Go Hiking with your Dog! 3

miles hiking

Miles takes a hike off leash. Photo by Outdoor Herbivore

If you travel & 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 states allow dog on state managed lands while other states, such as California, mostly prohibit dogs. This is why we’ve put together these good resources to help you find tail friendly hiking & 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
  • Water
  • Treats
  • 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 long periods of 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 the trail does not require leashes, 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.

Dog Friendly hiking within the U.S.

Dog Friendly hiking within California

Guest article by Danny Eccles, Outdoor Herbivore Intern

Do you have any other recommended resources for finding dog-friendly trails?

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3 thoughts on “Go Hiking with your Dog!

  1. Reply Brad Jan 6,2016 7:28 PM

    In California, much of private land (open to the public & reserved for recreation), BLM-managed wilderness areas, and county parks are dog-friendly.

  2. Reply Sierra Mar 14,2016 7:02 PM

    Thank you so much on the tips to see if they are dehydrated! We always try to gauge her panting but I know this isn’t really an accurate measure so we generally stop every 2 miles or so to offer our dog a drink. It’s good to know there is actually a method to be sure!

  3. Reply Liz Mar 24,2016 9:11 PM

    I always pack an extra peanut butter sandwich for my dog when I pack my own lunch. He now expects it on the trail.

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