What could be more fun than getting away from it all in the great outdoors…with your best four-legged friend, of course! Whether you’re planning a short Sunday afternoon hike or a longer backpacking expedition, if you’re bringing your dog along for the adventure, there are a few important must-haves to pack for your dog. Check out this practical checklist, based on advice from the experts at REI, before you set out with your dog.
Food and Water
Bring along collapsible food and water bowls. You can also invest in a dog pack that has a built-in doggie hydration system. Pack enough clean water from home for your dog to avoid dehydration, and also to prevent her from ingesting parasites from drinking water found on the trail. Feed your dog double his normal amount of food if the hike will be strenuous.
You don’t have to share your single sleeping bag with your dog on an overnight trip. REI recommends bringing along a kid’s bag for your dog…or if you two like to snuggle on chilly nights, try a lightweight bag made for two people.
Clothes and Shoes
Dog vests and coats are great for hikes in cold weather, but did you also know they come in handy for hot weather hikes? You can soak your dog’s vest in water to keep her cool as it evaporates over time. Not all dogs like to wear booties on their paws, but it’s worth taking the time to get them used to wearing boots if you’re going to be walking on rough, rocky ground…and if the weather is going to be cold and damp or very hot.
Always be sure to have a pet first aid kit with you on hikes. You can get pre-packed ones or make your own to deal with things like insect bites or stings and cuts or scrapes. Are you backpacking to a lake or river? You may want to bring along a doggie life jacket, aka PFD (personal floatation device). Look for a PFD that fits well, comes in an easy to spot color, and has a handle you can grab on to.
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