Dog Hiking Adventures
Hiking alone in the mountains or prairies or other natural areas around your home brings with it a sense of solace and peace that can´t be found elsewhere. It can also, however, be somewhat lonely. If you love hiking but can´t find friends who are willing to hit the trail with you every weekend, finding parks and trails that are dog friendly is one way to feel accompanied while out enjoying the Great Outdoors. Not only is it satisfying to watch the energy and enthusiasm of your dog as he or she runs free through the natural wonders of Nature, but it will also boost your energy levels as you try and make it up that last hill.
If you love hiking with your dog and try to take advantage of every weekend to get your best buddy out of the house and into a place where he or she can burn off some excess energy, you need to know what to bring with you. Just like you, your dog might also feel tired at times and need some creature comforts to enjoy the time on the trail. Below we offer advice on the top five pieces of gear to bring with you when hiking with you dog.
A Dog Backpack
First and foremost, you need to let your little pal know that while you love having him or her on the trail with you, they need to pull their own weight as well. Water weighs 8 pounds a gallon, and unless you are hiking along a trail with several creeks along the way, your pack will most likely be pretty heavy with the water you´re toting around for you and your pup.
Fortunately, several outfitters have begun to make and market dog backpacks that fit snuggly onto your dog´s back so he or she can carry his or her own water and any other treats that they might want along the way. Instead of shopping the internet for hours, check out this post to help you find the best dog backpack.
Of course, your dog´s backpack full of water isn´t much use unless you bring along a water dish as well. Trying to pour water into your own cupped hand so that Fido can get a drink or two is definitely not very efficient. Your regular water bowl at home, however, is probably too bulky and large to comfortably take along with you. There are several lightweight plastic dog dishes that can easily be fit into a backpack, either yours or your dogs.
Sometimes your little spunky one can get a little too excited while on the path, and who can blame him. After spending hours on end cooped up at home while you are out working, the feeling of freedom on the trail is understandably intoxicating. If your dog does get of his or her leash, or if she gets lost somewhere on the trail, you will want to have a picture ID with you to ask fellow hikers if they have seen your dog somewhere up the trail. Having a picture will help you to make sure that even if your pup does get lost, you will be able to find him or her quickly.
Insect Repellent and Tick Medicine
Even though dogs don´t usually get stung by mosquitoes and other pests on the trail, you might very well want to spray them down with a bit of your insect repellant so that they won´t have to deal with bugs buzzing around their head the entire length of the trail. If you live in an area where ticks are present, make sure to add a little bit of the tick medicine you use to keep your pup protected from lime disease and other dangerous diseases that come from tick bites. If you don´t like the chemical-based repellants, there are now several natural options made from essential oils that you can purchase.
If you are fortunate enough to live near a state park or recreation area where dogs are allowed to run wild, and if you trust your dog to stay by your side (mostly) while on the trail, you can leave the leash behind. If you run the risk of getting fined by the local ranger or don´t trust your dog to be loose, then you might want to bring along a leash. Instead of a short leash that will end up choking your poor pup, bring along an expandable leash so that you can allow him or her to explore the surroundings when no one else is around.
Enjoy the Natural World with Your Best Buddy
With these five essential pieces of gear you will be able to assure that every hiking trip with your dog will be a memorable one. And if you invest in a quality doggie backpack, you can let your dog carry his or her own weight while on the trail. If they´re strong enough, you might even consider letting your dog carry for you the bottle of wine that you and your partner wanted to enjoy once you make it to the overlook at the end of the trail.
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