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Hiking and Backpacking with Your Dog

Hiking and Backpacking with Your Dog

Gear to Consider

If you are a hiker and a dog owner, then it’s likely that your furry friend will be your best trail buddy. Most dogs will enjoy a trek in the outdoors, but it’s important to be mindful of your dog’s endurance and fatigue - and preparation is key.

Let’s explore some necessary gear to consider to make your hiking trip safe and enjoyable for you and your furry friend.

 

Dog Pack

The versatile dog pack is a fantastic addition to any hike. The key is to make sure you find a pack that fits your dog properly and get him used to wearing it before your trip.

Before you check into outdoor retailers, measure the circumference of your dog’s chest to find the right size. Make sure the straps are sturdy around his body, but not too tight that he can’t breathe. A good rule of thumb is that you should be able to fit two fingers underneath the pack when it’s on your dog.

Start by introducing the pack to your dog with treats and praise so he builds positive association. Let him wear it around the house for a bit, and as he gets used to it, try taking him outside on a walk while he is wearing it. Gradually increase the weight to get him comfortable. It’s safe to put about 20-25% of your dog’s body weight in the pack - but always check with your vet first.

 

First Aid Kit

Accidents can happen anywhere - especially in the great outdoors. Make sure to pack a First Aid kit for you and your dog. Think of including the basics, like: absorbent gauze pads, antiseptic wipes, thermometer, tweezers, etc., but also plan for the worst case scenario.

Your vet, Red Cross, or the Humane Society would all be great resources for you to make sure you and your dog are covered in case you have an emergency.

 

Hiking Booties

Booties might look a little silly, but they can protect dog’s feet from hot surfaces, snow, sharp rocks, and thorns. Nine times out of ten, booties won’t be necessary because most dogs have paws that were built to withstand the elements. But some dogs can benefit from booties if they have furry feet that easily collect ice or rocks between their toes.

Many dogs will flat out refuse to wear booties, so try them out at home first. But just like a baby with socks, dogs will lose these - so make sure to pack spares.

 

Dry Towels

When you head out for a hike, always make sure to bring an extra towel. You’ll be happy you did when your dog decides to jump in the river or roll around in the mud.

 If you plan on camping, bring an extra towel to keep outside of the tent to wipe your dog’s paws before he enters.

 

Dog Jacket or Sweater

Even if the temps are warm, it’s always smart to pack a dog coat or sweater in case mother nature turns. If you are hiking in higher elevations, weather can sometimes be cooler and unpredictable.

To be fully prepared, make sure to bring something warm for your dog to wear.

 

Light Up Collar

Always be prepared for the sun to go down, even if you only plan for a day hike. When there is no natural light, you need to be able to see your dog. The Wagz Freedom Collar has a built-in safety light. And there are other light up collars out there - just do your research to find a reliable product. 

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