How Much Water Should I Bring For My Dog Hiking?

Dogs need water while hiking, especially in hot weather. How much water you bring depends on where you go, what you do, and how long you hike. You can either carry bottled water with you or give your dog filtered water.

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Don’t let your dog drink from a stream unless you treat it properly. Like humans, dogs are susceptible to water contaminants. Drinking salty water may lead to diarrhea and vomiting.

You’ll have to check with the area for known, reliable sources of water. If you are not sure about reliable water sources, bring your own water to be on the safe side. It also helps to store drinking water in your car for after your hike or for emergencies.



As a general rule for a moderate 2 hour hike, plan to bring 32 oz. of water (16 oz per hour) for yourself and more for your dog. Considering that a dog needs about an ounce of water per pound weight per 2 hours, a 30 pound dog would need about the same amount as you. It never hurts to bring more water than you need, especially in hot or dry weather. Offer water to your dog frequently and let him take small sips

Every person and dog will differ in water needs. Use our guideline as a baseline, but it’s important to get a good estimate on how much you and your dog really need by going on a series of short hikes. Record how much water you and your dog consume every hour and under what conditions. By the time you go on a long hike or backpacking trip, you’ll have a good estimate for how much water you really need for you and your dog.

Be sure to read our articles regarding our top picks for water filters and water bottles that are suitable to use with your dog. Most will even fit in your dog’s backpack and can be shared with you. Or, you can always buy your dog his own filter or bottle!



We are not veterinarians or food nutritionists. We do provide some general tips that may apply universally, but every human and dog has different nutritional needs. Please consult your doctor and vet for information that pertains specifically to you and your dog.

Remember that dogs may actually ingest water if they are playing in water. Make sure play time is kept at about 15-30 minutes. Your dog may actually ingest a lot of water if they retrieve balls or sticks in the water. One way to reduce the amount of water your dog ingests during play is to toss him a flat toy instead a round toy which forces your dog to open their mouth more.

If your dog likes to play with the water hose, don’t spray water directly in your dog’s mouth. This can force your dog to guzzle up too much water.


It’s easy to tell if you are thirsty, but if your dog is not drinking enough water consistently on hikes, it could lead to diseases and serious health problems down the road. If your dog is sick or has a fever, he may also refuse to drink.

Signs of dehydration in dogs:

  • Pale, Dry Gums
  • Excessive Panting
  • Lethargy
  • Sunken Eyes
  • Loose Neck Skin That Doesn’t Retract Quickly After You Pinch It


Talk to your vet right away if your dog is dehydrated. You could wrap your dog up in a wet towel on your way to the vet. Consult your vet about giving your dog more water, as this could actually make him vomit.

Humans exhibit similar signs of dehydration as dogs. But a great indicator is dizziness, dry mouth, and sweating. You’ll also have darker urine if you are not drinking enough water.

Severe dehydration will result in low blood pressure, fever, delirium, and even loss of consciousness.

Water Intoxication

While you are out on the trail, don’t gulp down too much water all at once or this could lead to water intoxication, or when there’s too much water in the body and salt levels in your blood get dangerously and sometimes fatally low. One sure way to avoid water intoxication is to take small sips frequently instead of ingesting a lot of water all at once. Remember water play, as we mentioned above, can also make your dog ingest more water.

Signs for water intoxication for dogs:

  • Lethargy
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of Coordination
  • Dilated Pupils or Glazed Eyes
  • Pale Gums
  • Drooling
  • Loss of Consciousness
  • Difficulty Breathing
  • Seizing
  • Loss of Consciousness


If your dog has lost consciousness or is seizing call your vet immediately!

For humans, a sign of water intoxication is headaches, confusion, nausea, diarrhea and vomiting. If you are experiencing leg cramping and have been sweating a lot, try adding salt in your water or eat something salty.

Marathon runners often carry salt packets with them. You could also take sports drinks, gels, or gummies that have electrolytes.

If you like gummy bears try Clif Shot Blocks*! They come in many different flavors and are compact enough to take with you on a run or outdoors. They also don’t taste grainy or sticky like other energy supplements. Each cube gives you a little boost of energy!


If you need to learn more about water intoxication in humans, Dr. Axe has a great article where you can learn more. One important tip they mention is that the risk of water intoxication increase is someone drinks more than  1.5 liters of water (over 50 ounces of water) in an hour.

Don’t give salt or electrolytes to your dog, without consulting your vet! Dogs don’t sweat out salt like us humans, but cool themselves off instead by panting and drinking water.



Water is important for everyone. If your dog is not drinking enough water on a consistent basis, check with your vet to rule out any diseases or maladies with your dog. These can be serious if not addressed.

Some tips to get your dog to drink more water:

    • Give your dog a reason to drink! Do some exercise and play with your dog.
    • Give your dog water every 15 minutes. Perhaps your constant nagging will remind him to drink!
    • Add chicken, beef, or bone broth to your dog’s water.
    • Always change out your dog’s water so it’s fresh and clean of bacteria or debris. Don’t forget to wash your dog bowl and get rid of any leftover residue and minerals.
    • Train your dog to drink water. You can say “drink” or “water” and give him treats and/or praise every time he takes a sip.
    • Sometimes dogs will try to drink less water if they can’t go outside to do their business. Take them out more to pee.
    • Elevate your bowl. This is a better option for large dogs so they don’t have to stoop down to drink.
    • Try changing dog bowls. Sometimes dogs just don’t like the container they are drinking from. We don’t have an exact answer to this. But it might work! Some dogs are just pickier than others.
  • Buy a water fountain. Your dog may just to drink from a running water source.

A great choice is the Dogit Design Fresh & Clear Pet Fountain*. It’s on sale now at Amazon as of May 2018!

Don’t forget to buy extra filters* that go with it, currently an Add-On item at 45% off. This is a really great deal so we couldn’t help but share! Better take advantage of it now!


Leave a comment if there are any other important tips for our dogs! Did you or your dog ever have water intoxication or dehydration? Can you share your story with us? Leave a comment!

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Activities: Grooming, Health, Shopping, Hiking, Great Outdoors, Walking, Running, Biking, Outdoor Play

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Red Rock Canyon – Dog Friendly Outdoor Adventure Guide

Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is located in the Mojave Desert. Many come here to hike, bike, camp, go rock climbing, or go off-roading within the park. Getting a nice workout in is all the better with a breathtaking view of red sandstone cliffs and serene, quiet beauty of the open air.

For those that want to get in the scenery from the car, there’s a 13-mile Scenic Drive with several overlook points and picnic areas.

Nearby is the Las Vegas Strip and surrounding Red Rock Canyon area where you can do some further adventuring and hiking with your dog! We cover trails here within the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area.

See our full list of Dog Friendly Outdoor Adventure Guides made just for dog owners. We give you everything you need to plan your next adventure outing with your dog right at your fingertips. We also pick the best dog friendly trails for you!



