Hiking with your Furry Friends
Many dogs make excellent hiking buddies and Los Angeles County is home to hundreds of dog-friendly trails – click here to check out our list of trails and filter for those that allow your canine companion to join you.
Before you and your dog hit the trail, keep in mind that the right planning and preparation will help ensure you, your dog, and other hikers will have a great day outdoors.
Health, Fitness and Age
Before you hit the trail, consider your dog’s fitness level. If your daily walks consist of a leisurely stroll around the block then a 10-mile hike or challenging terrain might not make for the best first day out on the trails.
Don’t forget to check with your veterinarian to see if your dog is up to date on vaccinations, preventative medicines, and has been treated for ticks and fleas. Your vet can also advise you on safe ages for younger dogs to hit the trail.
Dogs are more susceptible to heat stroke than humans, especially dogs who are not used to big hikes in hot weather. Choose a time of day that is appropriate for hiking with your dog in terms of the temperature. A good rule of thumb: If the ground is too hot for your hand, it’s too hot for your dog’s paws.
Don’t forget to bring plenty of water for your dog no matter the weather.
Dogs are required to be on leash on all trails at all times. Keeping your dog on leash not only respects other hikers, dogs, and equestrians on the trail but also protects your dog from unexpected dangers like rattlesnakes, poison oak, or sick or injured wildlife. A leash, sturdy collar and current ID tags also prevents your dog from getting lost.
While on the trail, your dog needs to be able to stay calm as other people, dogs, and horses pass by. Not everybody you meet on the trail wants to meet your dog. Some people, especially children, and horses may feel threatened or frightened. And don’t assume that all other dogs on the trail are friendly or obedient.
Always clean up after your dog. Your dog’s waste is not just gross, it’s also potentially harmful to wildlife. Always pack your “poop bags” in and out, disposing in proper trash receptacles at the trailhead.
Lastly, never leave your dog in the car while you are out on the trail. Even on cooler days, a locked car can reach temperatures that can be fatal.