idea to hike any trails yourself before you bring Fido, to make sure that you can handle it, and to see if you think it will be suitable for your own dog.
Of course, anytime you leave the house with your dog, you likely bring poop bags and maybe a few treats, and it will be no different on your hike. But you’ll want to think about packing a little more. No doubt you’ll be packing food and water for yourself, so make sure you bring some for your four-legged friend, too. If it’s going to be wet or cold, but be sure to also bring appropriate clothes for them.
And you’ll also want to have a dog-friendly first-aid kit with you, so that you'll be able to treat minor injuries like cuts or ticks (you’ll also want to check for cuts, bites, and ticks before you head home).
Thankfully, just because you have to bring all this extra gear, doesn’t mean you have to carry it all! Head to your local pet store to get a pack specifically designed for dogs, and your pooch will be able to help carry her own weight.
How To Prepare When Hiking With Your Older Dog
We have good news. Just because your dog is getting older, doesn’t mean he can’t enjoy all the things he used to. If you have an older dog, be sure to feed them a diet that is rich in probiotics, Omega 3s, and other key supplements for their joints and digestive health, and they’ll be hiking with you into their twilight years.
In fact, it’s critical that senior dogs stay active, to maintain their physical, mental, and emotional health, and hiking can be a great way to do this. Things just might look a little different when preparing to hike with your older dogs.
First, you’ll want to make sure your senior dog is regularly seeing your vet, and be sure to talk to them about any concerns you might have about bringing your dog on longer walks or hikes.
You’ll want to pick less strenuous and/or shorter trails when preparing to hike with your older dog, and maybe try to find one along a cool lake or stream—that way your buddy can take a dip to help soothe his joints if he needs it. And your senior dog will likely need more rest time between hikes, too.
It’s also a good idea to take away the pack for your older dog, too.
And no matter what age your dog is, it’s important to keep an eye on your dog when hiking, since they can’t tell you if they’re getting tired or thirsty. This is especially true with your older dogs.
If you’re interested in more ways to keep your older dog active, please check out these resources:
And if you’d like to keep your dog as active and healthy as possible for as long as possible, check out our dog supplements designed to support mobility, immunity, and cognitive health in mature and senior dogs. Happy trails!