Fall and Spring is a great time to visit Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. Otherwise, exercise caution when hiking with your dog in the summer or winter. You’ll want to avoid times with extreme heat or cold. The temperature in the desert can change very quickly. Summer temperatures can get well over 100 degrees – definitely too hot for your dog.

Daily entry into Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is by car. Busses and commercial vehicles must charge by car and by person. Annual or senior passes are per person. Most will pay a daily fee of $15 for their car. Other prices and camping fees are available from the Bureau of Land Management website. Prices have been revised as of Feburary 2018.

When you first get to Red Rock Canyon, we suggest you stop by the Red Rock Canyon Visitor Center for paper maps and information on current conditions of roads and trails. Take note of the weather as there are flash floods in the area.

Dogs may not enter buildings but are allowed on leash anywhere in the park. Dogs must be attended by a person at all times. Read further for some important tips on desert safety. Don’t forget to pick up after your dog!



Bring a paper map with you with information on trails and the surrounding area. The Red Rock Canyon Las Vegas website has a great guide for visitors that includes a map and brief information about all 19 trails in the area.

You will want to bring a lot of water with, especially when temperatures are warm. The park actually recommends 1 gallon per person for a day long hike, with 1 more gallon waiting back for them in the car. Considering a 6 hour day, that’s about 128 ounces of water or about 21 ounces of water per hour. We usually recommend drinking 16 ounces per hour for a moderate hike. Your dog should drink about 1/2 an once of water per pound per hour. A 50 pound dog would need about 25 ounces of water per hour (perhaps more by park estimates). Actual results will vary, so it’s important to get a rough approximation for what works for you and your dog. It’s always a good idea to drink water before your hike to help stay hydrated.

Don’t forget to wear protective gear to protect yourself from the sun and to apply sunscreen. A cooling vest or banana will help your dog stay cool.

Too hot out? Consider driving on the 13 mile Scenic Drive of the area. It’s a one way loop around the area. Bring a picnic lunch and get out of the car to enjoy the scenery. Allow for about 45 minutes to drive, and more time if you want to stop. You’ll most likely travel along the Scenic Drive just to get to a trail. There are plenty of accessible parking lots and bathrooms around.



There are 19 different hiking trails within Red Rock Canyon Conservation Area. Don’t forget to print or pick up a map at the visitor center.

If you want to find water along the trail, you’ll see the most just after winter. A few trails offer waterfalls and streams but these often dry up towards the summer months. The park does not recommend drinking or wading through natural water sources.

No need to go through all 19 trails. We picked the best dog friendly trails for you! Most trails in the area are about 2-5 miles.

Lost Creek – Children’s Discovery Trail
If you have kids with you, this out and back trail is perfect. It’s only 0.75 miles and features cultural sites, pictographs and other fun, shady places to explore. A section of the trail is on boardwalk, but the rest is not suitable for a stroller and is rocky or sandy. You can usually see a waterfall at the end of the trail during December – April months.

Moenkopi Trail
The Moenkopi Trail is an easy 2 mile trail loop starts just west of the visitor center where you will park your car. You’ll see sweeping views of Calico Hills, Spring Mountains, and La Madre Mountains. La Madre Mountains will be the highest peak you see in the area at 8,150 feet. Be sure to go when it’s not sunny since there is no shade.

Calico Tanks Trail
The Calico Tanks Trail is popular among tourists. It’s a moderate to strenuous 2.5 mile hike that starts at the Sandstone Quarry parking lot and ends with a natural tank and great views. Many make the mistake of passing the parking lot along the Scenic Drive. Watch your footing on this trail as some areas are slippery. Bring water as the trail gets very sunny and hot, but well worth it just to get to see all the beautiful rock formations around the area. You’ll feel like you really saw Red Rock Canyon with this trail. There are several rocks so if your dog isn’t great on rough terrain and scrambling over rocks, you may opt for a different trail.

Ice Box Canyon Trail
The Ice Box Canyon Trail is a 2.6 mile moderate trail that features several waterfalls and shady areas once you cross a bit of open desert to get there. You’ll see them during the months of December through April. It’s a fun place for your dog to explore and climb some large boulders. The trail isn’t well marked so pay attention to where you are at all times.

Keystone Thrust
Keystone Thrust is a popular geological spot in the park where the Pacific and North American continental plates collided 65 million years ago. You can access this popular 2.2 mile moderate trail via the White Rock parking lot.

White Rock / La Madre Spring Loop
Need a trail that’s a bit less crowded and that just goes in a loop? The White Rock / La Madre Spring Loop is a moderate 6 mile trail accessible from the Upper White Rock parking lot, Los Creek Trail parking lot, and Willow Spring Picnic Area. The White Rock Rail connects to the La Madre Spring Loop. This is a great place if you go trail running during winter months. Prepare to see an abundance of colors and one of the best westside views of the park. You’ll even see bighorn sheep in the area!

Looking or more water along the trail? Consider Pine Creek, Oak Creek Canyon, First Creek and Willow Springs Trails.



Most dogs are unfamiliar with desert creatures. They’ve never seen one, nor know quite how to react to something they’ve never seen before. Rattlesnakes and other dangerous animals and insects are in the area. Always have an eye on your dog and never let him per into small dark spaces. You’ll want to do the same, especially to avoid poisonous snakes and insects. If your dog is bitten by a poisonous snake or insect, keep your dog calm and the wound below the heart. Call a nearby vet immediately for more instructions.

Weather is another concern. Temperatures in the Mojave Desert get really cold in the winter or shade and well over 100 degrees in the summer. Summer hiking should be done in the early mornings. Bring water, a cooling vest or bandana for your dog, and perhaps an emergency shade tent.

There is risk of flash floods and summer lightning in the area, so make sure you check for closures or other information prior to heading out. If you are caught in the rain, be alert for flash floods, and move to higher ground if necessary. If there is lightening in the area, seek shelter immediately.

Last of all, there are hazards from desert flora. Don’t forget to bring tweezers if you need to pull out any cacti from your dog’s paws.



If you want to go camping, read our listing for Red Rock Canyon – Camping at Red Rock Canyon Campground.

Camping at Red Rock Campground is closed during summer months. Peak months are March and October. Reservations are available at

Backcountry camping is allowed with a permit by calling 702-515-5050. Sites must be set up above 5,000 feet and 200 feet away from water sources. Dogs are allowed but must be leashed.

If you are out camping, be sure to watch the sunrise and sunset at Red Rock Overlook and Highpoint Overlook!



Road biking is allowed along State Route 159 and Scenic Drive. Mountain biking are only allowed in two areas: Cottonwood/Late Night Trailheads off State Route 160 and Mile Marker 12 on Kyle Canyon Road / State Route 157 (Twilight Zone Trails). Mountain biking is not allowed on hiking trails.


