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Hiking with your Dog for the First Time

Hiking with your Dog for the First Time

You’ve heard that spending time in nature reduces stress and improves well-being. And exercising outdoors? That’s even better! You also know how good it would be for Fido to explore a new place and burn off some pent-up energy. Up until now, you just haven’t had the time or, let’s face it, the energy.

Well, today’s the day. You’re ready to trade up your usual walk around the block for a daytime adventure in the vast wilderness — or at least a public park.

You and your canine companion are prepared. You’ve chosen a short, dog-friendly trail with access to clean water and plenty of shade. Your pup is in good health and up to date on all vaccinations. She walks well on a leash and resists the temptation to bark at other dogs and chase squirrels — I mean, for the most part.

To help ensure a successful first trek, there are a few supplies you’ll want to consider bringing with you. We’ve compiled the list below for you to use as a basic guideline.

  1. Portable Bowls for Water/ Food

If you’re just going a couple miles, you probably don’t have to bring food; however, a collapsible travel bowl for water is a must! When you’re thirsty, you can bet your dog is too. It goes without saying that if you don’t have access to fresh water on the trail then you must pack your own.

Collapsible Bowls by Terrain D.O.G.


  1. Leash and Harness

Even if your dog roams free in your yard and you think they do a GREAT job of staying close, it’s still a good idea to keep them on a leash at the trail; in fact, it may be a requirement depending on your area’s leash laws.

Why not a collar instead of a harness? A collar is OK, but a harness will be more comfortable for your dog long term. It also gives you a little more control if they do decide to dart. *Squirrel!*

Harnesses by Terrain D.O.G


  1. First Aid Kit for Dogs

Dogs are susceptible to scrapes, splinters and ticks on the trail just like we are. For a short hike, we’d recommend carrying these basics in your first aid bag to address minor injuries:

For serious injuries, consult your veterinarian right away.

  1. Waste Bags

Keep our public parks doo-doo free and show consideration for other hikers by picking up after your dog.

Have a hard time remembering to pack plastic bags? Attach a waste bag dispenser to your leash so you don’t even have to think about it.

Waste Bags by Terrain D.O.G.

  1. ID tags

There’s always a chance of becoming separated from your pet when exploring a new place. A dog identification tag including your dog’s name, your primary phone number and the city in which you live is the best way to reunite you and your dog should anything happen.

Lost dogs with a collar and tag are also more likely to be seen as approachable and therefore have a better chance of receiving help.

In addition to this basic list, consider the trail’s terrain and the weather conditions the day of the hike. Dog booties may be necessary on ground that is too hot or snow packed. You may want to equip your dog with a coat in the cold winter months, especially if they have a short coat.

We hope this short list will help you prepare for your first hike together. Along with providing some health benefits, hiking is also an excellent chance to enhance the relationship between you and your dog. Remember, if it doesn’t go perfectly, tomorrow is a new day. Putting in a little extra time for training is totally worth the adventures that are sure to come.

From all of us at Terrain D.O.G.®, happy trails!

Written by Christina Keim, Terrain D.O.G.® team member