Top tips for summer hiking with your doggo

Safety first. Fun always.

6 minute read

A tan and white dog hikes outside in the late afternoon light against a field of tall grasses and a blue sky with clouds

Summer is here and what better way to enjoy the great outdoors than by hiking or taking a leisurely stroll on the trails with your beloved four-legged companion? To ensure that you and your dog have a bark-tastic time on your summer excursions, we’ve gathered twelve important tips that will keep tails wagging.

1. Tailor your hike to your dog's fitness level.

Remember, not all pets are created equal when it comes to endurance. Be considerate of your furry friend's fitness level and choose a trail that matches their capabilities. Trust us; nobody wants to carry a pup up a steep mountain trail. When in doubt, go for the simpler route.

2. Know your trail and your route.

Before setting out on your hiking escapade, take the time to research and familiarize yourself with the trail and the route. Nothing ruins a fun adventure faster than getting lost and turning a leisurely hike into an unintentional marathon. So, grab a map, check online resources, or download a hiking app to ensure you're on the right path. Remember, your dog might have a great sense of smell, but they're not necessarily the best at reading trail signs. Save yourself from any "whoops, wrong turn" moments and keep your hiking adventure the right kind of long – full of laughter, not exhaustion.

3. Keep the identification on fleek.

When you're out exploring the wilderness with your dog, or truly, anytime, it's crucial to have them properly identified. Ensure your furry friend is wearing a collar with up-to-date identification tags. Include your dog's name, your contact information, and any relevant medical information. In case your adventurous buddy decides to chase a squirrel and runs off accidentally or intentionally (hey, it happens), having ID tags can be a lifesaver. Plus, it gives your dog a sense of style—a fashionable statement piece that says, "I'm ready for any adventure, and I belong to the coolest human ever!" So, tag 'em up, and let the world know that your hiking partner is a true trailblazer.

4. Mind the heat: health 101.

A black dog with white accents sits in the background siting on grass and looking at a thermometer on a fence in the foregroundAs much as your furry friend loves to accompany you on your summer hikes, it's crucial to be mindful of the temperature and ground conditions. Their feet can’t take the heat. Dogs' paw pads are sensitive and can get burned on hot surfaces. To ensure a comfortable and safe hiking experience, make sure to check the temperature of the ground before setting out on your adventure. Use the tried-and-true hand test: Place your hand comfortably on the pavement for ten seconds. If it feels too hot for your hand, it's definitely too hot for your dog's precious paws. Don’t take your dog if it’s hot.

And if it’s hot and humid outside, don’t take your dog. The temperatures of 89.6 degrees F and above are most dangerous for hikes and increase the likelihood of heat-related health problems. When in doubt, play it safe and stay home.

5. Go when the time is right.

A large balck dog sits on the water's edge on a blanket with a woman

Hike during cooler hours, such as early morning or late evening. Explore shaded trails or opt for hiking on grass or dirt paths and never on hot pavement. You can both enjoy a leisurely stroll.

6. Be mindful of altitude.

A beagle mix dog with brown and white fur sports a red harness and sits in front of a snow capped mountain range

When planning a summer hike with your furry friend, it's essential to be mindful of altitude changes. Just like humans, dogs can experience altitude sickness when exposed to higher elevations.

7. Pack the essentials, like water.

A yellow lab dog in a green field drinks water out of a blue bowl held by a person's hand

When venturing into the wilderness, it's crucial to bring the necessary supplies. Make sure to pack plenty of water, a collapsible water bowl, or a bottle-bowl in one. Use an insulated bottle so that the water doesn’t heat up. If the outside temperature is above 70 degrees F, make sure to stop at least once per hour to offer your dog water, or more frequently.

As far as safety essentials, you can either carry first-aid supplies for both you and your pet, or keep this in your car to always have on hand.

8. Take snacks for the both of you.

Two black and white dogs get a treat from a human hand while hiking and a white dog sits patiently behind

Who doesn't love a little snack break, especially if you’re going on a leisurely stroll? Pack some dog-friendly treats for your pet, and don't forget to pack some goodies for yourself as well. Sharing is caring, after all! Just be sure to keep the snacks separate, or you might end up eating dog biscuits (which can be a little ruff).

9. Poop-ocalypse preparedness.

A man's hand holds a red leash and a poop bag while hiking with his tan dog out in nature

Nature might be calling. Carry a supply of poop bags for your four-legged hiking buddy. Mother Nature appreciates responsible pet owners who clean up after their dogs, and so do your fellow hikers. Remember to bring enough bags to handle any unexpected "land mines" along the way. And if you ever run out of bags, well, let's just say it's time to get creative and improvise with some wilderness-friendly alternatives. But let's hope it doesn't come to that. So, be a conscientious hiker, leave no trace, and always be prepared for the poop-ocalypse that might strike when you least expect it.

10. Leash laws unleashed.

A woman hikes with a tan dog with black ears in a field with tall grasses

While we all love to see our dogs frolic freely in the great outdoors, it's important to respect and adhere to leash laws in hiking areas. Leashes aren't just for controlling your pup; they also play a significant role in their safety. Even the most well-trained and obedient dog can get easily distracted or encounter unexpected situations while out on a hike.

By keeping your dog on a leash, you not only ensure their safety but also the safety of other hikers, wildlife, and even your own furry friend. It prevents potential conflicts with other dogs, keeps your dog from wandering off onto dangerous paths, and minimizes the chances of any unplanned episodes (like your dog chasing a squirrel and leading you on a wild chase through the forest). So, let's follow the rules and keep those leashes intact.

11. Protect yourself, your family, and your dog from bugs.

Woman holds a bottle of Wondercide cedarwood Flea & Tick Pets + Home insect repellent spray while a black and tan dog waits to be sprayed for protectionTicks, fleas, and mosquitoes are sneaky little critters that can quickly ruin your hiking experience. They’re lurking in the brush, ready to pounce, bite, or latch onto you or your dog. Stay one step ahead of them by using Wondercide, the ultimate protector against these tiny terrors. Wondercide’s plant-powered sprays, collars, and spot-ons keep the bugs at bay. It's like having a magical force field that repels those unwanted visitors, so you can focus on enjoying the great outdoors without worrying about unwanted bloodsuckers.

For the family, use Wondercide’s insect repellent sprays. Just like the sprays for pets, they come in four scents you’ll love but the ticks and mosquitoes don’t. And when you get home, do a tick-check and shower with Wondercide’s Repel soap bar with geranium and citronella.

12. Capture the memories.

A man in a blue button down with a white tshirt underneath snaps a selfie with a golden retriever while hiking

What's a hike without some pawsome photos to document the adventure? Bring a camera or use your smartphone to capture those hilarious moments and precious memories with your furry friend. A snapshot of your dog wearing sunglasses and a tiny backpack is guaranteed to bring smiles for years to come!

Hiking with your dog can be a fun and relaxing experience. By following these tips, you'll be well-prepared. So on a cool morning or evening, lace up your shoes, pack your sense of fun, and embark on an unforgettable journey with your four-legged adventurer this summer. Happy trails and endless serenity await you.