How was your trip? What trail or campground did you go to? Do you have any tips that you want to pass on to fellow dog owners? 

Is there a great dog-friendly activity or event missing from our list? Contact us so we can share it with the community!

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Related Pawtivities / Events: Red Rock Canyon Hiking, Red Rock Canyon Camping, Trail Running, Biking
Location: Las Vegas, NV | Nevada
Activities: Hiking, Walking, Camping, Backpacking, Biking, Running, Trail Running

Kootenai National Forest, MT

The Kootenai National Forest sits in Montana and Idaho. Scenic views will leave your breathless as you hike near cliffs, giant cedars, and large fields. The most popular areas in Kootenai are Cabinet Mountains Wilderness, Ten Lakes Scenic Area known for its carved glacier basins, Lake Koocanusa Scenic Byway, and Ross Creek Scenic Byway.

Dogs must be on leash or restrained in developed recreation areas. We recommend that dogs be well behaved and obey commands well as there are bears, wolves, and other wildlife that roam the area. Dogs are not allowed in swimming areas and on some beaches near water.

With over 1,400 miles of trails, there are a lot of options to consider! Some trails to consider: Ross Creek Cedar Area, Trout Creek National Recreation Trail at 19.8 miles, Kootenai Falls Trail, and Big Therriault Lake Loop Trail. In the summer only, head on to Little Spar Lake and take an 8 mile hike around the lake with your dog. Trails and maps can be found on the USDA website.

Mountain biking and road biking are allowed in the area. Check out mountain biking in the Libby area in the spring where there are over 132 different species of wildflowers. You’ll also want to head down the trails past Kootenai Falls. Check out the Sheldon Mountain bike course or Kootenai Trail.

There are several camping options in the area from standard campsites, to dispersed and RV camping. Most campsites are on a first-come, first-serve basis. Popular campgrounds to consider include Rexford Bench Campground, Loon Lake Campground, Big Therriault Lake Campground, or Timberland Campground. Spar Lake Campground has hiking, biking and a lake in the immediate area. Consider Yaak River Campground if you want to go road biking or be near the Kootenai River.

Large groups or families can consider McGillivray Campground. For cabins, go to Big Creek Baldy Lookout for a great view near Lake Koocanusa. Cabins and campgrounds are listed on the USDA website. Backpackers can refer to camping options here.

If you have a water dog or love fishing for salmon and trout, head over to the Lake Koocanusa area near Libby Dam. Large watercraft and sailing is allowed in the area. There are also campgrounds around the lake.

We hear there are morel mushrooms (non-toxic) in the area – but make sure your dog doesn’t eat a ton of them! Regular mushrooms are toxic to dogs. Some dogs love to hunt morel mushrooms, but you’ll need a permit to collect them.

For winter, go snowshoeing or cross-country skiing with your dog or consider cutting down your own christmas tree.


Help a fellow dog owner! Do you have an adventure story? Contact us and we will link it to this pawtivity or event! Where did you go? What did you do? Please include any useful tips and advice that would help others!

Location: Libby, MT | Lincoln County | Montana
Activities: Hiking, Walking, Biking, Tracking, NoseWork, Fishing, Swimming, Camping, Winter-Sports, Cross-Country Skiing, Snowshoeing, Social, Running

William B. Umstead State Park, NC

William B. Umstead State Park (Raleigh, NC) is a huge 5,439-acre urban park with a creek and lake. Visitors go here to go hiking, biking, running, boating, and paddle boarding. It’s a great local weekend park for those that love to workout with their dogs.

Trails here are easy to moderate. Some trail favorites include 1) Reedy Creek Multiuse Trail – This trail is used by hikers, bikers and runners. 2) Sal’s Branch Trail – This trail is a 2.7 mile wilderness adventure. 3) Some others to check out: Company Mill Trail (rocky, more challenging 5.8 miles), Loblolly Trail (running), Graylyn Multiuse Trail (hikers, bikers, and horses) and Sycamore Trail (one of the longest at 7.2 miles). Dogs must be on leash.

If you are interested in camping, there are 2 primitive campgrounds that must be reserved in advance or by calling 877-722-6762.  camping is open from March 15 to December 15, available on a first-come, first-serve basis. There are 3 large group campsites for youth groups and non-profits. Dogs are not allowed on boats, in buildings, or at group campsites.


Help a fellow dog owner! Do you have an adventure story? Contact us and we will link it to this pawtivity or event! Where did you go? What did you do? Please include any useful tips and advice that would help others!

Location: Raleigh, NC | Wake County | North Carolina
Activities: Hiking, Walking, Paddle Boarding, Sports – Water, Running, Biking

Red Bud Island Peninsula, TX

Red Bud Island Peninsula is a 13 acre off-leash dog park on it’s own island! Take your dogs here from some walking and off leash play. Some say this is the best spot to take your dog!

Many use the island as a launch point for kayaking and canoeing. Parking at the park is very limited. Swimming is not allowed at the park.


Help a fellow dog owner! Do you have an adventure story? Contact us and we will link it to this pawtivity or event! Where did you go? What did you do? Please include any useful tips and advice that would help others!

Location: Austin, TX | Travis County | Hill Country | Texas
Activities: Hiking, Walking, Sports – Water, Kayaking, Canoeing

Little Long Pond, Maine - Pawtivity

Little Long Pond, ME

Little Long Pond is private lands managed by the Rockefeller family, but shared with the public. Dogs can swim in the area off leash. The pond is a little wonderful oasis where you and your dog can unwind and spend an afternoon.

Parking area is one mile west of Seal Beach on Peabody Drive (Route 3). You can access the pond through Acadia National Park from the north. To the north you can also see Jordan Pond House.

There are several small hiking trails (0.5 – 2 miles) that go around the pond. On the west side of the pond is Harbor Brooke Trail and David and Neva’s Trail. The Friend’s trail goes from the carriage roads to the southern end of the lake. The Jordan Stream Trail goes to the Acadia National Park. Maps of Acadia National Park are located here.


Help a fellow dog owner! Do you have an adventure story? Contact us and we will link it to this pawtivity or event! Where did you go? What did you do? Please include any useful tips and advice that would help others!

Location: Seal Harbor, ME | Hancock County | Maine
GPS Coordinates: 44.293426, -68.254536 Map 
Activities: Hiking, Walking, Swimming

How To Choose The Best Hiking Dog For You

So what makes a good trail dog? We broke these down into personality / traits, training, and physical / health requirements.

Choose the right hiking dog for you! Be sure to read our article The Top 24 Best Hiking Dogs next!

While there may be good traits for a hiking dog, it’s still important to socialize and train whatever dog you end up getting.

You also need to consider what kind of hiking you will be doing and what will be most suitable for your dog.





