6 must have pieces of dog hiking swag
When you have enough time to get out of the gym grind and hit the open trail instead, it’s the perfect opportunity to get your pup a little extra exercise, too. He’ll be thrilled to explore and enjoy Mother Nature, and you’ll get your workout at the same time. Plus, it’ll be a good excuse to post a puppy-dog parent selfie with thick, colorful flora as the backdrop. Before you take a trek with your pup, pack these essentials for the hike.
- Food and water. First things first: your puppy will need fuel for the mountain workout. Depending on how long you intend to hike, you may only need a little bit of kibble, but if you’re going to be out all day, pack three square meals. Beef up the portion size a bit since your furry friend will be burning extra calories out on the trail. Bring plenty of water, too, and offer Fido a sip every time you take one. A collapsible water bowl will help dispense the water, but some water bottles are also created specifically for pooches, so they can be dismantled trailside and transformed into a makeshift water bowl.
- ID tags and microchip. If you don’t already have your dog microchipped, it’s time to visit the vet. She can implant the small plastic chip with your contact info, so if your pup scampers off, he’ll be easily returned to you safe and sound. Also make sure he’s wearing his ID tags in case another hiker stumbles upon him after he sprints off.
- Dog booties and baggies. To keep your puppy’s precious paws safe on the hike, slip some booties over them. Bonus points if you pick a pair that matches with your own outdoorsy outfit. Also bring along waste bags to pick up after your dog along the trail, so that those hikers who come after you don’t stumble upon any stinky surprises.
- Leash and harness. Even if your canine has mastered “sit” and “stay” at doggy daycare, you should still probably keep him on a six-foot leash for the duration of your hike. But don’t pack his normal collar, since this might cause irritation when he tugs you along the trail. Instead, opt for a harness that will keep him secure without putting any strain on his neck or back.
- First aid kit and tick key. You should always bring along some first aid supplies for yourself, so throw a few extras in for dog. The first aid kit should include pup-appropriate bandages, Benadryl in case of an allergic reaction to a sting or plant, and tweezers, at the very least. You might also want to buy a tick key, a small metal tool that looks almost like a bottle opener. Check your pooch regularly for ticks along the trail, and when you spot one, you can use the tick key to quickly unlock it from his fur.
- Doggy backpack. If you find yourself overloaded with stuff, let your furry friend take on some of the burden. Many outdoorsy stores sell packs specifically designed for canine torsos, and making use of one will lighten your own load. Of course, make sure it matches your pup’s booties—the cuter the pack, the better the Snapchat opportunities.
A Guide to Hiking with Your Dog [Brian’s Backpacking Blog]
How to hike with your dog: Tips, rules and great gear [Mother Nature Network]