Should My Dog Really Go on This Hike? A Question I Always Ask Myself

Should My Dog Really Go on This Hike? A Question I Always Ask Myself

For us dog people, we are always finding ways to bring our dogs with us everywhere. This includes hiking to some of the world’s most beautiful places and sharing those experiences with our furry friends, but sometimes we forget that our dogs are not us.

Sure our dogs can handle a lot (sometimes more than we can), but there are times when you have to think about your pup’s limitations before heading out on your next adventure.

But how do you know if your dog can tackle the next big mountain?

Trail Rules & Regulations

A good indicator of whether or not your pup can handle a trail is by checking in with the trail rules and regulations. If the trail specifically says “No Dogs” then your dog is probably better left at home than scrambling up the side of a vertical cliff.

Your Limitations vs. Your Dog’s

Have you never hiked 15 miles roundtrip before? The likelihood that your dog can handle a longer hike than you’ve ever done is slim. Sure, they’re descendants of the wolf, but the wolf also doesn’t get to lie at home on the couch 5 days a week while you’re at home.

If you’re unsure if you can make a hike, your time is better spent working up to that long of a hike with your dog over a span of a couple of weeks than just throwing them out there into the wild, hoping you’ll both make it out alive.

Would You Do It?

One of the things that’s important to remember when you’re hiking is to never push your dog too close to the edge. If you’re uncomfortable sitting on the ledge dangling your feet over the canyon, your dog is most likely feeling the same way or even worse.

Doing it for the gram is all in good fun when it’s just you, but NEVER push your dog far out of her comfort zone just to get a good photo.

Past Experiences

If your dog doesn’t do well with heights and you learned this the hard way climbing up a mountain before, don’t try and take them out again on a hike that’s similar. Always do your research ahead of time to verify the elevation, trail distance, and weather to ensure that your pup has a great time without all the issues you’ve experienced before.

All this said, taking your pup on adventures with you is one of the best ways to experience life. There are some hikes I won’t ever do until I don’t have a dog, but I feel that sharing these moments with my pup is more important than checking everything off my list all at once.

Dogs make the best hiking buddies and you will be hard pressed to see me on the trail without mine.

Remember to always be safe, smart, and keep it wild.


This blog was thoughtfully written by Erin Maxson. You can find her on Instagram @airmax14 and her dog @thedownward_dog

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