There’s nothing like exploring the great outdogs with your woofer. (Ah, fresh air!) Whether you’re going for a quick afternoon jaunt or tackling your first all-day 14-er, here are six hiking essentials to make it the best experience possible. After reading this, you’ll both be prepared to whirl around in the meadow mid-hike like Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music.
No matter what season you’re hitting the trails, paw protection is a must. Kurgo and Ruffwear offer great bootie options, but if your dog looks uncomfortable (or manages to rip them off in two seconds flat), try Musher’s Secret. The all-natural wax creates a breathable barrier to shield paw pads from rough terrain, chemicals, hot pavement, ice buildup, and more.
Many dogs—especially working breeds like Siberian huskies, Great Danes, and Australian Shepherds—enjoy carrying their own load because they like to feel needed (and don’t we all). For this reason, you may want to consider getting your pup her own backpack to hold items like treats, chilled water bottles, and poop bags. Your vet can help to determine how much weight your hiking companion can carry. Or, you can carry your dog like the baby he is in your heart.
If you’re gonna be out hiking all day, you’ve gotta have noms. Zuke’s beef and blueberry PowerBone is grain- and gluten-free, made from human-grade ingredients with a balanced protein-to-fat ratio. Ruff Bar, in flavors like turkey, beef, and salmon, is another whole-food, no-preservative option.
When it comes to hiking, the less bulk, the better. Instead of lugging your dog’s plastic or metal food and water bowls from home, pick up a couple silicone bowls that collapse for easy and lightweight backpack storing. Also, always pack plenty of water for the both of you—no matter how far you’re hiking. Running into a river or creek along the way is not a guarantee.
Even if your dog is well-trained off-leash, you should always have a leash on hand. KONG makes a short leash with a padded handle and traffic lead for comfort and control. Wanna free up your hands to tackle the terrain? Try out a leash that attaches to your waist.
Even if you’re totally puppared, accidents can still happen while hiking. You can purchase a canine ready-made first-aid kit, or pack your own using tips from ASPCA and the American Kennel Club.
(Photo by Justin Veenema on Unsplash)
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