If you’re planning a hike with your pup, bravo! Enjoying the outdoors with your dog is a great way or both of you to get exercise and experience new sights, sounds and smells together. Here’s how to keep you and your pet safe on the trail
1. Visit your vet
Make sure your dog is up to date on its vaccines (including rabies and leptospirosis) and heartworm, intestinal worm, flea and tick preventives, and ask for a copy of your dog’s vaccine records to keep with you in case of emergency. You can also have your vet scan your dog’s microchip to make sure it’s still working. (Note: That microchip is only as good as the contact info it’s connected to, so make sure it’s up to date!). And if your dog doesn’t have a microchip, it’s an investment you won’t regret if your dog gets separated from you on the trail.
2. Know the rules
Dogs aren’t allowed on all hiking trails, so do a little research to make sure your pup is welcome to go with you. You should also know the leash law for the trail and abide by it. For example, some trails require a non-retractable leash with a maximum length of 6 ft.
3. Have an emergency vet’s information
If you’ll be hiking far from home, save the contact info for an emergency veterinary facility near the trail where you can take your pet if necessary.
4. Pack with your pet in mind
- Water bowl (and enough water for both you and your dog)
- Poop bags
- First aid kit (store everything in a waterproof Ziploc gallon bag)
- -A roll of bandage wrap, such as
- Vetrap or brown roll gauze (can also use to make muzzle)
- Butterfly bandages
- Duct tape
- Surgical tape
- Gauze squares
- Non-stick pads
- Bandage scissors
- Razor to shave hair around wounds
- Triple antibiotic ointment
- Diphenhydramine for allergic reactions or insect bites and stings (Dosage: 1 mg per pound of dog’s body weight)
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Thermometer and KY jelly or other sterile lubricant
- Styptic powder (for torn toenails)
- Sterile saline (contact lens solution) for wound or eye irrigation
- Curved tip syringe (to irrigate wounds or eyes)
5. Be prepared
It’s so important to be prepared as there are deadly diseases our dogs may encounter while out on a hike with us. Giardia: Dogs can become infected after drinking water contaminated with wild animal feces, so avoid letting your pup drink out of streams, lakes or rivers. We recommend bringing a travel water bowl to use during your travels to avoid your pet drinking out of contaminated water. Ticks: Check your dog (especially the neck and ears) for ticks after the hike. It’s important to do this in a timely manner in case a tick has attached itself to your pet.