How to Take Smaller Dogs for Hikes


Whenever the words ‘dog’ and ‘hike’ come together in the same sentence, the image that comes up in our minds is of a ferocious Rottweiler or a hyperactive Labrador wearing sophisticated doggy gear and conquering the difficult terrains of an uphill trail. Nobody ever imagines a cute little pug waddling on a narrow track or a friendly beagle jumping from one rock to another in an attempt to climb up the slope. If you have a small dog, you would have fallen prey to this preconceived notion that the bodies of smaller dogs aren’t fit enough for hikes, this is just the push you need, to take your furball for their next big little adventure.

Dealing with The Basics

First of all, you need to ensure that your dog is trained on the leash and obeys your commands. Leash training is an essential requirement before hiking with any dog, big or small. Then, take them for a quick visit to the pet just to be sure they’re physically fit for a hike. This is a crucial step because you don’t want to be stuck in a spot where your dog’s body gives in during the hike and the nearest vet is a few hundred meters below. Below, not away.

Carry Dihydrogen Monoxide. Loads of it.

Relax, that’s just a fancy chemistry term for water. During hikes, it is extremely important for you and your little pooch to stay hydrated. While you may only need water for drinking, your dog is going to need it for cooling down as well. Since they have a small body, they exert more energy to move up on steep and rocky terrains, and that will cause them to overheat. Every time you take a water break, check if your pup’s body is heated up, and cool them down either by pouring water on their body or soaking a towel and wiping them with it. To give them water to drink, you can also carry a collapsible water bowl that will fit easily in your backpack and be convenient for your pup to slurp from.

A Friend in Need

Even though small dogs are equally capable of hiking as bigger breeds, they are going to require more breaks since they burn more energy. Keep checking for signs of overexertion and make sure to cool them down every now and then, especially after covering a difficult patch during the hike. Some feats will still be physically impossible for them to accomplish, like crossing wide streams and jumping over large obstacles. So, ensure that you choose a trail that’s easy and be prepared to carry them whenever the need arises. A smart thing to do would be to carry a dog pack so you can carry your pupper in it and have both your arms free for supporting yourself during the hike.

Treat or Treat? Treats!

As we already mentioned, the tiny pooch is more likely to burn a larger amount of energy and tire out easily, so carry treats for them to keep boosting them up. Needless to say, giving them a treat right after they conquer a seemingly rough patch will spike their enthusiasm and keep them excited for the rest of the hike.

Prevention is Better than Cure

But pack the ‘cure’, just in case something goes awry. Pack and carry a first-aid kit for emergencies. Dogs are likely to hurt their paw pads on rocky trails, so it is recommended you carry the right antiseptic to clean the wound and the bandages to wrap it up. Also, carrying a dog pack will be a great help if your dog gets injured on the way and can’t complete the hike.

These tips are not to hold you from giving your little pooches the time of their lives. Just to keep you prepared before you set out on you next adventure with your best friend. And, don’t miss it for anything under the sun!   

If you have hiked with a small dog before and have more tips on how to hike with a small dog, leave us a comment below and help a fellow little-pooch owner.


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