Your dog loves the great outdoors as much as you do. Don’t leave your best friend behind when you plan a weekend adventure. Outfit your dog with all the gear it needs to pull its own weight, have a great time, and not get lost. Here is some of the best dog gear on the market, and some tips for taking your dog with you on your trip.
Wherever you hike and camp, make sure it’s dog friendly. Not only must you check whether the trails, park, and campsites allow dogs on them, but you also should assess your dog’s health and ask yourself: is my dog ready for a hike? And if the answer is yes, then what kind of hike? The stature, build, and fitness of your dog effects it just as much as those variables effect your capabilities when on a hike. Gage what your dog is ready for by how much walking/playing/fetching it does on a regular basis. If you go for long walks on the beach with a Frisbee everyday, then your dog is probably fit enough for a good five or six mile hike. However, you should start low and assess your dogs performance before you push its limits.
Is your dog socialized? How does it react when faced with people and other dogs it doesn’t know? Has it been trained, or it will chase woodland animals? Dogs that lack discipline oftentimes are taken over by instinct when faced with new people, other dogs, or animals they see as prey. Instinct can make an untrained dog bolt into the woods after a dear, rabbit, or squirrel, and you’re voice will have no power over them. Make sure you have complete control over your dog before you take it on a hike.
First Aid & Gear
First aid and gear are closely related. With the right gear you’ll hopefully avoid any need for your first aid kit—however, you should always have one with you. The first aid kit doesn’t need to vary from a typical first aid kit. Include bandages, gauze, a needle and thread, ointment for burns and rashes, medical adhesive tape, ibuprofen, and thin nosed tweezers for splinters and thorns, as well as antibacterial cream for cuts. The American Veterinary Medical Association provides doggy first aid training, so you know how to work on your pooch if something does go wrong.
Hopefully with the right gear you won’t have any mishaps. Keep tabs on your dog if it likes to wander from the camp site with a GPS-tracking e-collar. Provide your dog with extra warmth in the form of a jacket or sweater, and let it carry its own water and food with a pack harness. If there’s a possibility of snow, make sure your dog doesn’t get frostbite with dog boots. Not only do boots protect against cold, but they also provide extra protection from spurs, sharp rocks, and other abrasives that might slice the soft underside of a paw.