Arizona has plenty of scenic trails, and it isn't uncommon for hikers to bring along their furry companions. The Grand Canyon State offers a number of trails that dog owners and their pets are allowed to explore together. No matter where you hike, following a few tips can help keep your outing safe and enjoyable.
Pick an Arizona hiking trail ideal for both people and dogs. The Canyon Loop Trail in Catalina State Park near Tucson, Arizona, (520-628-5798) allows dogs. With small arroyos and a hidden stream, it is the only trail in this park to allow canines. The Nature Trail at Piestewa Peak in Phoenix (602-261-8318), is also popular for dog-and-owner hiking pairs. The Hike With Your Dog website can point you to other hiking spots.
Observe regulations and weather advisories. Dog owners are required to keep their animal on a leash no longer than 6 feet in an Arizona state park. The state is known for its range of temperatures, from as low as 30 degrees on winter nights to as high as 100 degrees or more on summer days. Dogs shouldn't hike in temperatures above 90 degrees; early morning or late evening outings are preferable. Use caution when going out in temperatures of 40 degrees or below.
Give food and water to your dog appropriately. Dogs shouldn't eat before they hike, but rather afterward, to help prevent sickness. You can give your dog an occasional treat along the trail. Provide plenty of water before the hike and take regular water breaks during it.
Monitor your safety before, during and after the hike. Always have a couple quarts of clean drinking water on hand, especially on the Sonora Desert Trail System, where water sources can be scarce. Bring a first aid kit along with you. Use a map to guide your travel. Let someone know where you and your dog are going and when you will return.
Tips & Warnings
- Train to be in physical shape for hiking. Start with easy paths, and work up to more difficult terrain as your condition grows stronger.
- Take your dog to a vet for a physical exam to make sure it's fit enough to hike.
- Fit your dog with a snug collar, equipped with current identification tags.
- Wait until your dog is rested after the hike before feeding it.
- Watch out for wildlife in Arizona. Snakes and scorpions may be found in deserts. Animals such as prairie dogs and skunks can transport rabies.
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