Hikers: Can Dogs go Hiking?

Z

zenlunatic

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I've only been hiking a few times. The last hike (some time ago), it was a nine-miler on the PA AT. ROCKS! Yes, it was rocks the whole time! Definitly not good for dogs I'd imagine.

I'm seeking advice from seasoned hikers on the possibility of taking a dog hiking. I've got a medium (55lb) dog, just to let you know it's not a little weenie. She is well trained on and off leash. <corny>She is my best friend and companion</corny>. Theres got to be some dog-lovers who understand my sentiments. Out of everyone she would be my first choice to take along, although I'm an amateur and there is no way I'm going to take just her and I, but I've got hiking/caving friends to go with.

So is it a good idea to walk your dog hiking? I imagine I'd be SOL if she got hurt in the middle of nowhere.
 
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Mike Painter

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Absolutely, you can find a ton of stuff online that will help you and the dog.
Just take it easy the first few times (both of you), make sure you have water for both of you.

The only real concern is heat. Dogs can't get rid of it as easy as we can.
 
T

tygger

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A hiking dog is a happy dog. Essentials:




Make sure they don't overheat.

Water and bowl (even for short hikes)

Carry a small FAK. Ace wrap, gauze, sports tape, benadril (if they like to snap at bees), etc.

I've never used them, but for rocky terrain consider dog booties. Make sure they're comfortable wearing them first.

A pair of tweezers and a small pair of scissors can come in handy too for picking off ticks, or removing burs, foxtails, etc.

A whistle

Thats about all I can think of. Have fun.
 
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NeonLights

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Sure, we took our Newfoundland backpacking, he didn't carry anything, but he would have been capable of carrying his own food and water and maybe even some of our stuff. Definitely apply flea and tick drops before heading out though, we didn't, and picked off more than 30 ticks in the following week or two. He did great and loved it.
 
Sub_Umbra

Sub_Umbra

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Dogs may be a liability in bear country. If the dog explores and ranges around and runs into a bear he may provoke it and then come running back to you with the bear right on his tail. This has happened to friends of mine.
 
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Dizos

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My dog has been on many long hiking trips and countless dayhikes. Dogs are great wilderness companions but there are things you need to think about. Dogs get into stuff. Lots of good advice already in this thread. Include a leatherman type tool with the other items people here recommended. Pliers can be used to remove wire if your dog gets tangled in it, they are also helpful if hiking around cactus since removing a spiny stem from your dog is painful with bare hands. I would add that going through boulder fields is tough on them and can even be dangerous since it is difficult for them to get purchase on smooth rock surfaces. Lots of slipping is exhausting for them. I would recommend a harness style collar that will support her weight and keep her on a leash while going through rough terrain. Take it slow and lift her up onto tall rocks rather than letting her jump. Another thing is to observe how she reacts to wildlife. Beyond the obvious poor form of letting your dog harass wildlife, some dogs will chase and it is common for dogs to get lost while in hot pursuit of an animal. There is also the possibility of them having problems with skunks, porcupines and venomous snakes. One last worry is confrontation with aggressive dogs. Some people let their aggressive dogs run free while hiking so you want to make sure your dog is in your control at all times and put her on a leash if you see someone approaching with a dog.

Oh, and if your dog does seem to be overheating pore water over her head (though you need to balance that with an ample supply for drinking).
 
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Dizos

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i take my golden named jenny lynn, on alot of trips, and dont worry bout them, dogs are durable, they will out hike you and dont get hurt easily.

I agree that they are durable but I've witnessed far more dog incidents than people incidents when hiking. All of my above advice is from first hand experience (caught in wire, removing cactus, lost dogs, dog on dog fights, rattlesnake bite, porcupine quills, skunked dog, overheating and the slipping on boulders issue). You need to pay attention to your dog when hiking which can be difficult when you are tired.
 
P

prof

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I always take a leatherman or other tool with me, to cut barbed wire if necessary. My dog (66.6 lbs at last checkup, I kid you not) loves to go hiking, although her hip problems restrict us to easy hikes. Because she has tons of fur, I watch heat issues carefully.

Also, talk to your vet before going. There are vaccines for common water-borne illnesses--and your dog will likely drink something from a puddle no matter how careful you are.
 
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craig333

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Lots depends on the dog and where you're going. My husky would overheat easily if it wasn't a snow hike. My mutt did the 30 mile dusy jeep trail (and probably did more like 90 miles) and only wanted back in the jeep right near the end. He was also very good on the rocks. But most dogs aren't.

No more hiking or jeeping or him now. A walk around the block is as much as his old bones can handle now.

I let him out of the Jeep once and he took off after a deer. Spent four hours looking for him. Its now dark and I decide I'm going to make one more run up the road looking for him. Found him on the road heading back to camp. Black dogs should have a reflective collar. Even with a good flashlight they're hard to see.
 

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