Author: Phoebe Cooper
National Hiking Day, also known as National Take a Hike Day, falls on November 17th each year.
National Hiking Day encapsulates our nation’s rich history of engaging with and appreciating everything that comes along with being outdoors—a breath of fresh air, separation from technology and society, exercise, mental clarity, and so much more.
National Hiking Day serves as a friendly reminder for us to get outside and enjoy all the benefits that come along with being in nature, and what better way is there to celebrate than with your dog?
Benefits of Hiking with Your Dog
While we discussed some of the benefits of hiking above, hiking with dogs can take your experience to another level. Here are some reasons why you should consider hiking with your dog:
- Keeps you and your dog active
- Provides mental stimulation to you and your dog
- Adds an extra layer of security/protection to your hike
- Provides an excuse to get outside and enjoy nature
- Offers valuable quality and bonding time for you and your dog
- May work to reduce a dogs’ destructive behaviors at home
- May help reduce your dog’s anxiety
- Provides an opportunity to socialize your dog if you encounter others on trail
Additionally, dogs are incredible when it comes to navigation, and they can help you out of some tricky situations if you get lost or hurt.
You can also opt to hike alongside other people and their dogs, and this can help you develop a community that partakes in your shared interests.
How to Find Dog-Friendly Hiking Trails
While many parks and trails are dog-friendly, there are several that aren’t, so it’s important to do your research before you head out on your hike.
Figuring out where to hike with your four-legged friend is usually as easy as a quick Google search. Type in keywords like “dog-friendly” to yield comprehensive lists of places where you can feel comfortable taking your dog.
There are also apps, such as AllTrails, that have filters that can guide you to dog-friendly trails in your areas of interest.
Another way to determine if a trail or park is dog friendly is to call the ranger station or agency that manages it for information, or you can visit their website if they have one.
Click here to view a complete map of dog-friendly and non-dog-friendly parks and places throughout the United States that fall under the National Park Service.
Tips for Hiking with Your Dog
When taking your dog on a hike, it’s important to be prepared:
Bring Food and Water
Water is an essential component of any hike, regardless of the length, because dogs can be prone to overheating and becoming dehydrated, so be sure to always have water available.
Many dog owners like to bring an easy-to-carry, collapsible water dish which they can fill with water from their personal water bottles and/or water bladders.
Alternatively, you can create a small cup using your hand for your dog to drink water out of or simply pour it out as a stream, but this often results in wasted water, and water can be precious in high-activity or remote situations.
Plan for the Weather
Always check the forecast for the area you plan to hike to ensure you’re prepared.
If the forecast is cold, you can choose to have your dog wear a sweater and/or put some boots on their paws. Just be aware that if you’re wanting your pup to wear boots, they can potentially reduce paw traction depending on the type, so don’t take them on any sort of technical or icy terrain if that’s the case, or choose hiking-specific boots that can accommodate those sorts of conditions. (Boots can also protect your dog’s paws against abrasion or other potential injuries.)
If the forecast is rainy, you can bring a towel to dry your dog off to prevent them from becoming too cold, and be prepared to get off trail for a moment to seek shelter if you want to wait out the storm (i.e. have enough supplies on hand like food and water as you shelter).
Carry a First Aid Kit
Unfortunately, injuries happen, and they can happen to your dog. Having a dog-specific first aid kit on hand while hiking is an excellent idea so that you’re always prepared for the worst.
Common on-trail dog injuries include:
- Paw injuries
- Insect bites and stings
- Joint injuries
- Encounters with poisonous or injury-inducing plants
Some companies have premade first aid kits for dogs that you can purchase, but you can also acquire the various components on your own. Here are some recommendations for what to include in a first aid kit for your dog:
- Nonstick bandages
- Adhesive tape
- Q-tips/cotton balls
- Milk of magnesia
- Antibiotic ointment
- Alcohol and antiseptic wipes
- Hydrogen Peroxide
- Any medications your dog requires or takes normally
Luckily, some of the recommended first aid kit items for dogs overlap with items you would carry in your personal first aid kit, so having one adds an extra layer of security to your hike and make you feel more confident to take on any situation that may arise.
It’s also a good idea to keep these items handy:
Leave No Trace & Honoring Regulations
The concept of “Leave No Trace” is familiar to many seasoned hikers, but it applies to dogs as well.
Always be sure to research and respect the rules and regulations of the place you choose to hike with your dog. If you don’t, this could lead to the park or trail restricting access to dogs in the future.
These regulations may include, but are not limited to:
- Cleaning up your dog’s poop (bring bags!)
- Keeping dogs on a leash
- Up-to-date vaccinations
- Keeping personal or dog food items in odor-concealing bags
- Being sure not to leave food scraps around (they can attract predators)
- Hanging food properly in areas with potential predators
Bring Your Dog’s Favorite Treats
Dogs love treats, and they can act as a nice reward for your pup after a period of intense activity and help keep them focused and refreshed.
Be sure to choose dog treats that are healthy, all-natural, and nutrient rich as they can support your dog’s active lifestyle.
Luckily, Natural Farm products meet all these criteria, and they have options for every dog.
Natural Farm’s Collagen Sticks, for example, promote better mobility and flexibility in dogs and can help keep them active longer, among other things. The same goes for Natural Farm Gullet Sticks and Beef Tendon which contain glucosamine and chondroitin. Natural Farm Bully Sticks and many other products are packed with protein, supporting muscle development and recovery.
Remember that getting outside isn’t restricted to National Hiking Day, and you can choose to make every day Take a Hike Day!
Learn more about hiking and camping with dogs using the included links.
Let us follow along with all of you and your dog’s adventures by tagging #LetsChewNatural
About Natural Farm
In 2018, after years of searching for high-quality, natural dog treat products, we decided to bring them to the market ourselves. That’s how Natural Farm was born—we wanted to present the industry with what it lacked the most: natural dog chews, treats, and bones, sustainably sourced from local suppliers and produced in our own human-grade, FDA- and USDA-approved facilities, where every product is lab tested for quality and contamination.
Natural Farm is committed to pets, people, and the planet. We give back to communities and pets in need, support reforestation efforts and nonprofits, and our products are packaged using only recycled materials.
Click below to view Natural Farm's full range today: