Man Resting On Hike With Dog With Ocean View

THE PROS AND CONS OF TAKING YOUR DOG HIKING

As man’s best friend, we want to take our dogs everywhere you go. But should that include a hiking trip to the bush or a thru-hike in the mountains, You will need to weigh it up and consider all the factors before you make your decision.

PROS

IT IS LIKE HAVING AN EXTRA HIKING COMPANION

If you hike alone or in a small group, the dog becomes a companion and part of the group. It can make hiking feel less lonely, particularly if you are out in the sticks without many people about.

IT GIVES THEM EXERCISE

You don’t want to have to take them on a walk when you get home when you’ve been walking all day. Kill two birds with one stone and take your dog with you.

YOUR DOG COULD SAVE YOUR LIFE

It doesn’t just happen on TV and in old episodes of Lassie, there are heaps of real-life stories of dogs that have saved their owners lives when they have encountered trouble in the bush.

IT CAN KEEP YOU WARM AT NIGHT

If you are camping overnight, sharing your tent with a furry radiator of heat can keep the nightly chill off you.

CONS

IT CAN MEAN CARRYING A LOT OF EXTRA WEIGHT

Dog supplies, including food and water, can add a lot of weight to your pack. You can get them a backpack to share the burden but you can only give them 25% of their body weight to carry. So, you will be carrying the bulk of it.

YOU MIGHT NOT BE ABLE TO GO AS FAST

They will need plenty of breaks to cool off in the shade or a stream on warm days. This will inevitably take its toll on the mileage you can realistically achieve in a day.

YOU NEED TO MAKE EXTRA ACCOMMODATION PREPARATIONS

Some campsites don’t allow dogs and if you are hoping to stay in a hotel or guesthouse on your hike, it can be tough to get them to accept dogs. Lots of national parks don’t allow dogs. This is something else you need to check before you go.

YOU HAVE TO PUT YOUR DOG’S NEEDS BEFORE YOURS

Taking your dog hiking means walking their hike, not yours. Your attention is always on them, making sure they are safe, not misbehaving or doing anything they shouldn’t be. If you want your hike to be about something other than your dog, then leave them at home.

Taking a dog hiking with you is a wonderful experience and I would recommend trying it at least once. But it does totally change the nature of the hike and offers a different experience. This is not for everyone. Before you head out, check the regulations of any national parks you might be walking in. Some forbid dogs anyway, so you might have your decision made for you already.


 

Do you have any pros or cons to add to this article? Do you have any experience hiking with your dog? Let us know in the comments section below.

...
mm
Jake Taylor
jake.taylor@dinga.com.au

Jake is a global traveller who has recently called Australia his home again. If he's not travelling, he is writing about it and his experience.