How To Take A Boston Terrier Hiking


How To Take A Boston Terrier Hiking. Boston Terrier Society.
Bella hiking on a paved trail.

When you have a Boston Terrier, you will want to take them with you on your most exciting journeys. Hiking is a great way to enjoy the natural beauty while getting in some exercise. There are tons of beautiful hiking trails all over the world that many hikers love to gush about. 

Is it safe to take your Boston Terrier on a hiking trip though, if so what limitations are there? What do you need to make a hiking trip with your dog successful? Below we answer all of your hiking related questions so you and your dog can enjoy this wonderful hobby together.

Can Boston Terriers Go Hiking?

Yes, you can take your Boston Terrier on your next hiking trip. 

In fact, your dog will probably be thrilled to spend some quality time with you. There are, of course, something you will need to consider when planning out a hiking trip with your pet. Since this is your first time taking your dog hiking, he isn’t going to be used to it. To keep him healthy, happy, and safe, you will need to prepare for the trip. 

There are also some conditions that will make it unsafe for your dog to go hiking with you.

Age

When considering outdoor activities, you will want to think about the age of your pet. A young puppy should not be taken on long hikes, and an older dog may not have the stamina for a 3-mile trek up a mountain. 

Socialization

You will also need to have socialized your dog to behave appropriately around other hikers. Many trails are narrow, making it a bad place for your dog to jump on others. 

Basic Commands Learned

You will also want to have some basic training in like sit, stay, and come. These basic commands can be life saviors if a snake or other dangerous animal is encountered.

What Will The Weather Be Like?

The biggest concern when deciding if your Boston can go hiking with you should be the weather conditions. While a slight bit of rain may not ruin your trip, an afternoon full of thunderstorms isn’t something your dog will want to brave. 

Rain

If it has been raining a lot, you may want to check on the status of the hiking trail. Many trails involve rivers or terrain that the rain may have damaged. It’s not unusual to see river hiking trails become flooded for a few days after heavy rains have battered an area.

Wind

High winds can be another problem as they will wear your pet out faster. The perfect weather for hiking should consist of only light breezes or short rain showers. 

Temperature

You will also want to keep the heat in mind. While we can lessen our clothes when it gets hot, are Boston’s can’t. Even with the short coat of the breed, they are prone to overheating in warm temperatures. The same can be said for cold days that may send your pet into hypothermia. 

To avoid this, try to hike early in the morning or later in the evenings. The best seasons to go hiking are Fall and Spring as the temperatures will be milder.

How far can Boston Terriers Hike?

This question will vary a bit as each individual dog has their own personal limits. The maximum amount a dog should hike a day is around the 10-mile mark. The more average amount a dog will be willing to hike is 3 miles. The 10-mile mark will take time to build up towards and should never be expected from a first time hiker. 

Veterinarian Clearance

To figure out just how far your dog can hike with you, research and preparation need to be done. Before beginning any hiking routines, make sure to get your pet checked out by your vet. This is especially important for senior dogs who are more prone to joint problems. 

Once you get the all clear from your vet, you can begin easing your dog into hiking. The best way to do this is by taking extended walks. These walks should include new places like parks your Boston hasn’t visited before, this gets him used to the changing scenery he will encounter while hiking. 

Need help finding a good vet? Check out this article I wrote, How To Choose A Veterinarian.

Easy Progression

Each day you go out, try to extend your walk time by 10 to 15 minutes. Once you reach the one hour mark, try going on a short nature walk. It’s up to you to access the level of fitness your dog is at to determine when he is ready for a full hiking session. The process of extending your dog’s athletic ability can take between a few weeks to a month.

Fatigue During Training

If at any point during the training process, your dog becomes lethargic stop immediately. Some dogs will take longer to build up stamina than others. You should always make sure to feed your dog breakfast before taking them out as working on an empty stomach can have adverse health effects. It can take months or even years to build a pet up to a 10-mile hike. Some dogs will just never have the stamina for such a long walk. Keep in mind that rougher terrain and inclines can also wear out your dog faster.

When To Take A Break

You will need to take plenty of breaks when hiking with your dog. Like most things, the amount and lengths of the breaks you will need to take will vary by your individual pet. There are some signs to watch out for to know when it’s time to take a break. 

Starts Walking Slower Than Usual

If your dog starts to slow in walking speed or it seems to be stopping more then pick a spot to rest. Make sure to supply your dog with water every 30 minutes. 

Breathing Heavier Than Usual

If your dog seems to be having a hard time breathing, then you will want to take an extended break to give him time to recuperate.

Be Prepared To Turn Back

You should be prepared to have to carry your pet if necessary. This is especially important if you’re in a lousy location for rest. If your dog isn’t feeling well, it vital that you consider turning back. 

Even with proper preparation and training, a hike can wear down your dog’s body. If your dog gets spooked by an animal, you will also want to take a break this will give them time to calm down. Never push your animal to continue on a trail if they seem unwilling. This can lead to stress and even a break in trust between you.

What Do I Need To Bring When Hiking With A Boston Terrier?

