All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking.
Hiking with your dog can add a wonderful dimension to your time on the trail—but you need to plan before you go. Note: In most states, if your dog is injured, search and rescue will not assist you. Be prepared to rescue your pet or find assistance on your own.
To hike with you, your dog should be healthy, fit and obedient.
Discuss your plans for hiking with your dog with your vet. If you plan to have your dog help carry the load, ask your vet if this is OK and how much your dog can carry. Typically young and healthy dogs can carry up to 25% of their body weight, although some breeds or individual dogs can carry 10%-15% more.
Once you've picked a trail, check to see if dogs are allowed and, if so, if leashes are required or if dogs are only allowed in limited areas. Still, it's best to keep your dog on a leash, as there may be people who are frightened of dogs or who object to them being on the trail, or there may be other dogs on the trail who may be aggressive towards your dog. Stop often to check your dogs for cuts and ticks, and again at the end of your hike.
Since dogs can't sweat, avoid hiking during the hottest part of the day.
Always carry a dog kit with:
If your dog will be carrying a pack, be sure you fit it properly. If you tighten the straps too much, the dog won't be able to breathe properly; if they're too loose, the pack could slip off or chafe.
For more on hiking with your dog, see these articles from AMC Outdoors: