How to Safely Hike, Camp and Backpack with Your Dog

Oftentimes, you won’t find a better companion for your outdoor adventures than your dog.

Exploring nature, enjoying the fresh air, and getting those steps in can be not only fun but also excellent for bonding. However, to be comfortable and safe, you need to prep, both yourself and your pup. So here are a few essential safety tips to keep in mind when hiking, camping or backpacking with your dog. 

Can your dog endure it?

Before you even start preparing, you need to know that not all dogs are capable of hiking or spending prolonged time in nature. Very young and ancient dogs probably lack the stamina to keep up with you on your trip. Additionally, dogs with short muzzles like boxers, pugs, and bulldogs often lack endurance and have issues with heat regulation. And don’t forget about training. Only well-trained dogs that follow commands should go on trips like yours. 

Have a practice run

If you start with a shorter hike or camping trip, you will see how your dog behaves and how much it can take. Make sure to begin with some easy one-hour hikes on a flat surface, so your dog has time to build stamina and strength. 

Choose the right location

If you know your dog is ready for something more serious, make sure to choose a good place. Many trails and campsites don’t allow dogs, or you’re required to keep them on a leash at all times, so make sure to study your location well. Familiarize yourself with flora and fauna of the area and read all the rules and regulations of your specific trail or campsite. 

Go easy on the paws

Just like you always wear appropriate shoes and gear for your hike and outdoor adventures, your pup needs to do the same. While you can find a lot of info on human sporting gear, if you click here, your dog doesn’t need that much preparation. There are practical hiking booties that will protect their paws and offer some extra heat, and that’s about it. One of the best things you can do for your companion’s feet is choosing a soft, leaf-covered trail without sharp rocks, hot stones, and steep drops. 

Keep the temperature in mind

Weather conditions like freezing temperatures, ice, snow, and extreme heat all pose a danger to your dog. Make sure to rest when the weather is at its hottest and coldest and leave walking for moderate temperatures. Ensure your dog is breathing normally, and if it can’t recover after a short break, consider retiring for the day.  

Pack plenty of food and water

Your dog will need extra energy during your outdoor adventure, so opt for food high in protein and fat. You can also increase your pup’s portions and eat more often. Usually, when you feel like you need a snack, your pop will want one as well. Your thirst can be a useful guide for your dog’s thirst as well. Offer your companion water every 15 to 30 minutes, depending on temperature and trail difficulty. 

Be mindful of dangerous animals and plants

Nature is beautiful but full of hazardous things for your dog. There are creatures like snakes, ticks, and predators that can hurt your furry friend if you’re not cautious. Also, as soon as you notice that your dog is munching on any greenery, stop them. Depending on your location, you can be traveling through prickly or poisonous plant territory where messing with plants can hurt your dog. 

Leave no trail

Even though you’re in nature, you still need to pick up after your pup. All dog’s poop needs to be collected or buried in the ground away from campsites and water sources. Dogs aren’t wildlife, which means it’s not natural to leave their poop in the environment. 

Throw in a light-up collar with a bell, and you’ll have a perfectly safe and happy companion on your hikes, camping trips, and any other sort of outdoor adventure. Make sure to enjoy nature and be grateful that you can share special moments with your dog. 

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