Hiking represents a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with both nature and your canine companion. You and your co-pilot can truly bond on the hiking trail, free from mobile phones and other distractions, as you feel the terrain beneath your feet, take in the unfiltered beauty of nature, and pause to smell the clover (or whatever else strikes your dog's nose).
When going on a day (or multi-day) trip on a backcountry trail, the old adage "be prepared" applies, starting with correct footwear, useful dog gear, and basic safety precautions. Although the goods you carry will differ from trip to trip and dog to dog, there are a few items that every one of us should carry in our packs. Each member of your hiking party, whether human or canine, must sign a waiver. Keep in mind that the best way to ensure your dog's safety on the trail is for you to be safe, comfortable, and well-fed.
Essential Hiking Materials For You and Your Dog
- Navigation: Carry and understand how to interpret a topographic map of the area you intend to visit. Carry a compass as well, and be sure you know how to use it.
- First Aid Supplies: There's no need for anything fancy, especially if you're unfamiliar with how to use unusual products. Ensure that you have plastic bandages, gauze bandages, aspirin, and other Red Cross-recommended goods on hand. A Red Cross first-aid course is recommended as a minimum.
Repair Kits and tools: A pocket knife is useful; nevertheless, a multi-tool is preferable. A little pair of pliers or scissors, both of which are usually seen on compact multi-tools, can come in handy at any time. A 20-foot piece of nylon rope, a tiny roll of duct tape, some 1-inch webbing and extra webbing buckles (to replace damaged pack straps), and a small tube of Super Glue make up a basic repair kit.
Nutrition (extra food): Pack enough food that you'll have leftovers after a smooth trip—the extra food will keep you fed and fueled in the event of an emergency. The same thing has to do with water. You must keep the dog hydrated.
Emergency Shelter: A reflective space blanket or tube tent might be as basic as a few extra-large waste bags, or it might be something more efficient like a reflective space blanket or tube tent. Most people also have an emergency survival kit in addition to these necessities. A little metal mirror, an emergency Mylar blanket, a whistle, and a tiny signal smoke canister are all kept in this tiny box at the bottom of their packs, and they're all handy for signalling to search parties whether they've found anything.
Doggy Backpacks (for longer hikes): A reflective space blanket or tube tent might be as basic as a few extra-large waste bags, or it might be something more efficient like a reflective space blanket or tube tent. Most people also provide an emergency survival kit in addition to these necessities. A little metal mirror, an emergency Mylar blanket, a whistle, and a tiny signal smoke canister are all kept in this tiny box at the bottom of most packs, and they're all handy for signalling to search parties whether they've found anything.
Dog Food And Trail Treats: You should bring more food than your dog regularly consumes because he/she will be burning more calories than usual, and you will need to keep the pup nourished if you end up spending an extra night out there. Trail treats provide instant energy and a pick-me-up for your dog, just as they do for you, throughout a long day of hiking.
Insect Repellant: Be careful as certain insect repellents might cause severe allergic responses in some animals and people. So, before you leave the house, dab some repellant on a patch of your dog's fur to watch how he reacts. Keep an eye out for tiredness, lethargy, or nausea. Remember to apply repellent only to areas that the dog can't lick, such as the shoulders, back of the neck, and around the ears (avoiding the ears and inner ears), which are also near the most logical places mosquitoes and other bugs will be hunting for exposed skin to attack (the eyes, nose, and inner ears). Also, inspect your dog's entire body for ticks, foxtails, and other parasites.
Dog Booties: These aid in the protection of the dog's feet from rocky terrain and harsh foliage. They also hold bandages in place if the dog's pads are damaged.
Compact Roll of Plastic Bags And Trowel: On popular routes, you'll need the bags to clean up after your dog. You can use the trowel to clean up your dog's faeces when the situation calls for it. Pretend you're a cat and dig a six- to eight-inch-deep hole in the forest duff, drop the dog waste, then fill in the hole.
Flashlight/Headlamps: You'll need a headlight or torch to follow the route, if you're trapped after dark. You'll need it to build up an emergency camp, gather wood, and so on if you're forced to stay the night. Extra batteries and bulbs should also be carried.
Also, there are some tips you need to follow before you hike with your Dog:
- Tell Someone Your Hiking Plans: It's important that someone knows where you're going and when you're expected to return. If you fall into difficulties, rescuers will know where to start looking for you.
- Do Your Research: Make sure you have adequate route-finding information, such as maps, guides, or a GPS file of the trip. Check the terrain and weather for the conditions on the day of the trek, and make sure you and your dog have dressed appropriately for the weather. It's too hot to take your dog trekking if the temperature is above 30°C/85°F. Hiking is best done early in the morning or late at night.
- Obedience Training: It's important to master the fundamentals, such as "come," "stay," and "heel," especially if you and your dog are new to canine-friendly routes.
- Be Aware Of Wildlife: Making noises, shouting occasionally, or wearing bells will alert wildlife to your presence. This is especially true near raging torrents and densely forested areas.
- Being In A Good Physical Condition is Key: Trails can be challenging, so it's crucial to know your and your dog's limits. If this is your first hike, start with a short one to build up your endurance. Also, some breeds, like Bulldogs, French Bulldogs, Boston Terriers, and others, are not well adapted for extended walks.