For many people, hiking is the epitome of adventure and freedom. For our beloved dogs, too, a hiking tour together with their humans can be a real adventurous experience and a lot of fun. However, this is only the case if the dog’s human think about certain things. How long can you hike with a dog? Which dogs are suitable for hiking? What should I take with me? What should I do in case of cow encounters? These and other questions are answered here.
Which dogs are suitable for hiking tours?
In principle, almost any dog that meets the following requirements is suitable for a hiking tour:
- Fun on the trail: Your dog should have a certain willingness to walk over a longer period of time.
- Physical fitness: A basic level of fitness should be present. Your pet should be used to walking or running over longer distances.
- Health: Your darling should be physically and mentally healthy. Older, very young, weak, pregnant or sick animals are not suitable due to the greater exertion. Also, dogs that show behavioural problems when encountering other people or animals should rather be kept away from narrow trails.
- Breed-related requirements: Especially brachycephalic dog breeds should be excluded from longer hiking tours due to their physical limitations. Due to the deformation of the skull and the resulting shortened snout, these breeds have considerable difficulties in breathing, for example. Short legs, long backs or joint problems can also be painful if the dog exerts itself too much.
What do I need to take with me when hiking with my dog?
Since a hiking tour usually takes longer than a normal walk, you should think in advance about what things you might not want to be without. The following checklist can make packing for your pet easier:
- Basic equipment, such as a leash (short and long), chest harness and, if necessary, a muzzle (for train or gondola rides, for example).
- Excrement bags, which should not be left by the wayside but disposed of in the rubbish.
- Enough water and a bowl or container for it.
- For longer tours, possibly lasting a whole day, food should also be considered.
- A supply of snacks.
- A first aid kit and paw shoes.
- Possibly a dog backpack if you have a small dog that needs breaks in between.
At what age can a dog go hiking?
That depends on the breed. Your dog should be as fully grown as possible to avoid damage to the joints. Small breeds are fully grown at around 9-12 months, large breeds at 2 years. Choose more leisurely walks for young dogs and it is better to wait until all the growth plates are closed before going on long walks.
How long can I hike with a dog?
That depends on the condition, health, age, breed and much more. The environment also plays a role. What are the ground conditions, the gradient, the weather, etc.? A healthy, adult dog that has been slowly accustomed to longer walks can go on long hikes as long as sufficient water and breaks are provided. Make sure your dog gets enough rest the day before and after so that he is fit for the hike.
Enter the activity in the pet profile to see connections and to be able to plan enough rest.
What do I have to watch out for when hiking with a dog?
The tour should also be adapted to your fluffy friend. If your dog is not used to longer hikes, you should plan shorter stages for the first time. In any case, you should always take regular breaks.
You should also think about the weather. On very hot days, or in the midday heat, it is neither pleasant for you nor for your four-legged friend. In the warmer seasons, it is advisable to walk near a stream, lake or similar, so that your dog can cool off from time to time. Experience has shown that shady paths are preferable.
On very cold days, depending on the breed, think of ways to warm up. A Siberian husky, for example, will cope better with the cold than dogs without an undercoat. If your best friend gets cold quickly, you can also dress him in appropriate dog clothing. When walking through snow and cold, remember to groom paws.
Also consider the condition of the ground. Is the route very hilly, stony or muddy? Do you have to walk on asphalt for a long time? Especially in the summer, this can be a danger for our beloved pups, as they can burn their paws badly. When hiking in the mountains, your dog could slip, twist or even fall off. Train your dog’s balance beforehand and avoid places that could be dangerous.
Always keep your dog on a leash unless it is explicitly stated that your dog is allowed to roam freely in the area. There is a special duty of supervision, especially during the breeding and setting times of wild animals.
For hiking tours abroad, the respective regulations must also be taken into account. In this case, it is advisable to inform yourself in advance (vaccinations, pet passport, chip).
How do I get past narrow places on footpaths?
If there is oncoming traffic on narrow footpaths, it is good to sit your dog at the edge and let people pass. For short narrow sections, wait until the section is clear. If necessary, distract your dog with a treat so that oncoming people and dogs can pass. In such places it is inappropriate for dogs to greet each other or for your dog to jump at others.
How do I react when encountering cows?
If you meet other people, strange dogs and animals, it is only an advantage if your dog is on a leash. If this is not the case, call your friend to you!
Cows are basically peaceful animals, but they see dogs as enemies and defend their herd and especially their calves. On hiking trails, cows are usually used to meeting dogs, but you should always leave enough distance (approx. 20-40m) and never let your dog get close to the cow. If possible, avoid hectic and noisy behaviour, such as loud barking, to avoid disturbing the cows.
Stay on the marked trails and do not walk through a herd.
If you are actually attacked by grazing animals, unleash your dog, as it is usually faster and can flee. Leave the cow area quickly without turning your back on them.
Under certain conditions, hiking with a dog is definitely a rewarding adventure for all involved. If you always consider the dog’s constitution and plan the hiking tour well in advance, nothing will stand in the way of a hiking trip. Have fun exploring and enjoying the indescribably beautiful nature together 😉.