Top Tips for Hiking With Your Dog!
I’m Polly and my 5-year-old Cocker Spaniel is called Nel (@Nelthecocker). We have been an explorer since January and we love writing adventure blogs, and listing all of our top dog friendly finds!
One of our favourite things to do with Nel is hike; we take her on holiday around the UK a lot so we are always exploring new walks. Round where we live (North West) there are some beautiful walks, we’ve listed a lot of them but our favourite are Brock Bottom, Beacon Fell and Stannah Wyre Estuary Country Park!
These are all of our top tips to keep under your belt when going hiking with your dog!
Take a Backpack
The first tip to note when going hiking with your dog is to take a backpack! I take my Dog Robes Dog Walking Backpack; I use a backpack because I have a bad shoulder so across the body bags don’t really work for me!
I definitely recommend taking some kind of walking bag so you don’t have pockets filled with all kinds of things! I always carry an equafleece, a small blanket for Nel to sit on (in case we find a pub!), a towel, gloves, water, snacks, treats, poop bags and my purse! So you can see why a bag, for us, is a must! Ours is water-resistant as well so that’s a trait which I find extremely useful.
Make sure you stock up on poop bags!
Hiking with your dog means one thing – picking up poop! I always make sure I pack at least 2 rolls of poop bags because I have nightmares of being caught out! I have a poop bag holder attached to Nel’s lead and then another roll in my backpack… you can never be too prepared!
Dicky Bag also do a great bag you can clip to your bag, where you pop the ‘filled’ poop bags so you don’t have to carry it around with you the whole hike; when you’re out for hours with no bin in sight you’ll be very thankful!
Make sure you have plenty of water and snacks
For you and the pooch!! I always have Nel’s bottle of water and a drink for me as well. Dogs can get dehydrated very quickly, so you must make sure that you have a water bottle on hand. You yourself can also get dehydrated, and I don’t know about you but I turn into the she-devil when I’m super thirsty and there is nothing to drink! Another factor which turns me into the she-devil is when I’m hungry.
If you are hiking with your dog for a long time then you have to keep your energy up so pack snacks! Along with your energy, pack high value, high energy treats for your pooch!
Always be prepared
I own a little dog first aid kit, just in case anything happened and I needed to do a quick fix. Most of these little kits also include a tick remover which I cannot stress enough is so important! If you have never removed a tick before and don’t know how to then I recommend you get a vet to do it because if you leave the head in then it can get infected, which can cause a number of issues! I always have my tick remover on hand… growing up in the country means I can remove a tick with my eyes closed.
Always let someone know the route you are going, just in case anything happens and they can let authorities know where you are. Let them know what time you are expected back as well, even if you’re hiking with people! If you do get into a situation where you need help, if you dial ‘999’ and ask for ‘police’ then ‘mountain rescue’ then this will direct you to the emergency rescue. It is always important to know as you never know when you may need it.
English weather is extremely, extremely bipolar… it can go from bright sunshine to tipping it down in a matter of seconds, so I always make sure I have a waterproof jacket packed.
In warm weather, I take a very thin one so at least I get some shelter from the rain!
This applies to pooch as well, I always have Nels equafleece packed; just in case. Check out fellow Explorer Chelseas guide on dog coats. A towel is also very handy, not even if it rains… Nel is like a duck to water, if it’s around then she will find it.
I have gone through way too many pairs of walking shoes, but my go-to is, and always will be, Dublin River Boots. They are comfy, waterproof and very, VERY warm! I hate having cold feet so this is a must for me! They also cover my calves so they keep my legs warm and clean because I always end up with mud everywhere; so at least one place of my body is spared! A good pair of walking shoes will change your hikes forever, making them so much more enjoyable.
Make sure you know where you’re going
Please, always make sure you know the route (or at least a rough idea!) When we first started hiking, it was my turn to choose the hike! So I did so, I found the starting point and went ‘ah, it’ll be fine’; a habit that I seem to have! Winging it! 6 and a half hours later, we were wandering aimlessly wondering why the website said it would only take 3 hours. I learned my lesson! Now I always study the route, taking screenshots and notes of the points of interests we will encounter; and things we should see along the walk. I also save the map route, because believe you me; it is very easy to get lost if the path isn’t marked well!
Take in the views and have fun!
We really try to put our phones away to enjoy the views and time together. It is super easy to only see the views through your phone screen; I definitely do stop for photos! However, I make sure I limit this to really enjoy the scenery, and make the most of being away from all the hustle and bustle.
Hiking with your dog is so peaceful, there is nothing like being surrounded by nature watching your dog have the time of its life! So make the most of it, laugh when things go slightly wrong and you end up stuck in the mud; smile when your dog decides to go mud diving and when it rains heavier than you could ever imagine, do a rendition of dancing in the rain!
If you have any more top tips for hiking with your dog, please let me know! If there’s something that make it easier, I would love to know.