Backpacking with your dog can be even more of an adventure than going it alone. But you can’t just plan for yourself and head off, taking your pup with you.
You’ll need to do some planning and packing for your dog too, and here are our best tips and tricks for making sure both you and your furry best friend have a great experience.
#1 Safety First
Safety is always the most important thing when going on a trip. Make sure your dog is wearing a collar and tag with all their relevant information as well as your contact details in case they get away from you.
Keep your pup on their leash at all times when you’re out. It’s easy for them to get excited and runoff. Also, don’t forget that your dog’s paws are sensitive and need to be protected from the hot ground and sharp stones. Consider getting them a pair of booties to protect their paws.
#2 Build a Doggy First Aid Kit
You’ll probably pack headache pills and anti-nausea tablets for yourself, but don’t forget to be prepared for doggy illness and injury too. Your pup might hurt their paw on the trail or eat something their tummy doesn’t like.
Bandages are always a good thing to stock up on. Some distilled water and gauze to clean scrapes and antiseptic cream are helpful, and so are tweezers in case your dog steps on a thorn.
You can ask your vet for dog-friendly solutions to nausea and vomiting and how to keep your dog safe from ingesting anything they shouldn’t while out in nature.
#3 Pack Enough Food & Water
You’ll need to have enough food with you that your dog can eat their normal amount every day. You may need to take a bit extra because if they’re going to be walking a lot they’re likely to be burning more calories.
If you’re going to be away for a long time and can’t take that amount of food with you, make sure you plan to make regular stops at places where you can stock up. Also, make sure you rest often to allow your dog to drink.
It’s recommended to not feed your dog human food because it can upset their stomach. So making sure there are stores along the way to top up their kibble is essential.
#4 Remember To Clean Up
You still need to clean up after your dog, and if you’re out in nature that may mean burying their waste. The Leave No Trace principle is one to follow when backpacking, and you should always make sure there are no parcels lying around for other hikers or backpackers to step in.
#5 Get Your Dog a Backpack
No doubt you already have a quality outdoor pack. If you’re struggling to fit everything into your pack, why not look at getting your dog a pack too? There are dog backpacks available online or in stores, and you can distribute the load a little easier.
If your dog is young and strong, it can carry about 25% of its own weight. Don’t let your dog carry their own food or anything with an interesting scent, or they’ll be trying to get at it the whole time!
It’s also a good idea to take some walks with your dog with the pack on before you actually go on the backpacking trip, to get them used to it.
If you plan properly and make sure both you and your dog have everything you need for a good trip, backpacking with your dog can be quite an exciting time to let loose, explore, and bond!
If you’re a backpacker but not yet a dog parent, why not adopt a dog to accompany you on your adventures?
Happy backpacking, friends!
Guest blog post contributed by: Mike Powell