National Take A Hike Day with Davi

Nothing is better than a hike along a scenic trail with my mom.  Unless, of course, that trail is connected to miles of other trails, all ripe for exploring, with a few squirrels crossing my path. But, for some dogs, hiking can be ruff if you are not prepared. Consider these tips before setting a course for adventure with your furry friend:

Before you go, ask yourself:

Is your dog fit enough to hike?

Don’t expect your pet to summit a mountain on the first day.  Start small.  Even if your dog exercises regularly, hiking is strenuous. Get the green light from your vet before embarking on any adventure.

Is your dog prepared to take on the terrain?

A one-mile hike can feel longer if it’s all uphill.  Make sure your canine can handle the effort. If you push too hard, your pup could end up being carried back to the car.  Find trails that are easy on paws and match their fitness level.

Is the trail pooch-friendly?  

Before heading out, do some legwork. Many National Parks and some State Parks limit which trails allow dogs. Look for additional dog rules posted at the trailhead.

Will your dog react to another dog or person on the trail?

Walking a reactive dog gets better with practice and consistency. Find the tricks that work best to keep your dog calm and relaxed on walks. With enough training, you’ll find that you’ve got yourself a much closer bond with your dog and not to mention a more relaxed walking buddy.

Is your dog tagged and chipped?

Expect the best, but prepare for the worst. In case your dog ever gets lost, a microchip and ID can help you reunite with your pet.

Is your dog current on vaccines?

You have no idea what kind of bad nasties you might be exposed to on your walk.  Make sure your dog is up-to-date on vaccines and other medications that can protect his health.

Start Packing:

  • Leash and harness
  • ID tag
  • Plenty of water and a collapsible bowl:  
  • Poop bags
  • Insect repellant
  • Towels or wet wipes
  • Benadryl – in case of an allergic reaction
  • Snacks

On the Trail:

  • Tell someone:  Stuff happens.  Let someone know where you are going and when you expect to be back.
  • Stay leashed:  You never know when your pooch might catch sight of a squirrel and take off running.  Stay leashed to stay safe from hazards and keep your dog close to you – wild life is called wild for a reason.
  • Take breaks:  Stop frequently for rest, water, and food. You and your dog need to stay hydrated and fueled while on your hike. 
  • Pick up the poop:  Pack it in, pack it out, and leave no trace.  
  • Protect his paws:  Whether rocky terrain or rugged turf, your dog’s paws need protection.  Safeguard his pads by wearing booties or applying balm.

After Your Hike:

  • Check for ticks, bugs, and burrs
  • Give your dog a bath to wash off any dirt or plant matter
  • Take a nap

Canine Trail Mix Recipe:


  • Meat (If seasoned, rinse off flavoring)
  • Peanuts (unsalted)
  • Vegetables (no onions):  sweet potatoes, green beans, carrots
  • Fruit (no grapes or raisins):  apples, banana, berries


  1. Cut ingredients into small pieces
  2. Place pieces on a tray and spray with cooking oil
  3. Place into a preheated oven (200 degrees) until dried

National Take a Hike Day is November 17th.  Grab your leash and get ready for the great outdoors! You can find dog-friendly trails at