Research the right trail for you and your dog. Whether you have been hiking your entire life or a beginner, hiking with your dog is an activity for everyone. However, you want to make sure that you take both your and your dog’s fitness levels into account when you decide to go on a hike. Luckily, there are so many resources available online to do research.
My favorite to start with is AllTrails. AllTrails lets you know the distance, elevation gain, and even the scenery of a lot of trails all over the place. Plus, you can filter hikes by whether or not they are dog friendly, which if hiking with your dog is definitely important.
I personally enjoy trails that are on the shorter side–around 3 to 5 miles with less than 500 ft elevation gain per mile. I also look for trails that have a lot of shade and either a waterfall or some other scenic element to enjoy.
Pack Just in Case
Pack like you could end up stuck. While unlikely, when hiking you want to prepare for the worst, which means bringing snacks for both you and your dog. Having a favorite bag of Earthborn treats is a must. I also always make sure to bring lots of water, and living in Southern California it is a must. There are a ton of trails that don’t have any water, so be sure to pack enough for you and the pups.
It’s important to bring a first aid kit as well. Your first aid kit should have supplies for both you and the pup. Here, a dog friendly antihistamine is important because it is one way to help your dog in case of something serious like a rattlesnake bite. Another supply I bring is something to carry my dog out in case they are injured and can’t walk on their own. These are things I bring with me every time I hike.
Check the Weather
Every year there are stories of someone losing their pup to heat exhaustion. Whether it’s winter, summer or somewhere in between, check the weather. California is known for its beautiful days. But those beautiful days mean we have 90 degree days in December and hotter days in the summer sometimes. And you don’t want to get stuck on a long trail with no shade in triple-digit weather. And trust me, there are plenty of those in the state.
Here are my top three favorite hikes in California:
Have fun! You are out enjoying nature with your bestest of friends, so take the time and bond with them. Enjoy it as much as they do.