Pilgrim buddy on four legs

Hiking to Mariazell with your dog

If you want your four-legged friend to accompany you on the way to Mariazell, there are a few important things to keep in mind—from route planning to the right equipment.

Dogs are welcome—this is true for the historic Via Sacra as well as its younger sibling, the nature-oriented Vienna Pilgrimage Trail. Nevertheless, dog owners should answer a few honest questions before they embark on their pilgrimage with their four-legged friend. Is my dog healthy and socially compatible? Does it have a solid level of basic obedience? Does the dog walk well on a lead, is it able to control its hunting instinct, and can it be called off reliably? Then nothing stands in the way of a long-distance hike together.

Beastly good planning

From the age of one year, dogs are capable of walking longer distances. The important thing here is good planning. On average, a dog in good condition can walk five to seven hours of hiking time or 20 to 25 kilometres of distance per day. Both two- and four-legged hikers benefit from taking regular breaks of at least 15 minutes—preferably in the shade under the trees. At least as important as the right hiking boots for master or mistress: a well-fitting dog harness or high-quality lead that is attached to the hip belt of the hiking backpack. Especially in pasture areas, it is imperative to keep your dog on a lead.

The dog's luggage

Even though the needs of each dog are different, a few important basics should not be missing from your dog's luggage in addition to a chest harness or lead: dog waste bags, a light dog blanket, high-quality food and treats, a foldable dog bowl as well as a drinking bottle for dogs, a muzzle, the pet passport with microchip number and a well-equipped first aid kit for dogs including tick tweezers. A natural ointment nourishes your four-legged friend's paws and protects and prepares it for the next day.

When you are on the move, the rule of thumb is: Feed them more frequently with smaller portions. Giving your dog overly large portions will make it sluggish; after breakfast, it is a good idea to let your dog rest for a bit before taking off.