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Hiking, without question, is one of the best ways to reconnect with nature and, most importantly, your hiking buddy, whoever they might be. Being away from worldly distractions and your usually busy life allows you to bond with your pet dog in a way no other activity can.
However, you must be prepared and never embark on it without being fully equipped. To ensure that your dog gets a safe and happy trail, you must equip them and yourself with every possible gear you may need. Here’s our advice on some of them.
A first-aid box should always be on top of your list when it comes to gearing yourself up for a safe hike. You can never fully predict what can happen to you while hiking, which is why it’s always better to be safe than sorry. While there isn’t any strict requirement for what you need to carry, make sure to have the following:
While there may be several hiking spots you’re familiar with, make sure to do enough research about your backpacking destination. Some places have certain rules and regulations about bringing your dog along, and you will have to adhere to them. Some spots may also require your furry friend to be on a leash the whole time, so you should be careful about the place you choose.
No matter how friendly you think your dog may be, not everyone is open to having them around, which is why packing the right hiking gear also has a lot to do with your hiking destination. If you end up going to a spot that requires your dog to be on a leash, make sure to have a waist leash.
Never underestimate the importance of taking enough equipment to rest once you’re done hiking. If the weather is cold, make sure to bring a cozy mat for your dog to sleep on as well. Typically, a sleeping bag for you and your dog should be enough if you’re not planning to camp on site.
Your camping experience relies a lot on having the right equipment at your disposal. Since taking rest every now and then is necessary to continue a good hike, it’s important to bring your resting gear along. Moreover, there’s no guarantee how the weather might turn out, so you should have some form of shelter available at all times.
Even though this is one of the most basic additions to your hiking gear, it’s also the most important one. It’s not uncommon to come across unsanitary conditions while hiking. If your dog still accidentally drinks contaminated water on the way, it may cause their health to deteriorate to the point of no return. Your dog needs as much hydration as you do, so make sure to have enough water to get you and your dog through the entire journey.
Be mindful of the fact that there will be other people on the trail beside you and your dog. It’s important to be respectful of hygiene every step of the way, especially if you’re with your pet. No matter how well trained your pet is and how well you think they can carry themselves at home, hiking is a whole other world, and your dog may not act the way they do otherwise.
Therefore, you must carry a few poop bags to clean up after them – whenever required. Moreover, consider getting biodegradable waste bags as you can easily toss them in outhouse toilets, and they’re also easy to carry for your dog in their backpack.
You may be wondering why you need to take toys for your dog when they’re already on a getaway. This is because hiking at one point can become too repetitive, which means your dog may need something else to do in between. Toys can do wonders to relieve your dog’s stress, especially if this is the first time you’re taking them for a hike. They provide a sense of comfort to your dogs and are also easy to carry around.
Your dog’s safety gear is yet another important thing to be mindful about, no matter how trained they are. Trails are never predictable; and given how your dogs act differently when you expose them to different situations, they may try to explore and get lost on the way.
Therefore, never leave them without an ID tag that has your contact details on it. Prepare for unexpected circumstances beforehand and understand that it is possible for your dog to feel scared and overwhelmed, which may lead to them trying to escape. If ID tags aren’t enough, also add bear bells and night lights to the list.
Food only comes next in line after hydration, but it’s also equally important. Your body requires much more energy on a trail than it does daily, given how many calories you get to burn in the process. It’s also the same for your dog because going on a hike stresses their body out, unlike any other activity they may have pursued. It’s not the same as a walk in the park, and they will demand more food, so make sure to pack some extra food based on their daily portions.
If you’re going for a hike in winter, keep an insulated jacket in your backpack. Don’t get fooled by the notion that your dog will be fine without one because they have fur. Despite having fur, they may still get cold, especially if you’re hiking during the winter. Temperature drops are very common at night so make sure to keep your dog warm with a fleece or a jacket.
In conclusion, taking the right hiking gear will make your and your dog’s journey pleasant and comfortable. If this is your first time taking a pet along, make sure to do enough research about their strength and whether they can handle the amount of physical stress.