When heading out for a hike with your dog, don’t forget her supplies. Here are some ideas for dog hiking items, from a previously printed article.
If hiking less than four hours, take one to two water bottles for your dog. Offer water to her every half hour. She’s working hard too. Don’t risk dehydration and heat stroke.
For longer hikes, take more. Jan Holley, a handler with Rocky Mountain Rescue Dogs (a canine search and rescue organization in northern Utah), recommends adding flavored electrolyte powders to the water. “Hydration is a major concern, especially in the summer months.”
Take along a collapsible cloth bowl for dispensing the water. Be sure to wash and dry it when you return home.
Trails usually require leashes. If trail policy allows for off -leash dogs, still take one. You’ll need a leash at the trailhead because of traffic.
If you don’t entirely trust your dog around people or other dogs, keep her on a leash at all times. A leash lets you pull her aside should you encounter a rattlesnake, horses, or mountain bikers whipping around blind corners. A leash also prevents your dog from wandering into the brush, picking up the oils from poison ivy. Plus you want to minimize her exposure to ticks and wild animals.
Always, right? Your dog will tell you the same thing.
For doggie clean-up, take a couple plastic bags. Recycle grocery bags for this purpose. Most trails stipulate clean-up. If not, it’s still good policy (and considerate of other trail users) to do so.
First Aid Kit
Take some first aid essentials, just in case. Ready-made dog kits are available, or embellish a “human” kit with items recommended by your veterinarian.
If your dog is Beagle sized or bigger, consider having her carry her own water and treats. Outfit her with a well-constructed, comfortably snug doggie backpack. Take her to pet stores and outdoor recreation outfitters to try on packs before investing.
If hiking in the snow, purchase a set of booties for your dog. Think Iditarod. Booties for sled dogs are required on account of ice, hard packed snow, and sharp rocks. Your dog will be subjected to the same, cutting her pads and making them bleed.
“Booties are also critical in hot, sandy areas,” says Holley.
Look for waterproof booties with flexible rubber soles with tread patterns for traction. Size them right for a comfortable fit. Booties can be used year round, and you may want them for neighborhood walks on account of salt, ice melt, glass, and hot pavement in summer.
“Head Out for a Hike” appeared in the September 2011 issue of Dog Fancy.