Finding the Perfect Hike for You and Your Dog
Posted by Julie Sudderth on 21st April 2015
We keep hearing about this mysterious thing called summer. While I’ve heard rumors that it has already paid visits to some very lucky residents throughout the US, from where I sit the warmer weather and sunshine has yet to make an appearance. The good news however, is that green grass, warm sun and longer days are on their way and the coming months will provide endless opportunities to get outside for a little adventure with your favorite four-legged friend.
If you’ve ever hiked with your dog, you know what a great adventure it is and how much joy it brings for both you and your pet. However, as with any adventure, a little planning goes a long way and finding the ideal hiking spot for your pet is the key to a successful day on the trails!
Finding the best spots to hike with your pet takes a little upfront research but your hard work will pay off. Considerations such as your dog’s hiking ability and health coupled with local park regulations should guide your search. Here are a few ideas on where to start for the perfect hike with your pet:
- Check with your Vet – Local veterinarians know the do’s and dont’s of hiking with pets in your area. They can offer advice on not only what trails and parks allow dogs, but also the degree of difficulty on certain trails. Finding a good hiking fit for your dog’s health is essential. Also, check with your vet to find out if you should take any equipment for your pet along with you. Often times dog boots are suggested depending on the trail’s terrain. See our Dog Hiking Checklist for a gear guide.
- Take to the Internet - Local Resources – From pet blogs dedicated to hiking with your dog to Facebook groups with similar topics, the Internet is a fantastic source to get trail reviews and recommendations from fellow dog owners. It's best to seek out local groups because there aren't any great national guides. Be sure to post your own favorite hikes and reviews of hikes to keep the community going.
- Find your app – There are several great hiking apps available but not all of them list information about taking your dog along. AllTrails Hiking & Mountain Biking is one of the few apps that provides detailed information about each park or trail, including map, distance and difficulty. Sometimes, it includes information about hiking the trail with your dog.
- Ask Around – What dog owner doesn’t like to be asked for advice? Ask your friends at the dog park, the pet store, or along your daily walking route. Chances are if they have hiked in your area, they will know the ins, outs and need-to-know info that only someone familiar with an area will know. For example, they may know trails to avoid, areas to enjoy and secret spots your pet will love.
- Read the Kurgo Blog – On our blog, we often review different hiking trails. Check out National Parks That Will Welcome Your Dog or our several reviews of dog-friendly hikes on our blog.
- Pick Up a Hiking With Dogs Book for Your Region – Check out our selection of books for hiking with your dog. From Georgia to Western Washington, the “Best Hikes with Dogs,” collection provides detailed information, trail-finding charts, proper trail etiquette tips for dog owners and their pets, tips on hiking with dogs and their special needs, dealing with wildlife encounters, and more.
Do you have a favorite hike? Share it with us in the comments below and we will include it in our next hiking roundup.
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