What could possibly be better than taking a hike? Taking a hike… with your pet!
@sydney_chan and her pet Scout on hike 2 of their #52HikeChallenge Pet Series
Step into nature with your four-legged friend and enjoy all the benefits!
- Reduce stress and anxiety
- Lose weight and build muscle
- Improve cardiovascular health
- Bring even more joy into your daily life
- Strengthen bonds between you and your pet
When you bring your dog, cat, goat, hedgehog, etc. on your hikes, it can be a very special and rewarding experience for both of you. It will be difficult to tell who loves it more — you or your pet!
Hiking with dogs is especially popular because canines usually love long walks with lots of unique smells.
Pets of 52: @nanuk_thepit enjoying nature, captured by @allyandthepittybunch
Before long, your dog will learn (and love) the word “hike,” and you’ll have to start spelling it out to keep their ears from perking up.
Undoubtedly, hiking is a great way for you to bond with your pet. Plus, hiking with dogs and other pets can be very motivational. It will encourage you to get outside and go that extra mile.
Have you hiked with a pet before? Do you know the dos and don’ts of bringing pets on the trail?
In order for hiking with dogs and other pets to be enjoyable, it’s important for you to be informed.
In this blog, you will learn how to hike with your pet responsibly. Keep yourself, your pet, and others safe by learning The Dos and Don'ts of Hiking with Pets right now.
The Don’ts Of Hiking With Pets
Protect your pet and others on the trail by learning what not to do when hiking with dogs and other pets.
Don’t forget essential items for your animal.
If you’ve read our past blogs, you probably know about the 10 Essentials. Well, there are also essential items you need for your pet while on the trail. For example, it’s essential to pack enough water for both of you! Other important items include a water bowl, doggy bags, a leash and collar, an animal first aid kit, and more.
Don’t let your pet off the leash unless you are absolutely allowed to.
There are limited wilderness areas where pets are allowed to roam free, and each park has different rules. Most places ask that you keep your dog on a 6-foot leash. Familiarize yourself with each park’s specific instructions and follow the rules. Rules are made to protect you, your pet, wildlife and other hikers, so please hike safely.
Don’t neglect to pick up after your pet.
Hike prepared, and don't leave waste behind. If you’re bringing your pet, always trek with doggy bags so you can leave nature the way you found it. This will protect wildlife from potential diseases and maintain the area's natural state. Follow Leave No Trace (LNT) principles by picking up after your pet and packing out any waste.
Don’t bring your dog or pet if they are aggressive.
While all animals deserve to enjoy nature, you should never risk the safety of others. If your animal isn’t trained to share the trail in a safe way, please consider leaving them at home. There are socialization and leash training classes available to help prepare your pet for their hikes with you.
Don’t hike in areas where pets aren’t allowed.
Be respectful to nature and other hikers by leaving your pet at home if you want to hike a trail where animals aren’t allowed. These rules are in place for a reason: to preserve the trail and keep everyone safe.
Now that you know what not to do when hiking with your dog or pet, let's talk about best practices for bringing your pets on the trail.
Pets of 52: @brycethecheagle on hike 2 of his #52HikeChallengePetSeries
The Dos Of Hiking With Pets
Plan, prepare and stay safe on the trail by following these guidelines for hiking with your pet.
Do follow trail rules.
Rules vary from trail to trail. Some allow pets, some require pets to be on a leash, and some don’t allow pets at all. Visit the park’s website before setting out. And if you don’t find an answer, make a call. This way, you’ll avoid fines, dirty looks and unsafe situations.
Do be respectful to other hikers and their pets.
Keep in mind not all pets are as friendly as yours. Even if your dog is great off the leash, that doesn’t mean that another dog won’t take offense to that. Steer clear of standoffs between your pet and others. Read the body language of other animals and their owners, and respect their space.
Do train your animal to be on the trails.
When it comes to hiking with your dog or other pet, obedience is important. Make sure your animal will listen to your commands and heel while on a leash. If your dog pulls on the leash, practice walking in your neighborhood before setting out onto a highly trafficked trail.
Do give right of way to other hikers.
As a rule of thumb, hikers with pets should yield to other hikers on the trail. If you’re on a multi-purpose trail, this includes horses and their riders. If you see someone approaching, stand aside, ask your pet to sit-stay, and wait for others to pass before continuing on your trek.
Do keep your eyes on your pet.
Remember you’re in the wild, and the same threats to you apply to your pet. Avoid an encounter with poison oak or position ivy by keeping your pet on the trail and out of the brush. You may want to bring an outdoor first aid kit for your pets just in case. Stay alert and be mindful of dangerous wildlife like snakes, bears, and mountain lions.
Do practice Leave No Trace (LNT) principles.
Take only pictures, leave only foot (and paw) prints. Pick up after your pet and pack out any waste. Avoid trampling nearby vegetation by keeping your pet from wandering off the trail.
Do respect your pet’s limitations.
If your pet is old or sensitive to heat, take that into account before taking on a strenuous hike in the heat of the day. Check the weather before setting out, and don’t push your pet beyond their abilities.
Do have fun and be safe!
Have a great time sharing the trail with your four-legged friend and be sure to tag @52HikeChallenge / #52HikeChallenge2023 in all your adventures!
Pets of 52: @moosetheheeler on his first hike of the #52HikeChallengePetSeries!
Sign up for the 52 Hike Challenge Pet Series
Are you ready to commit to 52 hikes -- with your pet?! You won’t regret taking on this life-changing challenge with your four-legged hiking buddy.
Wishing you safe and happy trails!
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