Best Tips for Hiking with Your Dog

Hiking along trails with your dog can be such a fun and adventurous experience that both you and your dog will love. It’s also a great way to increase the bond you have with your dog. So, let’s make your next hiking trip is as fulfilling as it could possibly be, with these top tips for hiking with your dog.

  1. Always bring cash, in case your hiking trail has a parking fee. A twenty dollar bill should be enough.
  2. In some baggies, or whatever small container you have, pack some dog food. You never know what can happen out on a trail. If you’re away longer than you planned, you need to make sure your dog has food.
  3. Pack some water bottles. Make frequent stops along your hike to make sure your dog stays hydrated. Frequent stops for drinking water and rest will help keep exhaustion away, making your pup’s hike an amazing experience. Knowing your dog’s needs and providing them to him/her when he/she needs it, will help strengthen the bond with your dog. It will help build a mutual understanding between you and your dog and the bond between you and your dog will have no choice but to grow and strengthen.
  4. Collapsible travel dog bowls are a great addition to gear when you are going hiking with your dog. You can put food and/or water in them and, when your dog is done with them, they are very easily cleaned. Collapsible dog bowls usually have a hook that allows you to easily hook them to your backpack or your dog’s backpack, which brings us to tip #5.
  5. Think about buying your dog a backpack. Some dogs love this and the feeling of having a job. Make sure to keep the contents, inside your dog’s backpack, light. My shepherd mix is 55lbs and I will put a couple water bottles in her pack, at most. At times I’ll put baggies of her food on one side and a water bottle on the other. If your dog’s backpack has a place to do so, you can even hook you dog’s collapsible bowls to the backpack. Just make sure to keep it light. If your dog shows signs of exhaustion, remove all the weight. Signs could be, heavy panting, tongue is hanging far outside your dog’s mouth, steps seem heavy and slow, steps are getting wider, etc…
  6. Before you head out to the trail, check with the local game and fish department for what wildlife is in the area. This will allow you to prepare for what animals you might encounter. In Arizona, snakes, scorpions, coyotes, mountain lions, bobcats, peccary (Javelina), and many more wildlife species are prevalent and could be of danger to your dog. Also, know what plants could potentially harm your dog. Cactus’s are a very common plant to come across on many trails in and around the Phoenix, AZ area.

Click here for the Arizona Game and Fish department


  1. Talk to your veterinarian about what common injuries can happen to your dog while they are hiking. Ask how to treat these injuries and what things you could put in a first-aid kit to provide treatment, if necessary.
  2. DON’T LET YOUR DOG OFF-LEASH! Even if well trained, it is very possible that your dog may smell something that peaks his/her curiosity and that “thing” could end up harming him/her. Also, wild animals may be very intriguing and your dog could chase after the wild animal. You don’t want your dog to become lost, out on the trail! It’s just not worth it.
  3. YOUR DOG DETERMINES WHEN YOUR HIKE STOPS. NOT YOU! If your dog is tired out on the trail, it is your job as this dog’s owner to notice it and stop the hike immediately. Don’t wait until it’s too late. At the first sign of being tired, you need to consider ending the hike and heading back to your car or camp. If you wait until your dog is exhausted and your 2 miles from Base, then you have a problem. Always be thinking ahead. It’s your responsibility!
  4. DON’T HIKE WITH YOUR DOG DURING THE SUMMER IN ARIZONA! No exceptions. Even in early mornings and late nights, it is too hot to hike with your dog. Even though there are nationally recognized dates for Summer’s beginning and end, in Arizona, it stays extremely hot for months before and months after. If it’s 2 months from the beginning of Summer or 2 months after the end of Summer, then you can proceed with caution. Too many dogs die from heat exhaustion, in Arizona, from owner’s who claim they didn’t know better or they said “Oh, my dog will be okay.” Don’t be that person! It’s not fair to your dog, it’s negligent, and is considered animal abuse.

Now that you have the best tips for hiking with your dog, plan your next hiking trip by, first, taking a look at:

Fur Heart’s “Best 3 Hiking Trails in Arizona”.