Short Hair – Bonus points go to short-haired dogs. Twigs and branches don’t get stuck in their fur so there is less maintenance involved on the trail. Short hair also dries faster and it’s much easier to spot ticks on your dog.

Agile – The more agile your dog is, the more likely he is able to navigate across rough or challenging terrain. Your dog will be able to bound more easily across large boulders or uneven terrain without fear. They may even take on jumping and climbing up small surfaces and be as nimble as a mountain goat.

Reliability Off Leash – Love the thought of having a dog off leash while on a hike off? First off, it’s important to follow area leash policies for dogs. They are up for a reason and there to protect the general population. Some dogs are more reliable off leash and will come back to you when called or have a natural disposition to go back to their owner. Others may have high prey drive, an independent streak, or prone to run away. Some may not be able to navigate their way back to you by sight and smell as well as others. If you do have your dog off leash, it’s always good practice to have your dog within your sight and hearing at all times. You must have command of your dog and excellent recall.

Working Dog – This isn’t the only criteria of a great hiking partner, but working dogs are always looking for something to do. They were bred to do a job and assist humans. Give your dog a backpack to carry! Most working dogs are highly intelligent and love the bond they have with their humans.

Endurance & Strength – In itself, hiking builds endurance and strength. Some dogs, however, are naturally very strong and bred to carry large loads or run long distances for a purpose. These dogs are great if you want to go on a longer hike, without the need to carry them back home or stop for breaks all the time. They can hold their own!

Barking – Barking can sometimes annoy bears, so it’s best to have a dog that you can train to stay quiet if needed. A dog that barks too much may also bother many people or frighten them. They may not be the best dog to take out on certain trails deep in the backcountry or trails that are too crowded.



No matter what type of breed of dog you have, you need to give him basic training to be trail ready. Skills such as sit, stay, come / touch, and leave it can go as far as saving you and your dog’s life. Recall is absolutely essential for an off leash dog.

You need to commit the time early on to teach and socialize your dog while they are young. You’ll only make it easier to go on more adventures later and negate aggressive or fearful tendencies. Smart dogs are generally easy to train, but it’s also important to get a dog that is eager to please and not too independent. Otherwise, more training may be required.

Good trail etiquette involved passing people on the right with your dog at your right side. If a horse or bike go by, or you are on a single-track trail, step to the side with your dog and have him sit until the other party passes by.

Not all dogs may be friendly, so don’t assume that another dog is. Always stay calm on the trail so your dog is calm. Dogs can pick up on your senses fast. Keep control of your dog at all times.

You should also carry poop bags or bring a trowel with you to clean up after your dog and dispose properly. Many trails follow a leave no trace policy.



Please consult your vet prior to hiking with your dog. Dogs should be fully mature before their first real hike. Puppies need time to develop a mature, strong skeletal system before heading out.

Your dog should have current vaccinations, rabies, and licenses. Most dogs also take preventative medicine for fleas, ticks, and heartworm. Consult your vet if you need special vaccinations or your dog requires special care while on the trail.



Need more information about hiking with your dog? We have a few articles that will get you started.

Top 24 Best Hiking Dogs

The Beginner’s Guide To Hiking

Winter Paw Care and Treatment For The Outdoor Dog

Tips For Hiking In The Rain: Staying Dry to Paw / Foot Care

Top 10 Safety Tips: Winter Hiking With Your Dog – Comprehensive Guide

Is there a great dog-friendly activity or event missing from our list? Contact us so we can share it with the community!

Join the Pawtivity Community. Meet Other Adventurers That Do What You Love To Do.
Sign up TODAY!


Related Pawtivity / Event: Hiking
Activities: Hiking, Walking, Backpacking, Biking, Running

The Top 24 Best Hiking Dogs By Category

Are you considering getting a dog that can go hiking with you? We give you a rundown of the most active dogs that also make a good hiking buddies!

We grouped dogs into categories that should help you find the best type of hiking dog that matches your lifestyle and hiking preferences.

This guide should help you narrow down which hiking dog to get.

Have kids? Get a dog for active families. Do a lot of backcountry hiking? You’ll need a dog that is reliable off-leash and can adventure with you off the beaten path. Go on a lot of challenging, rough terrain, want a smaller companion, or live in a cold area? We have dog recommendations for you too.

Here is our list for the best hiking and trail dogs.

Choose a dog that matches your own hiking preferences. How long do you hike and at what level? In what weather and terrain conditions? With whom?



Golden Retriever

Golden Retrievers love to be with a family and are great with kids. They will be happiest walking with the family and in an area where they can play near the water. Golden retrievers have strong retrieval instincts, so bring along a toy for them to fetch on your outing. These dogs are obedient and have great agility. Retrievers are prone to hip dysplasia when they get older which will severely limit how much they can hike.

Bernese Mountain Dog

Bernese Mountain Dogs were bred as a farm dog in Switzerland. They are large and gentle dogs that need a lot of space to roam. As a mountain dog, they are comfortable on rough rocky terrain but hikes should be shorter. Otherwise, take frequent breaks as these dogs may not have high endurance. The Bernese Mountain Dog loves to be social and make friends so they are great in an area with a lot of families and smaller children. Lessen your load by giving them a pack to carry. They can carry a lot!

Brittany Spaniel

Brittany Spaniels are actually one of the smallest bred hunting dogs, so they are a great off-leash dog that love to work with humans. Socialized Brittany Spaniels are well mannered even with strangers, kids and other dogs. These dogs don’t need a commanding owner. Just guide them along and they’ll be eager to follow you wherever you go. Don’t confuse compliance with being mellow. Brittany Spaniels need exercise and are very athletic. Otherwise, they are prone to separation anxiety and hyperactivity. They can keep up with you and your active family easily, even on a run.


Dalmations have superb endurance. They used to protect horses that pulled stagecoaches, so they make great biking companions who can keep up with you for a long distance. You’ll need to take a Dalmation out pretty regularly, otherwise they will become destructive. This is probably not the dog for a first time owner as they need a firm hand. Dalmations can be stubborn without proper guidance and exercise. At the same time, these dogs can be very loving and playful to their family members.


Weimaraners are another affectionate dog who is great for the active family. They are a great companion dog for short or long walks in any type of terrain. A short coat makes them easy to care for on the trail. It’s easy to train these dogs, but they do need an owner that can be committed to training them and giving them attention. They also need constant exercise. Otherwise, Weimaraners can become stubborn and disobedient.



Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retrievers love to swim in water. They make a great companion for any family with young kids that likes to camp and hike. They will be anyone’s best pal since. Labs are friendly towards anyone, even strangers, and other dogs. It’s no wonder that these dogs are consistently rated one of America’s most popular dogs. Labradors do need constant exercise, or will become overweight. Like golden retrievers, they are prone to hip dysplasia so that may limit how much hiking they can do in senior years.

Portuguese Water Dog

The Portuguese Water Dog actually has webbed feet, so they make great swimmers that love to play in the water. They are tireless in any outdoor adventure and great off-leash on a long walk as they like to be near their owner. Portuguese Water Dogs need constant exercise or can become independent and strong-willed. Those with allergies should consider this dog as they are hypoallergenic with a curly to wavy coat.


Poodles are extremely smart, obedient dogs that can do well off-leash on a long hike. They are highly trainable, loyal, and just love to play. Being sociable, poodles are highly tolerant with kids. Compared to the Portuguese Water Dog, Poodles are leggier, graceful and have tight, curly hair. Poodles do need constant companionship or attention, otherwise become prone to separation anxiety. They also bark a lot to demand attention, so perhaps not the best dog for standard campsites or in the backcountry.



Pembroke Welsh Corgi

The Pembroke Welsh Corgi is a small to medium sized dog that just loves to play, a perfect fit for an active owner with kids. Corgis are natural herders and bark a lot. You will do well on a long, flat trail as these dogs have short leg but can keep up with you. Corgis can hike a 5-6 miles with you without a problem, but will have to build up their endurance for day-long hikes.

Jack Russell Terrier

Jack Russell Terriers are one of the most lively, high-strung dogs out there. Bred to hunt foxes, they are fast on a run and can tear it up on the trail. They are also jokesters and will always make you laugh. Jack Russells are highly trainable so they are good as a trick dog and will do well in sports such a flyball or agility. These dogs need constant activity and love to chew, bark, and chase so they need an owner who can keep up with that. These dogs are great for those that like to run or bike on the trail where they always need to keep up with you. Otherwise, they need to be on leash as they have high prey drive. Early socialization is key to reduce aggression towards other dogs.

Patterdale Terrier

Since Carmella is honorary pup of Pawtivity, we couldn’t help but not list the Patterdale Terrier! Patterdales are very active, smart, and strong willed dogs that are fiercely loyal and affectionate to their family. They love to smell and explore, so need an owner who loves the outdoors or has a large field to play in. Patterdales have high prey drive and were bred to hunt foxes, rabbits and rats. They are best kept hiking on leash. Unlike Jack Russells, Patterdales don’t bark much which make them a great companion camping or backcountry hiking. Early socialization and training is key as Patterdales can be intense and perceived as aggressive to other dogs.


Daschunds are a little dog with big personality. They have high stamina and can go a long distance despite their short, muscular legs. This loyal dog loves to play with his family and do everything with them. If something is amiss they will alert you with a loud bark. Watch out if your Daschund is off-leash as they love to sniff around. It’s part of their breed instincts for sniffing out badgers. Just make sure they are not poking their noses in the wrong place! Daschunds are prone to disk problems so it may not do so well on stairs or steep climbs.

Norwegian Lundehund

The Norwegian Lundehund was bred to hunt puffin eggs and live puffins on cliffs, so they are a small dog that is nimble and surefooted on their paws. Having six toes on each paw helps! Take this dog on a mountain hike and they will be at ease navigating rocky terrain. They will also love swimming in a mountain stream. You may want to keep them on leash while on a hike as these dogs are curious by nature and love to explore small passageways. Early socialization will help reduce shyness.

Source: Lundtola – Rosa – Flickr CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.



German Shepherd

German Shepherds are known for being service dogs to the police and military. They are highly trainable and excel at obedience. A trained German Shepherd would be a great dog to take with you for some off leash hiking or backpacking. They are also protective when needed and can navigate through rough terrain. You’ll find a loyal sidekick with this dog, but without adequate exercise and attention you’ll have one destructive pup instead.

Australian Shepherd

The Australian Shepherd is an extremely intelligent and easy to train dog. They are agile and make a great hiking partner for long hikes in tough terrain. You won’t ever find yourself having to carry or motivate an Australian Shepherd as these dogs are always ready to go. These dogs are devoted to their owner and you won’t have to worry about them straying too far. They will bark to alert you of any pending danger and protect their family. Bring a brush on your walk since debris is likely to get in their fur.

German Shorthaired Pointer

The German Shorthaired Pointer is known for having a great nose. They were trained to find and retrieve waterfowl. German Shorthaired Pointers are highly trainable and sure footed for rough terrain. They have a flat water-resistant coat that helps the regular temperature and repel dirt. Webbed feet make them great swimmers. Don’t worry about losing track of this dog. He will likely find you and hates being away from people. German Shorthaired Pointers can be reserved with strangers and will bark if they come across anyone or anything unfamiliar to them.



Rhodesian Ridgeback

The Rhodesian Ridgeback was bred to hunt lions in Africa, so they are naturally comfortable in hot temperatures and have high endurance to get through a lot. If you live in a hot area or a desert area, this dog will be comfortable adventuring by your side. Rhodesian Ridgebacks have very high prey drive, so probably not a dog to leave off-leash. They are affectionate with their family, but can be guarded with strangers. You’ll need to give them firm, consistent training and early socialization.


The Vizsla is known to be a fast dog that can run long distances. Their short, thin coat make them a great dog for hot weather. They never like to stray too far from their owner, so are a great off-leash companion as well. Vizslas are gentle and affectionate but always ready to go. Don’t get a Vizsla if you will be away a lot and can’t give them at least 2 hours of daily exercise. They are prone to separation anxiety and can become destructive.

Airedale Terrier

The Airedale Terrier is the largest of the terrier family. Their coats are wiry. When temperatures rise, just strip down their coats. These dogs are smart, easy to train and outgoing. They are also playful which make them such a fun dog to have around on any adventure, especially with kids. The Airedale Terrier is an independent dog, so you’ll have to provide consistent training and playtime.



Siberian Husky

Known for dog sled racing, Siberian Huskies were made to run and hike in the snow. Their warm double coat protects them from the cold. Combined with endurance, power, and speed these dogs will challenge you in any winter outing. Siberian Huskies are very friendly dogs with a pack mentality so make sure you include them in family gatherings. These dogs are not the easiest to train, so not a great candidate for a first time dog owner. You’ll want to keep your dog on leash.

Alaskan Malamute

The Alaskan Malamute also has a double coat that protects them from the cold. They are much larger and stronger than a Siberian Husky, but have the same friendly demeanor. Good training is a must with this dog as they can be stubborn, independent and hard to control due to their size. If you live in a cold area, this dog will feel right at home.



Border Collie

There is little wonder why you see Border Collie excel in so many dog sports, including agility and disc dog. They are one of the most intelligent dog breeds which make them very trainable. They also follow directions well and have a good tireless and positive temperament. Border Collies don’t have high prey drive so this makes them better for off leash outdoor activities. These dogs are active, so owners need to be able to commit to giving them enough exercise and mental stimulation to keep them happy.

