10 Essentials for Hiking with Your Dog
A good hike goes a long way, especially when forming a bond between yourself and your hiking partner. While your friends might hate you for bringing them on an especially difficult hike, your dog is bound to feel closer to you than ever before.
You took them out in the woods and trusted them to lead the way throughout? You let them sniff all the surrounding nature, places they’ve never smelled before? You let them mark all these various rocks and trees, allowing them to leave their trace behind? How could they not love you forever?!
But how do you safely hike with your dog? You need to be prepared. Preparation involves ensuring you have the essential tools to stay safe, wherever you’re hiking. From bringing along a hands-free leash to giving your dog healthy collagen chews for calories, carrying a GPS device to wearing a hiking pack, here’s how you can stay safe while out on the trail.
A downside of collars is that they can choke your dog while walking, hiking, and running. Dog harnesses are a great alternative, as they more evenly distribute the force around your dog. Rather than placing all of the force onto their neck and windpipe, it will move that force around their back and under their ribs. This will increase their comfort, all while allowing you to still have complete control over them.
A hands-free leash
Chances are you’ll also want to keep your hands free. While you could get by holding their leash, you’re bound to become uncomfortable after some time – especially if the leash rubs your hands raw. Hands-free leashes are a good choice, as they will improve your comfort without reducing your dog’s safety. The most common kind is one that connects to your waist, so the force your dog exerts doesn’t manage to pull you in any strange, unpleasant manners.
For anyone who has been on a tough hike, you know you’ll need calories after long enough. For you, that could mean a protein bar, a peanut butter sandwich, or trail mix. But what about your dog?
Bully sticks for dogs and collagen chews are a great option. They provide your dog with a healthy snack to chew on that will provide them with enough calories and nutrients to keep them moving on the trail.
While you may be tempted to let your dog drink out of a nearby stream, pond, or puddle, it’s best to avoid it altogether. Still water often contains pathogens, viruses, and bacteria that can be harmful if drank. Instead, make sure to bring along clean water for your dog to drink. While you’re at it, carry a portable water filter to never be without a clean drinking source.
A water bowl
Don’t forget to bring along a water bowl for your dog, too. While you may want to feed them straight out of your own bottle, you don’t know what exactly their mouth has touched all day. Collapsible bowls are your best choice, as they take up little space and can be carried everywhere.
An ID tag
While you think your dog will remain safe by your side, the unfortunate truth is that your dog can still manage to run off – whether you let them off leash or if they manage to break through their leash and harness. A proper ID tag and collar are essential for that reason, as they will allow you to give your dog an identification, no matter where they run off to. In the event they go missing and are found by a kind stranger, the greater your chances they’ll be returned safely back to you.
A vest or pack
If you want to bring along all these goodies and more for your dog, you’re going to need a place to properly store them. A hiking pack or vest is the best option for carrying all your gear with you wherever you go. Not only does it make it easy to bring your water with you, but you can carry along food for both you and your dog, as well as whatever other gear you need on hand.
Dogs poop, and your dog is bound to poop while you’re out on the trail. Don’t leave their poop on the trail.
While it’s considerate to pick it up, as it will ensure that another person or pet won’t step in it, it’s also important for the good of the environment. It can cause harmful bacteria, nutrients, and pathogens to be spread to other plants, animals, and more. If left behind, a good rainfall can cause their poop to spread to local waterways, which can cause a whole other set of serious environmental issues.
A GPS device
Don’t allow you or your dog to get lost while on the trail. While a physical map can do the trick, you can still find yourself without a way after getting turned around enough times. Don’t take your chances. A GPS device will allow you to accurately pinpoint your location while out on the trail, ensuring you and your dog make the right choices when choosing your direction at a sudden impasse.
A rain jacket
Ever get caught in a rainstorm while out hiking, especially when you didn’t bring any rain gear along with you? Whether it’s a drizzle or a downpour, it can become miserable and dangerous after long enough. You should make sure to bring along a rain jacket for both yourself and your dog. Make sure you fit your dog’s rain jacket on them in advance, as you’ll want to make sure they’re comfortable in it, most of all.
The primary way to stay safe while hiking is to be prepared. Preparation is your best friend on the trail, as it will ensure you can handle nearly whatever nature throws at you. Don’t take your chances on your next hike. Take measures to ensure both you and your dog remain safe while out on the trail.