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Couple hiking with dog on trail

13 November . 2018

Tips for Hiking with Your Dog

With year-round hiking weather, residents of the Estrella master-planned community in Goodyear love to explore the trails and bringing along a furry friend has become increasingly popular. Whether it’s on the community’s 40-plus miles of paths and trails or a regional park in the Phoenix area, there are plenty of beautiful, natural landscapes to discover. Hiking is a great way to exercise and spend quality time with your dog, and we’ve provided a few tips to keep you and your pup safe when out on the trails.

Stay Hydrated and Take Breaks
Regardless of the time of year, it’s crucial to stay hydrated and take adequate breaks. Hiking can be a strenuous activity, so even if it’s 60 degrees and cloudy, drink plenty of water to keep yourself energized.

With their never-ending energy, it might seem like your dog can hike for days. But, just like you, your four-legged pal needs to rest and hydrate. Bring along a collapsible dog bowl and plenty of extra water for your hiking buddy.

Man, his little boy, and dog at the summit of one of the trails in Estrella.

Know your Dog’s Limitations
Consider your dog’s physical limitations, such as age and size. If your dog is still young, be careful not to head to the trails too soon. Depending on the breed, puppies are prone to growth plate injuries and strenuous activities can put them at higher risk.

If your dog is on the older side, or has any medical conditions, plan ahead. Estrella offers an in-depth trail guide that provides information about trail length and difficulty to help you determine which route will be the best fit. Know your dog’s boundaries to ensure the best possible hiking experience for you both.

Keep your Dog on a Leash
Your dog could be the best trained dog in the world, but the leash is your pet’s lifeline. There are plenty of sounds, smells and animals that could trigger your pet at any moment. You never know when a critter might pop out of nowhere and send your dog on a wild chase.

Keeping your dog on the leash is also a sure way to help your dog steer clear from getting too curious about plants and other wildlife, including the various types of cacti native to the area. If you still aren’t convinced, remember that Arizona law requires dogs to be on a leash at all times unless on private property or at designated dog park. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Be Prepared
Spontaneous hikes can be fun, but always be prepared. Before heading out for the day, pack a bag full of all the essentials. This includes dog waste bags, treats, a towel, a pet first aid kit, and a safety light. Additionally, it’s also important to consider what type of terrain you’re going to encounter. If the ground is at an extreme temperature or is made up of a lot of loose debris, your dog might need booties. Also keep an eye on your dog’s nails. If they’re too long, rough terrain could cause them to split or break. Lastly, be certain it’s safe for your dog to join you. Visit your veterinarian beforehand to ensure your dog is healthy and up to date on all vaccinations.

Nestled in the foothills of the Sierra Estrella Mountains, the Estrella community offers plenty of opportunities for residents to explore. Find the best trail for you and your pup and be sure to think of these tips next time you head out to hike for the day.