Hiking

Best dog hiking gear 2022: The products we tested (and loved) for hiking with dogs

Now that the weather is warm, people are flocking outside. Between visiting a national park, state parks, and local trails, there are tons of places to get out and enjoy nature. If you’re a pet owner, hiking with a dog is a great way to get exercise for you and your four-legged friend.

But before we can say happy trails to you and your pup, read some common pre-hike precautions and learn about the best dog hiking gear we’ve tested and approved before your next outdoor adventure. outdoors.

How to hike with your dog

  1. Check the trail or park website for dog restrictions. Many national and state parks have strict rules about where dogs can be found. Some only allow puppies on paved roads, in campsites or in parking lots, while others have designated trails that dogs can be on. Trails that allow dogs usually have a six-foot leash rule, so don’t show up off-leash or with a long line, even if your pup is trained.

  2. Check the weather and prepare accordingly. If it’s going to be over 85 degrees Fahrenheit, plan to bring dog boots. The ground gets significantly warmer than the air temperature, so your pup can burn their paws on almost any surface, even dirt, during the summer months. You’ll also want to pack enough water to keep you and your pup hydrated, and bring sunscreen for both of you if you’re in direct sunlight. Dogs can get sunburn too!

  3. Bring plenty of water, treats and food if you’ll be away for a long time. This one is pretty self explanatory, but be sure to bring plenty of dog treats, food, and water so your hiking buddy can carry on the whole hike.

  4. Accustom your dog to his equipment in advance. If you’re using boots, a new harness, or a dog backpack, be sure to get your dog used to their gear in the weeks leading up to your hike. Practice positive matching games with tasty treats so they learn to love their boots and backpack.

  5. Start slowly. If your dog has never been on a hike before, plan to take a short, easy hike for your first outing. You’ll be able to build up length and difficulty as you walk together, but don’t go too hard the first time, or you might end up dragging a tired pup back to the car.

SEE ALSO:

Best Dog Camping Gear: We Tried (and Loved) These 8 Products

Does my dog ​​need boots to go hiking?

As we noted in our roundup of the best dog camping gear, your dog won’t need boots for hitting the trail, but they can help significantly reduce the risk of paw injuries and help with traction on slippery sections of hiking. For dog owners who want to hike in the summer, remember that if the air temperature is above 85 degrees Fahrenheit, most surfaces, even dirt, will be too hot for your dog’s paw pads. Hot ground temperatures can cause dog paw blisters if exposed for too long, so play it safe and opt for a pair of dog boots.

A pair of boots will also protect against leg injuries that are common in outdoor dogs. Puppies can tear paw pads, step on sharp sticks, rocks or misplaced glass, and can even break their nails while hiking, so protecting their feet with boots will save you the stress of a dog injury. paw later.

However, don’t plan to break the dog’s boots for the first time before a long hike. Not all dogs put on their boots quickly, and your pup may refuse to walk or try to take their boots off the first time you try them on. Practice wearing the boots in the weeks leading up to your first outdoor outing and be sure to bribe, I mean, desensitize your dog to the boots with many tasty snacks.

Leave no trace when hiking with a dog

It might be a no-brainer, but adhering to principles of leaving no trace is of utmost importance when you are outdoors with a dog. Every dog ​​owner should remember that dogs can disrupt the natural flow of nature, so be sure to pick up dog feces, keep your pup away from wildlife, and don’t allow them to dig anywhere on the trail. . After leaving no trace and being a responsible pet owner, outdoor recreation spots remain beautiful and accessible for future generations of pets and hikers.

How we got to this list

As an avid hiker, Miso (he’s my dog) helped me test every dog ​​hiking gear on our list of the best dog hiking gear. Read on to get our gear review for each and see what we liked the most after hitting the trail again and again: