Five Essentials For Hiking With Your Dog
A Pacific Northwest summer means spending lots of time in the forest. We all can’t wait to hit the trail with our dogs, but before we do it’s important to ensure your camping trip is comfortable and safe for our pets. You wouldn’t walk out into the woods with no food, water, or first aid materials —neither should your dog! Go through the list below to ensure you have everything needed for summer fun with your four-legged friends.
Healthy, Easily-Transported Food
Unless you get a dog backpack (highly recommended!), you’ll be carrying extra weight for their food and supplies. A lot of dry food can be heavy and cumbersome. Cans are impossible to get rid of when camping, plus they’re heavy to carry and take up a lot of room. That’s one of the reasons why we created our new shelf-stable meal pouches in lightweight, Earth-friendly pouches shaped the same as a backpacking food pouch.
Smaller dogs can subsist on a pouch, but for larger dogs, it’s best to pack a bit of dry food to mix with the wet food for a special treat after a long day on the trail that they’ll love!
Protection From Wildlife
Nothing makes a camping trip less enjoyable than a visit from unwanted critters. For the little guys, keep your dog comfortable with preventative flea and tick medication before the start of summer. Make sure they’re double-protected in especially buggy areas with a flea and tick collar, which can be purchased on Amazon. Some outdoor experts also recommend putting coconut oil on your pet's coat as a healthy alternative, but you should ensure your dog has a general flea and tick protection along with natural alternatives.
Even if your dog is bigger, a run in with a bear or mountain lion would be devastating. Train your dog to remember a recall, either in a class or by going to the park and creating a signal that brings them back to you. If you’re especially concerned, keep your dog in your tent, instead of following the tethering guidelines below.
If your dog is well-trained, it may be easy to take him on just a leash. But to be safe in high-traffic areas or places where you may encounter predators, secure your dog with a strong leash. A harness with backpack aspects that sit on your dog's haunches also may be useful to carry some of their gear. As a general rule, your dog shouldn’t carry more than 25% of its body weight.
Collapsible Bowls, First Aid Kit And A Tether
These are the basic essentials, along with food and water, that will get you through a camping trip. It’s easy to get lightweight, collapsible bowls to feed and water your dog- check Amazon or any outdoor store (you can even get some for your meals too!) A dog’s first aid kit is going to be pretty similar to a humans, because if your dog is injured, you want to sterilize the wound and bandage it. However, you can buy canine-specific kits to add to your own first aid kit.
At night, your dog may want to have the freedom to roam, instead of being cooped up in the cabin or tent. Unless you’ve previously camped with your dog and know they’ll return to camp, use a tether at night to ensure they can move about freely while also being safely close by. 15-30 feet should be long enough for free movement, while also short enough to keep them in a safe radius of your camp.
A Water Source
This may be a ‘duh,’ but it can be hard to prevent your dog from drinking water from unsafe sources. Plan your hike around larger bodies of water to ensure they can play and cool off if things get too hot. To prevent any dehydration, give them lots of clean water at camp too. A Sawyer straw is very lightweight and can filter from any source of water pretty quickly for you or your pup, but it’s ideal in deep or running water. As always, iodine pills and UV treatment also work.
When we get into camp, we like to crack a beer, eat some trail mix, and maybe even eat some s’mores… While chocolate and alcohol are a big no-no for dogs, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t bring them special treats to keep them motivated. Any of our brew biscuits or gluten-free alternatives are easy to pack for a special reward for your pup. Check all varieties out here!
This summer, have fun and relax on the trail with your pup! The best trips start with preparation. Add in some good food- for both you and your four-legged friend- and everyone will be sleeping peacefully under the stars! What do you do to prepare for camping with dogs? Tell us in the comments or on our Facebook page.
At Portland Pet Food Company, we make healthy, natural dog treats and healthy, natural dog food toppings. Our dog treats and toppings are especially good for senior dogs and dogs who are picky eaters. Gluten-free options are available in our dog treats and dog food toppings. We also offer a fresh dog food subscription service that can save you time and money.