Hiking with Pets – Do’s and Don’ts

Taking your dog hiking can be a ton of fun, not only for you, but for your furry friend. It can be a change for them to get out of doors, and off-leash, get some exercise and be free. Here are some tips to keep your dog safe, while you’re hiking.

Do your research

Make sure the trail is dog friendly. You’ll want to consider, are there tall cliffs that a dog could fall off of? Do you have other dogs with you? Will playing with other dogs be a potentially dangerous distraction for your dog on this trail?

Dog’s Pads and Feet

Something that can be very important for your pet health in Bend, Oregon, is whether or not there is obsidian, basalt or lava rock, on the trail you’re headed out on. These can cut up your dogs’ pads, especially obsidian which is like glass. Remember that your dogs’ pads take time to get stronger and tougher, just like your feet do. If they haven’t been out on a trail in a long time, try to pick an easier run, with a shorter distance. Often times your dog is having too much fun running on the trail, to convey that their feet are hurting until serious damage has been done. So keep tabs on them, just as you would your own feet. There are great options for dog booties to protect their pads as well.


You wouldn’t head out on a dry dusty trail without a water bottle for yourself, so don’t forget about water for your dog. Chances are they’re covering more distance than you, and doing double the work you are, running ahead, and then back on the trail to check in with you. Some avid hikers get packs for their dogs, requiring their dogs to carry their own water and snacks. Whatever you decide, don’t let your canine go without a drink on the trail.

While hiking alongside a lake or river is convenient water access for your pup, be sure to do your research on whether or not there have been reports of toxic algae in your area. During certain times of the year, algae can grow, that is particularly harmful to our furry friends, so it’s important to avoid those areas. If you’re hiking along a river, it’s best to know how strong a swimmer your pup is. If they enjoy fetching sticks from the water, it’s better to know if they can handle themselves in a strong current.

Take Away

It’s best to know what your dog can or can’t handle, before you take them out on a prolonged trail adventure. Be prepared with water, first aid, and anything else you would need for yourself. Call your local Bend veterinary clinic if your dog gets injured on the trail and needs care.