If you hike with your dog in the U.S., you know how frustrating it can be to find a dog-friendly destination. Many of the national parks do not allow dogs on trails and state parks vary by state. Some U.S. states allow dogs on state managed lands while others, such as California, mostly prohibit dogs. This is why we’ve put together these useful resources to help you find tail friendly hiking and travel spots.
What should I bring for my dog on the trail?
- Collar & Leash (with ID tag and license)
- Towel to keep in the car to wipe off muddy paws
- Collapsible Water Bowl
- Doggie Poop Bags
- A First Aid Kit (include tweezers)
- Dog Booties and/or Dog Vest (If it’s cold)
What is the proper trail etiquette when hiking with my dog?
When you hike with your dog, you are responsible for your canine’s actions. This means keeping your dog safe. Beware of cyclists, because dogs will have the instinct to lunge at them. Yield to horses by moving off the trail, and keeping your dog calm. Get to lower ground, you will seem smaller to the horse, and it will be less intimidated.
It is also important to keep your dog hydrated. If you are going to be out with your dog for an extended time, bring a bag of kibble as well.
How to tell if your dog is dehydrated
- Check their scruff. To do this, lift their scruff 2-3 inches vertically, then let it fall. If it takes 2 seconds or more to fall, your dog is dehydrated.
- Dog’s gums should be shiny. If they are dry or tacky, your dog is dehydrated.
- It is just a myth that a dry nose means that your dog is thirsty. However, it wouldn’t hurt to give your dog a little extra water.
Rules for the Trail
- Always pick up after your dog or bury the waste 200 feet away from the trail.
- If you see another dog, make sure to ask if their owner if they are friendly before approaching.
- Check to see if the trail requires dogs to be on a leash; if no leashes are required, make sure your dog responds to voice commands.
- Take breaks, don’t put too much physical strain on your dog.
After the Hike
- Examine your dog for ticks and fleas.
- Check for thorns.
- Rest, drink water, and have a snack/meal.
Where can I find dog-friendly hiking?
U.S. National Forests are almost always dog friendly. When National Parks do not allow dogs, a trick is to go to the nearby National Forests instead. Most National Parks are surrounded by National Forests.
Guest article by Danny Eccles, Outdoor Herbivore Intern
Do you have any other recommended resources for finding dog-friendly trails?