Dear Davi,

I’ll be hitting the trail soon with my trusty human. Any advice for making our hike safe?

Sam the Swiss Mountain Dog


Hiking can be ruff if you are not prepared. Consider these tips before setting a course for adventure.

Before you go, ask yourself: 

Are you fit enough to hike?
Don’t expect to summit a mountain on your first day. Start small. Even if you exercise regularly, hiking is strenuous. Get the green light from your vet before embarking on any adventure.

Are you prepared to take on the terrain?
A one-mile hike can feel longer if it’s all uphill. Make sure you can handle the effort. If you push yourself too hard, you could end up being carried back to the car. Find trails that are easy on your paws and match your fitness level.

Is the trail pooch-friendly?
Before heading out, do some legwork. Many national parks and some state parks limit which trails allow dogs. Look for additional dog rules posted at the trailhead.

Are you capable of sharing the trail?
You will likely pass others while hiking. Make sure you’re able to handle the traffic on the trail and practice good manners.

Are you tagged and chipped?
Expect the best, but prepare for the worst. If you get lost, a microchip and ID can help reunite you with your human.

Are you current on vaccines?
There’s no telling what kind of bad nasties you might be exposed to on your walk. Make sure you’re up-to-date on vaccines and other medications to protect your health.


  • Leash and harness, ID tag and/or chip
  • Plenty of water and a collapsible bowl
  • Poop bags
  • Insect repellant
  • Towels or wet wipes
  • Benadryl, in case of an allergic reaction
  • Snacks

On the Trail

  • Stuff happens. Let someone know where you’re going and when you’ll be back.
  • Stay leashed: You might see a squirrel and take off running. Stay leashed to stay safe from hazards and close to your human — wild life is called wild for a reason.
  • Take breaks: Stop often for rest, water and food. You need to stay hydrated and fueled on your hike.
  • Pick up your poop: Pack it in, pack it out and leave no trace.
  • Protect your paws: Whether rocky terrain or rugged turf, your paws need protection. Safeguard your pads by wearing booties or applying balm.

After Your Hike

  • Check for ticks, bugs and burrs
  • Get a bath
  • Take a nap

Canine Trail Mix Recipe

  • Meat (If seasoned, rinse off flavoring)
  • Peanuts (unsalted)
  • Vegetables (no onions): sweet potatoes,green beans, carrots
  • Fruit (no grapes or raisins): apples, banana, berries


  • Cut ingredients into small pieces
  • Place pieces on tray and spray with cooking oil
  • Place into a preheated oven (200°F) until dried

National Take a Hike Day is Nov. 17, so grab your leash and get into the great outdoors!

You can find dog-friendly trails at: hikewithyourdog.com.

Happy trails,


Davi the dachshund hasn’t summited Mount Everest … yet!