Australian Cattle Dog

Another all-around adventurer is the Australian Cattle Dog, also known as the Queensland, Blue, or Red Heeler. These dogs are great for backpackers and 14er hikers as they can navigate through any terrain. They also are a loyal companions that will make you smile while on the trail. Being highly trainable, they are reliable off leash and will take direction from you easily.

Mixed Breed

You know your dog best. Mixed dogs often have the best traits from multiple breeds. Sometimes, shelter dogs become the most loyal and loving companion as they truly appreciate the bond they have with their owner.

Let us know what type of dog you end up choosing! What hiking adventures do you go on?


Is there a great dog-friendly activity or event missing from our list? Contact us so we can share it with the community!

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Related Pawtivity / Event: Hiking
Activities: Hiking, Walking, Backpacking, Biking, Running

The Best Lightweight & Compact Hiking Gear (2018) – Product Picks

We love learning about the latest doggy stuff out there because we all want the best for our furry friends! Each week we cover the fun, novel, essential, and new products for dogs in our Pawtivity Picks Series.

This week we are covering the most lightweight and compact gear for hiking, backpacking, outdoor travel, camping, running, and biking for you and your dog. We love finding the best all-season and multi-use items because it just means carrying less. We also always keep a dog owner’s perspective when choosing gear. Love to our furry friends!

Products Covered: Trekking Poles, Coats, Survival Gear, Trowel, Dog Bowl, Towel, Pet Tool, Pen, Notebook

This article contains affiliate links. We may earn a small commission (at no cost to you) for our endorsement, recommendation, testimonial, and/or link to any products or services marked with an *. The main purpose of this article is to provide you with hiking and safety tips. We will only provide links to truly great products we think our visitors would appreciate learning more about.




We looked at lightweight poles for a moderate 3 season hiker. If you are going hiking in rough terrain or mountainous regions, we suggest getting a pole that is stronger and heavier.

Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z Trekking Pole

The Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z Trekking Pole* is a lightweight (10 ounces per pair!) trekking pole made of aluminum and has a very comfortable, non-slip foam grip.

There’s a new Z-Pole rapid deployment system that makes it easy to collapse into 3 folds and extend the pole. The pole stays durable with stiffer joints. The rubber tip at the end can be removed or changed.

The pole comes in 4 different sizes (100cm, 110cm, 120cm, and 130cm). Most hikers should be able to find a size that works for them.

WHY WE LOVE: These are ultra-light, compact poles suitable for the typical hiker. It’s a great all-around use for daily hikes.

Take me to the Black Diamond Distance Carbon Trekking Pole* now.


Montem Ultra Strong Trekking Poles

Montem is a pretty new manufacturer, but they’ve put out some darn good poles! The Montem Ultra Strong Trekking Pole* is one of their most popular products.

The trekking pole is made of an aluminum shaft that is adjustable (24” – 53” or 60.96 cm – 134.62 cm) and collapsible. A flick-lock system keeps your poles from sliding when open. Mud baskets and rubber tips are interchangeable.

These aren’t the most lightweight at 19.2 ounces per pair, but it’s a great buy at about $50 for a solid and sturdy trekking pole.

WHY WE LOVE: We really love the comfortable cork grips – you won’t want to let go. The poles are similar to more expensive versions but at a great price.

Take me to the Montem Ultra Strong Trekking Pole* now.


High Trek Premium Ultralight Trekking Poles


The High Trek Ultralight Trekking Poles* is another solid buy considering it’s value price at about $30 and durability. Poles are made from aluminum and weigh 17.4 ounces.

Poles are fully adjustable to 26” – 53” or 66cm – 135cm using an easy twist-lock mechanism that won’t slip while in use.

Mud / snow feet are included on the poles. Grips are made of EVA so can absorb sweat.

WHY WE LOVE: This is a great pole for the beginner, casual hiker. You can’t really beat the price vs value on this.

Take me to the High Trek Premium Ultralight Trekking Poles* now.




There are a lot of coats out there for different seasons. We looked at some all-in-one or all-season coats that could be used as a great layering piece for colder weather.

Baubax Travel Jacket

The Baubax Travel Jacket was featured on Kickstarter The World’s Best TRAVEL JACKET with 25 Features | BAUBAX 2.0 as the world’s best travel jacket with 15-25 features and raising over $11.5 million!

This coat is at least worth a look! There are different versions of the jacket from a sweatshirt, windbreaker, bomber jacket, to blazer. Some of the more popular versions of Baubax 1.0 are the sweatshirt for men* and the bomber jacket for women*.

The 15 features on Baubax 1.0 include a drinking pocket, sunglass pocket, microfiber cloth, telescopic pen, gloves, eye mask, neck pillow, earphone holders, phone pocket, passport pocket, stylus, blanket pocket, charger pocket, hand warming pockets, and a tablet pocket. Our favorite feature by far is the neck pillow. It’s integrated into the jacket and can be taken out and inflated in 2 seconds! We also love all the different pockets where you can organize and store all your small hiking items easily and without taking off your backpack.
Now on Indiegogo is Baubax 2.0 with 25 different features! Preorder this now on Indiegogo.

These jackets come with these additional features: bottle pocket, apple pencil pocket, whistle, keychain, bottle opener, secret pocket, footrest (yes!), earplugs, airpod pocket, and airpod straps. Those are even better features for hiking trip! You may not even need to carry a backpack! Make your dog carry the rest of the stuff while you go without a backpack.

WHY WE LOVE: It’s hard not to love this jacket! You can really hold so much stuff without the need to carry an extra backpack weighing down on your shoulders. This is perfect for a day hike. We definitely recommend the Baubax 2.0 jackets.

Take me to the Baubax 2.0* now.

RC Packable Dog Rain Poncho

This simple jacket packs down into a little pouch making it one of the most portable dog raincoats available. The company stands by their products and will repair or replace the coat for the life of your pet.

The RC Packable Dog Rain Poncho* comes in a variety of colors and patterns. There’s also a hood and D-ring hole. Sizes range from XXS to XXXL so it’s hard to find a coat that won’t fit your dog! An adjustable velcro waist band gives your dog a more custom fit.

The coat is not the most durable around, nor the warmest, but it’s a great buy for any rainy emergency given it’s low price and versatility. It may not work as well in the wind as other coats. If you have an off-leash or active dog who likes to go in the brush, you may need a more snug, secure fit.

WHY WE LOVE: Ultra-ultra portable. It fits in your pocket. The cutest “Rubber Ducky” print around that screams rainy weather. You always need a backup emergency solution without the added bulk.

Take me to the RC Packable Dog Rain Poncho* now.



When it comes to a weekend backpacking trip, small items that might seem light add up considerably to weigh down your pack. We found some ultra-light necessities for the trail that can help lessen your load.

VSSL Units

There are several varieties of VSSL units, but the one that caught our eye was the VSSL Supplies Essential Camping Gear* version. The VSSL unit is a flashlight canister that holds smaller boxes of survival gear and gadgets.

