Here are some tips for backpacking with dogs. Just like with humans who are going backpacking, some planning is needed when backpacking with dogs to assure their safety and enjoyment. Perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind is that a loyal dog will often follow along until they are sick or even die. Even if the dog shows no sign of needing it, remember to offer water at regular intervals.
Before the trip there are a number of things that those planning to backpack with dogs needs to do before heading out. The first thing that a person needs to do before going backpacking with dogs is to find locations that allow this. Generally, you will not have too much trouble finding backpacking areas that allow dogs, but it is best to make this your first step. Next, check with your vet to make certain that your dog is up to date on all of their shots. As with people, dogs need to be in shape for the trail. A dog that spends his or her life resting on the couch is probably not able to withstand the physical demands of the trail. Dogs that are not regularly taken on long walks will need to be put through an exercise plan to build cardiovascular stamina and to toughen their paws. Hiking booties for your dogs are a good idea to avoid injuries.
In addition to dog booties there are a number of accessories for a dog that is going hiking or backpacking. A variety of manufacturers make dog backpacks. There are few things more cute than a dog with their own backpack! Keep the weight of the pack to less than 25% of the dog’s body weight. Remember that the dog may want to play in water, roll in smelly things, and do general dog things. Keep this in mind when packing the dog’s pack.
People planning to go backpacking with their dogs will need to be able to control them. Wildlife, farm animals, and other hikers are just some of the common distractions that a dog on a backpacking trip may face. Even those with well behaved dogs should bring along a leash, muzzle, and other control items just in case. Dog feces should also be dealt with properly to avoid spreading disease to wildlife. Remember to bring along a brush to remove whatever becomes tangled into the dog’s fur, extra towels for drying the dog before it enters the tent, and dishes to feed the dog. Dogs too will need extra calories to replace what they burn, be certain to bring along enough food.
With some planning and exercise there is no reason to not take your best friend along on the trail. Backpacking with dogs should be an enjoyable experience. Speaking of enjoyable experience, I highly recommend you also buy my current favorite The PNW Ultralight Backpack. Check out my post next week!