The best tips for a dog-friendly mountain hike
Taking your dog mountain hiking has become a popular activity and dogs love it! We want to give you some tips for the trip and what you should consider to make sure your best friend has a great experience in the mountains!
Training starts at home
All dogs and breeds can hike. But it's still important to think about creating the conditions for your dog to cope with the trip you're planning. If you're going on a multi-day trip, it's a good idea to slowly build up your dog's fitness, coordination and recovery before the trip. Gradually increase the distance to reach the daily distance you plan to hike each day. It can also be good to walk in hilly terrain such as the middle of the woods to train your dog's coordination. This is all about teaching the dog to deal with different types of ground and getting a good balance.
Recovery is just as important as activity, if not more so. On a mountain hike, it's hugely important that your dog can rest while you do it. Therefore, teaching your dog well before departure to sit down in the forest means resting. Sit down on a stump during your walks and ignore your dog. Advantageously, have it on a leash so it learns that this situation is for recovery only.
Plan and pack
Plan your walk carefully and take your dog into account. Explore what obstacles you may encounter during the walk and if there is anything that will be difficult for your dog. For example, a suspension bridge, very rocky ground or having to wade over water.
It's not easy to know what to pack for your dog on a mountain hike. Below you can check out our packing list:
Both collar and harness to vary for need/load
Expander leash to allow more room for the dog to walk and smell
Dog blanket, the weather varies quickly in the mountains and it can get cold at night
Towel to dry paws before it's time to go into the tent/cabin
Something for the dog to lie down and rest on
Water and food bowl
Plan for your dog to eat about 150-200% more food during a mountain hike. It is therefore a good idea to give food at several points during the day to help the dog maintain energy levels, so don't increase portions/meals. It is important that the dog drinks water. Flavour the water if the dog finds it difficult to drink during the trip.
Camping with your dog
Most dogs love to camp, but it is of course a matter of habit. If your dog has never camped before, it may be a good idea to pitch the tent somewhere at home to get him used to both the sounds and the surface. The dog can either sleep inside the tent with you, in the vestibule or outside. If your dog sleeps in the tent or outside, it is a good idea to prepare with mosquito repellent, make sure you can attach the leash securely and have a leash that cannot be chewed off.
First aid for dogs
Paws wear out on rocky surfaces and especially for those dogs not used to the terrain. It may be useful to bring socks or shoes for the dog to wear on the parts where the ground is hard/stony. Always keep an eye on your dog's paws on the walk.
In addition to the paws, it may be a good idea to have a proper first aid kit tailored to your dog in your backpack. Below is a list of what we think you should have with you:
Clean plastic gloves
Antibacterial and antiseptic ointment
Scissors and tweezers
Plan carefully for your mountain trip and you will have a great experience together!