Your dog loves you unconditionally. They don't care if you skipped work to sit in front of the tv all day. They know better than anyone that you are awesome and need to take care of yourself. So we need to take care of them in return for all of their love and attention.
When we take our pooch out on the trail we need to make sure they are taken care of in the best possible way. We want to keep them safe and secure so they have a good time and so do we. Here is our list of 10 things to remember when hiking with dogs.
1. Research - Not all trails are dog friendly. You need to check into the rules of the road, or trail as the case may be.
2. Leash and collar - I have experimented with several different collars and leashes for Axl, my four legged friend, when he first came to us from Rockstar Rescue in Phoenix. I found that the harness works best when camping, but for hiking I like a simple slip collar. I don't like the kind with pincher/spikes. From what I hear from animal experts they don't work. With the slip collar it keeps them secure if they start to pull.
3. Water and water bowl - Bring a collapsible water bowl for your dog so they can get a real drink of water. I always have an extra water bottle for him and one for me. You need to stay hydrated and so does your dog.
4. Shoes - To shoe, or not to shoe. I am very lucky that Axl is an extremely laid back dog and generally goes with whatever I do to him. I put shoes on him if we are going on a really long hike or if I know the trail is super rocky. The other benefit of shoes is if it's hot their feet stay protected as well.
5. Lights - Axl has his own light up collar for night hikes/walks. It is not only so he can be seen on the leash, but if he were to get off leash we can see him easier. Plus, he is so cute!
6. Treats - you snack during a hike so why not have an extra treat in the bag for your dog.
7. Cooling towel - I have a little blue cooling towel if we get a little too far and he gets too hot. They do come in handy.
8. First aid kit - It's always a good idea to have a first aid kit for you and your dog. I always have tweezers in my backpack for those pesky cactus or stickers on the trail. Your dog will do what they instinctually think to do and bite the offender out which means they end up with a mouth full of needles. As long as you are paying attention, you should be fine to get the prickly out before they can bite it out.
9. Poop bags - Everybody poops. Be prepared and please don't leave it on the trail. Don't even push it off the trail. Imagine if everyone did this with their dogs. We would be hiking in a lot of poop.
10. Have fun! Enjoy your hike and love your dog.