The VSSL unit is compact at only 9 inches by 2 inches and only 1 lb and 4 ounces. The unit itself has a flashlight and compass. Items within include: fishing gear, quick start fire, wire hand saw, water purification tablets, mirror, trail markers, whistle, open cans, rope, first aid, razor blade, and candle.

Purchase the VSSL Supplies* can also customize your own VSSL Unit with other components. The company does come out with other versions of the VSSL unit, including a glass lined flask.

WHY WE LOVE: It’s such a great combination of survival gear in a compact and easy to store canister.

Take me to the VSSL Supplies Essential Camping Gear* now.

Vargo Titanium Dig Dig Tool


The Vargo Tool* can be used as trowel and tent stake. It’s perfect for areas that have a leave not trace policy for you and your dog!

At a thin 8 inches long and mere 1.25 ounces you’ll barely even notice it in your bag.

This titanium trowel has serrated edges that can cut through hard dirt and roots as well as the strength to last through some heavy digging. This won’t bend under pressure. Rolled edges at the top make it comfortable to dig.

WHY WE LOVE: No need to bring doggy poop bags on the trail. Be more economical by getting an ultra-light trowel to hide away his and your business.

Take me to the Vargo Titanium Dig Dig Tool* now.

Packtowel Personal

The Packtowel Personal* is a light, durable, and body size. I’s made of microfiber and can absorb 4 times it’s weight in water. It dries 70% faster than cotton towel. The towel has polygeine odor control so stays fresh longer.


While we do like the large size of the Packtowel Personal, there is a PackTowel Nano*available but at a smaller size of 19″x19″. It’s the lightest camp towel at 0.9 ounces.

The PackTowel Nano can absorb up to 2 times it’s weight in water and dry 90% faster than cotton towel. There’s even an included carabiner clip and storage bag.

WHY WE LOVE: Sometimes it just helps to dip your towel in the stream and cool off your neck. These towel are so minimal and quick-drying so won’t weigh down your pack. We like both the Personal and Nano sizes and would consider getting both.

Take me to the Packtowel Personal* or Packtowel Nano* now.



Rad Dog Collapsible Pocket Bowl

Rad Dog’s Collapsible Pocket Bowl* is probably the smallest, foldable dog bowl we have seen on the market – it fits in the palm of your hand! The bowl is also waterproof and extremely lightweight at less than 1 ounce. The bowl can carry up to 16 ounces of water. We think backpackers, runners, and bikers would love this bowl for their dogs!

While super small, it doesn’t have the most stable base. It’s also pretty easy to lose and not visible for evening or night camping use. You may just have to hold it up for your dog to drink or eat.

WHY WE LOVE: It’s so minimal and best for those that want to carry as little as possible. Who wants to run or bike with a bulky bowl in their pocket or flapping against their bag?

Take me to the Rad Dog’s Collapsible Pocket Bowl* now.

Tuff Mutt Canvas Dog Bowl

Tuff Mutt’s Canvas Dog Bowl* is another great pocket bowl. It’s folds into the size of a cell phone and can hold up to 48 ounces of water.

The bowl is ultra-durable and made out of canvas with a waterproof lining. It also dries and wipes up for easy cleaning. There’s a reflective trim for evening use of the bowl. A portable carrying case comes with the dog bowl for easy storage in your bag or your dog’s backpack.

Tuff Mutt covers this bowl with their lifetime warranty.

WHY WE LOVE: This is the perfect portable option for large dogs or multiple dogs. We also love it for camping.

Take me to the Tuff Mutt Canvas Dog Bowl* now.




Sometimes we just need pen and paper with us while we are outdoors. It’s a great way to jot down trail map details, daily journal, and other useful travel information. Use it to play a game of hangman or tic-tac-toe with your friend while you are taking a break!

Fisher 400B Space Pen

The Fisher Space Pen* is a ball point pen works at any angle, under water, under zero gravity, and in temperatures from -30F to 250F. You can even write with it upside down if you wish!

The design of the pen is one to marvel about. The casing is made of chrome and brass which make the pen very, very strong.

It’s also tiny to store into any little pocket, but not too tiny that it’s too hard to write with.

WHY WE LOVE: We can now lay in our hammocks, kick up our feet, and write something!! No more need to make circles on paper to get your pen to work.

Take me to the Fisher Space Pen* now.
Rite in the Rain Notebook

The Rite In the Rain* top-spiral 3″ x 5″ notebook does what it says – allows you to write in the rain! What a great item to take with you on a backpacking trip!

Pages repel water, sweat, grease, and mud. No more journal notes lost to the rain.

The notebook works with either a normal #2 pencil or the all-weather Fisher Space Pen*. The top-spiral won’t get smashed like other notebooks. It’s made of an impact-resistant Wire-O binding.

WHY WE LOVE: Never lose your travel notes again! It’s a small, portable notebook that’s perfect for your backpacking and hiking needs.


Take me to the Rite In the Rain Notebook* now.


Leave a comment if there are any other products you think are worth letting everyone know about! Please let us know why you like it, how you use the product, and how long you have been using it for.


Is there a great dog-friendly activity or event missing from our list? Contact us so we can share it with the community!

Join the Pawtivity Community. Meet Other Adventurers That Do What You Love To Do.
Sign up TODAY!

Activities: Shopping, Hiking, Camping, Backpacking, Great Outdoors

Amazon Affiliate Disclosure: The owner of Pawtivity is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.  

Winter Paw Care And Treatment

Winter Paw Care and Treatment For The Outdoor Dog

If you and your dog love to go outside, winter paw care is essential.

Dogs need paw protection from snow and ice as well as from any chemicals that are used on snow or ice.

We give you the essentials to prevent dog paw injuries and as well as basic paw treatment tips you can use when you are out on an adventure with your dog.
This article contains affiliate links. We may earn a small commission (at no cost to you) for our endorsement, recommendation, testimonial, and/or link to any products or services marked with an *. The main purpose of this article is to provide you with winter paw tips. We will only provide links to truly great products we think our visitors would appreciate learning more about.



A little grooming goes a long way to preventing paw pad injury and pain.

Trim the fur on your dog between the toes so that the fur is even with the surface of your dog’s paw pads. Otherwise, snow and ice and can pack up between the paw pads making it painful for your dog to walk. You will also want to make sure your dog’s nails are trimmed.

Dogs should have long body hair trimmed (not shaved). Ice and chemicals can get stuck on long hair and dry out your dog’s skin. Worse, it can cause a bad irritation or rash.

When you bathe your dog, use an extra moisture-rich shampoo and lukewarm water. Some follow up by massaging coconut oil into their dog’s skin to moisturize and prevent flakes.

Mushers Secret* (paw wax), Bag Balm* (paw balm), or Vaseline can be used on a daily basis to keep your dog’s paws well-conditioned. They will help prevent chapping and cuts due to cold weather. Apply a very thin layer as you don’t need a lot.

