Essentials You Need for Hiking with Your Dog
There’s nothing like taking to the trails with your best friend, especially if it’s a four-legged one! However, if you head out without the necessary supplies such as dog bowls and water, it may be a harder hike than you realize! Having the right gear on hand means you and your dog will be prepared for anything the woods can throw at you. Here are a few supplies you should bring along to help make your wilderness walks memorable for all of the right reasons.
Food and Water
Just like you need an energy boost and hydration on longer treks, your dog needs snacks and water when enjoying the outdoors. Bring along some energy-dense snacks as your dog will be burning more calories as it weaves through the trees. Water is extra important since dogs don’t sweat. Filling dog bowls with bottled water will hydrate your pup just fine but don’t rely on nearby streams or lakes. You can never be sure how clean the water source may be.
Collapsable Dog Bowls
Anyone who’s been on a walk and has needed to give their dog a quick drink knows the value of a collapsable dog bowl. Even a small standard bowl takes up too much valuable backpack space. However, feeding your dog its lunch on the ground and forcing it to drink from a stagnant puddle is not a good idea, either. Collapsable bowls let you hydrate your furry friend and be back on the trail before you know it, saving both time and space while keeping your pup ready to go!
Hiking is more than just enjoying the outdoors. It also requires a level of respect for nature and other backpackers as well. Bring along a trowel and waste bags to clean up any messes your dog makes. Put baggies in a container that seals tightly to keep the smells at bay, or use biodegradable bags that can be tossed into portable toilets. If the mess can’t be cleaned up, simply bury it like your dog would do if they could use a spade!
First Aid Kit
You should always have a small first aid kit on hand when hiking, and your favorite trail buddy should have one, too. While much of what can be found in a canine first aid kit is similar to human varieties, there are some specific supplies you may want to include, such as:
- Extra Leash and Collar
- Soft Muzzle
- Collapsable Dog Bowls
- Canine First Aid Manual
- Copy of Vaccination Records
Standard supplies including bandages, wraps, gauze, and hydrogen peroxide are all good to have as well. While combining the two kits into one may sound like a great space-saving idea, it may be better to have one for each hiker so supplies don’t run short.
A dog with a leash is going for a walk. A dog with its own backpack is going on a hike! Bringing your pet along into the woods means a lot of extra gear you’ll need to stuff in your own bag. Believe it or not, your dog won’t mind sharing the load! Getting a well-fitting dog pack will let your puppy partner pull its own weight, and you don’t need to worry about where you’re going to fit poop bags and dog bowls amongst all of your other gear.
The main worry most owners have when taking their pets into the wilderness is being able to find them if they get lost. Having your dog race off of the trail chasing a squirrel can be a disaster if you aren’t well-prepared. Having an ID tag on your pet’s collar with its name and phone number will go a long way to getting it back home if the worst should occur. For some extra security, some collars have built-in GPS trackers to help pinpoint your pet’s location once they tire of running down rabbits.
Before you even set foot on the trails, you may want to make sure your dog is ready for the challenge. Bringing an undisciplined dog into the woods may be a recipe for disaster. Trail-skill training at home will help prepare your pup to listen even in the most distracting of circumstances. Work on recalls and focus training first to make sure your friend will come when you need it. Loose-leash and off-leash skills are also essential if you lose control of your pet.
Sharing the Joy
Going on a hike is a great way to immerse yourself in nature, and bringing a furry buddy along only adds to the experience. Not only does hiking with your pet build stronger bonds between you, but it also lets you see the joy and freedom of being outdoors that only a dog can feel. Bring along the right equipment when you hit the trails helps to ensure the trip is as much fun for your pup as it is for you!