on Whiteface Peak, Adirondacks NY)
This is a list of things we suggest
you bring on a hike.
Things in bold are important items, others are extras or less essential.
Hiking or backpacking can be great
fun an exercise for both people and dogs. However, you
really need to keep in mind your dog's physical condition, breed and
body type when going on hikes. Puppies should only be taken on very
hikes and should not wear a backpack. If your dog is not used to
you will need to slowly build up the length and difficulty of your
A dog that is used to leisurely walks in the city may have trouble with
steep terrain or rocky surfaces. If you go on hikes that include rock
climbing, remember that it may be easier for the dog to get up than to
Backpacking with your dog is a great strength builder and something
which many dogs enjoy. Your dog can also earn a certificate or title in
backpacking through several organizations. Some breed clubs offer
titles within their breed, such as the Alaskan Malamute Club or the
Scouts of America and AMHL
offer titles for all breeds/mixes. When beginning to pack
with your dog, first get him used to an empty pack before adding any
weight. Some dogs may have trouble realizing that the pack
makes them wider than normal, and get stuck or scrape the pack off, so
don't allow them to
walk without a leash wearing their pack. When your dog is acclimated
his/her pack, add weight slowly. Keep the weight to a minimum and be
to balance both sides evenly. The pack should sit over the dog's
not further down on the back- you don't want to put weight on the
Check your dog every so often for any rubbing or chafing of the pack's
If the pack is chafing, it is probably fitted incorrectly.
fun as hiking can be, it can also be dangerous if you and
your dog are not properly prepared. If your dog does not have a good
recall or "leave it" or may chase animals, please keep him/her on
leash! If you would like to train your dog for backpacking/hiking or
learn more about hiking safety for dogs and owners or other issues,
there are several
books on hiking with dogs.
The rules about
dogs in state and national parks vary. Some do not allow dogs at all,
allow them but not on any trails, or only on certain trails. Please
with the park before bringing your dog. For some backpacking
titles/certificates, the packing can be done anywhere- even on city
For lists of parks, try the National Park Service Website
and the Illinois
State Parks site. To find forest preserves in your area,
search for the county's park district or forest preserve website, such
as the Forest Preserve
District of Cook County. You can also find listings of
preserves in the book
Doggone Chicago , by Steve Dale.
Simple Guide to Getting Active
With Your Dog" by Margaret H. Bonham
With Your Dog: Happy Trails: What You Really Need to Know When Taking
Your Dog Hiking or Backpacking" by Gary Hoffman
With Your Dog" by Charlene G. Labelle
with Dogs: Becoming a Wilderness-Wise Dog Owner"
by Linda Mullally
Canine Hiker's Bible" Doug Gelbert
to hike with your dog)
Guide: Dog First Aid Emergency Care for the Hunting, Working,
and Outdoor Dog"
by Randy Acker
Here are a few other websites related
to hiking/backpacking with dogs.