As always, make sure your dog is updated on his vaccines and ask your vet about any precautions you need to take with your dog and specific treatment necessary for your dog.



For some outdoor dog paw protection, invest in waterproof boots or use a wax to help prevent buildup of snow and ice between your dog’s toes. You will also want paw protection to guard against chemicals and salt that may be on the ground and that may be toxic to your dog. An easy way to keep your dog’s paws clean is to have them walk on grass when they are outside where chemicals and deicers are not used.

Boots provide the best traction and protect against sharp ice, rock and slippery surfaces. Find boots with a velcro strap or something similar to keep the boot snug around your dog’s ankle but not too tight. Dogs need to practice walking in boots, so have them wear them inside the house and give them a lot of treats! When your dog gets a bit more comfortable, go on a walk around your house and work yourself up to a hike.



The below is our recommended list for a basic first aid kid that you can bring for you and your dog on any outdoor adventure. These are useful to treat paw injuries and more.

  • Towel or Wipes
  • Absorbent Dressing or Wound Pad
  • Gauze Bandage
  • Medical Tape
  • Small Bandages for Humans
  • Tongue Depressors
  • Gloves
  • Antibiotic Ointment for Humans and Dogs
  • Paw Wax or Paw Balm
  • Tweezers
  • Tick Remover
  • Comb
  • Scissors
  • Ziplock bag (multiple uses, including making an ice pack)
  • Warm Water Bottle and Cup
  • Lightweight Insulated Blanket
  • Extra Leash (can be combined with blanket as an emergency shelter)
  • First Aid Cheat Sheet
  • Nearest Open Emergency Vet Location
  • Your Vet’s Contact and Medical Records

Going out into wet weather? Look also at our list additional first aid items to prevent and treat blisters, read: Tips for Hiking In The Rain: Staying Dry to Paw / Foot Care.

For more information about what to pack for a winter outing, read: Top 10 Safety Tips for Winter Hiking With Your Dog – Comprehensive Guide.



When you are out on a hike or winter adventure, it’s a good idea to check your dog’s paw pads periodically. Remove any snow or ice that has collected between their paw pads and check for harmful debris or bloody paws. Be aware that dogs can get ticks or cuts between their toes.

Make sure you also have enough water with you. For a moderate 1 hour hike, bring about 32 oz. of water for yourself and about an ounce of water more per pound weight for your dog. If your dog is 32 pounds, bring at least 64 ounces of water for you and your dog. How much water you need really does depend on what you do and how long you go, but take short frequent water breaks. For winter, bring a bottle filled with warm water with a wide-mouth so your water does not freeze.



There are several injuries you can watch for while you are out with your dog. We provide some basic treatments that you can apply if your dog has a paw injury outside.

Please note that we are not a certified vet, so any recommendations listed are only suggestions that you may do for your pet. Please consult your vet for more information.

Raw or Torn Paw Pads

This is the most common dog paw injury that can happen any time of the year. Become familiar to what your dog’s paw pads look like while healthy. If they are raw, they may appear red or skin may be peeling off. Clean the paw and remove any debris and loose skin. Apply ointment and wrap your dog’s paw with a bandage. Call your vet to see if you need to take your dog in. Your dog may need to sit out on a few hikes to let his pads heal. When you are at home, put a baby sock on your dog so he doesn’t try to lick his paws. You will need something that can breathe and that’s not too tight. You can also purchase specially made bandages that make it difficult for dogs to bite and have a lick deterrent taste.

Bloody Paws or Pus

Wash your dog’s paw and inspect for any injury. Remove any debris that may be the cause of the injury. To stop bleeding, apply pressure on the area until the bleeding stops. Then, follow up by applying balm or wax on your dog’s paws. If the bleeding does not stop, wrap a bandage with gauze over the wound and call your vet immediately or go to an emergency vet. Change the bandage as soon as it gets soaked with blood. If you see pus or bleeding from a broken nail, call a vet to find out what you can do. You don’t want to bring on more infection to the area.


If your dog’s paws, tails, or ears have ice on them this is a pretty good indication that they are on their way to getting frostbite. They may also have discoloration in their skin. Severe cases of frostbite occur when the skin turns black. If you suspect that your dog has frostbite, wrap them up in a blanket and call your vet. You will want to head back as soon as possible.

Bite Wound

If your dog gets a bite wound while you are out, hopefully you got a glimpse of what bit your dog. Tie your dog to a tree with your leash. It may be necessary to muzzle your dog if he is not cooperating after being attacked. If you don’t have a muzzle you can use strips of cloth or bandage as a makeshift muzzle. Calm your dog down and carefully wash the wound to inspect the damage. You can use a comb or scissors to pull back and cut any hair around the wound.

If the bite wound is bleeding, apply pressure to the area until bleeding stops. If the bleeding does not stop, wrap a bandage with gauze over the wound and call your vet immediately or go to an emergency vet. Change the bandage as soon as it gets soaked with blood.

Limping, Licking, Inflammation

If your dog is limping, licking his paws, or his paws are inflamed call your vet. To give your dog some immediately relief, wash his paws and remove any debris. Inspect the area to find the source of the injury. Treat any swelling with an ice pack. If you suspect chemicals to be the cause of inflammation or burned paws, apply an antibiotic ointment made for dogs. If you suspect a broken bone, do the best you can to create a splint with tongue depressors or sticks and bandage. If you can manage it, carry your dog to the car and go to an emergency vet.
For more information about other signs to watch out for in your dog, read: Top 10 Safety Tips for Winter Hiking With Your Dog – Comprehensive Guide.



Towel-dry your dog’s paws when you get into the car or wipe them down with some doggy wipes. This will at least minimize your dog from trying to lick their paws clean. If your dog was wearing boots, simply remove the boots before your dog gets in the car.

When you get home from a hike, wash your dog’s paws. You can either dip your dog’s paws in a cup of warm water when get home or use a spray bottle to remove debris. Follow up with a good towel drying and let them loose inside. If you leave any chemicals or salt on your dog’s paws your dog may ingest them by licking them clean or they may actually burn your dog’s paws causing more injury and a temporary end to your outings. Paw injuries take longer to heal.

To keep your dog’s paws well conditioned, apply a very thin layer of paw wax, like Musher’s Secret*, or moisturizer to protect your dog’s paw pads from getting too dry. You don’t need a lot on your dog’s paws to condition them if you do this daily.


Is there a great dog-friendly activity or event missing from our list? Contact us so we can share it with the community!


Join the Pawtivity Community. Meet Other Adventurers That Do What You Love To Do.
Sign up TODAY!

Activities: Hiking, Backpacking, Camping, Running, Outdoor Play, Winter – Sports, Great Outdoors, Walking

Amazon Affiliate Disclosure: The owner of Pawtivity is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.