Preparing for a hike is exciting, but you will want to be prepared to take care of your pet. You should plan for basic needs along with medical emergencies. You will want to prep your Boston before taking them to new territory. 

The Basics

In your usual doggie bag, you should pack water, food, treats, poop bags, and some bowls. If you want to condense the items you carry then pick up a hybrid pet bottle that converts into a bowl. Go the extra mile for your pet, pack a dog poncho and buy all-weather boots for your dog to wear on the hike. 

Hiking in the cold? Consider buying a jacket to keep your Boston warm. Likewise, if you’re going to a waterfall or lake, then there are dog life jackets available for swimming.

Leash and Harness

While you can hike with your dog off leash, I would not suggest it. From a deer jumping out of shrubs to a tree branch falling, there are a ton of sounds found on nature trails that can spook your pet. Even the most loyal of dogs have a chance of running off the path if scared bad enough. It’s best to get a strong hands free dog leash for your trip. This way, your pet is secured without you growing weary of holding onto the leash. 

There are both hands-free leashes that can be attached around your waist or to a backpack. For even more security use a harness instead of a collar. A well-fitted harness won’t have the same chance of slipping off your dog as a standard collar will. There are even sport harnesses available that have pockets built in for your dog’s hiking supplies.

Doggie ID

You will want to get a sturdy ID tag made to attach to your dog’s collar. If possible, embroider the harness with your dog’s name and your phone number is a great idea. 

Vaccinations Up To Date

Be sure to have all of your dog’s vaccines, including an up to date rabies shot before starting your adventure. 

First Aid Kit

You will also want to make a first-aid kit tailored to your Boston Terrier in case of injuries. For this kit, pick up some pet approved antiseptic spray, aspirin, quick clotting gel, and bitter bandages. You should also consider adding in some pet socks to cover any foot injuries that may occur. Pet-friendly wet wipes are another item that can be incredibly useful in your first aid kit.

Insect Repellant

Most importantly make sure you have flea and tick protection. You should consider getting a mosquito repellant for added protection. Nature trails are a hot spot for bugs that could be carrying diseases harmful to your dog. 

Map

This is an obvious thing to bring with you. However, with most people relying on technology, it is always good practice to carry an old fashioned paper map in case technology fails you. Most hiking trails take you miles away from civilization, and cell service, making it hard to get back to your car quickly. 

Some lesser-known hiking trails won’t even have other hikers using it. This means you need to take precautions in case of injury. Make sure to pack a map with you just in case you need to find a faster route back home. 

What Are Some Good Places To Take My Boston Terrier Hiking?

Believe it or not, there are some nature trails out there that aren’t dog-friendly. This tends to apply more in areas that are made to attract tourists. When selecting the place, you want to take your pet check-in to make sure they allow dogs.

Many state parks will even have no dog areas. It’s best to look into rural locations where there is not a huge tourists draw. These trails will generally allow well-mannered pets and their owners, as long as the area is kept free of messes. Other factors like your dog’s personality will play into picking the best hiking trail.

If your dog gets nervous around people, then you will want to learn about trails that have fewer travelers. Generally, a quick online search can give you all the information you need about a particular trail. States like Virginia and California are filled with pet-friendly walking trails of all types. 

Two of the most famous trail suggestions are the Grand Canyon Hiking Trail and the Acadia National Park in Maine. Both these breathtaking locations are completely dog-friendly. If your dog prefers a more water-based adventure, then trails like the Carrillo Tide Pool Trail in California will be perfect for them. 

What Type Of Terrain Is Best For Hiking With A Boston Terrier? 

A Boston Terriers paw pads can endure a little bit of rough terrain, but the breed isn’t made for mountain climbing. Some hiking trails will be a hazard to your dog’s paws while others won’t cause them much strain at all. Like mentioned above, you can even buy hiking boots for your pet to help them overcome rougher hiking trails. For bare footed pets though this is the best types of terrain:

  • Grassy
  • Dirt
  • Sand
  • Smooth Rocks

It is best to avoid gravel, and jagged paths as the rocks can cut or puncture your dog’s feet. You will need to test heat-retaining surfaces to make sure the surface is not hot. Checking the temperature is vital with rocky terrains that heat up quickly in sunlight.

Asphalt nature trails should especially be avoided thanks to their tendency to heat up fast and the rough texture. If you wouldn’t walk on it barefoot then why should your dog?

Final Thoughts…

Yes, you can take your Boston Terrier on a hike with you. However, you will need to train your Boston beforehand to ensure his safety and your enjoyment during the trek. As always be sure to visit your vet before a significant hike to get the all clear from your vet before starting any kind of exercise program with your dog.

Do you have a special trail you like to walk with your dog? Please tell us the location by sharing below. Or please share any hiking tips you have.

Donnie Gardner

Donnie Gardner is the owner of the Boston Terrier Society. He has been raising Bella the Boston since 2010. He resides in Kansas with his wife, daughter, and Bella. His favorite activities are hanging out with family, traveling, running (but has bad knees), and reading non-fiction books.

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