Whether your family is enjoying the warm days of the northern hemisphere summer or the chilly days of the southern hemisphere winter, a hike through the woods is always a great idea. To help you prepare for your next hike, below are six essential items to take with you.
A dog pack is a great way to carry all of your doggy essentials. Plus, it stimulates us both mentally and physically because we're wearing it. Before stuffing it full, practice wearing it around the house with nothing in it. Then gradually add items to it, along with the length of time you wear it. When you're ready to venture out with a full pack check that the pack is balanced well, has a snug fit when your standing and loosens when in a sit position. Checkout Ruffwear for great dog packs.
Water + Bowl
According to Pets.webmd.com dogs should drink 1 oz of water per pound or 30 ml per .450 kilograms. I weigh in at a whopping 31kgs, which means I should drink just under 2 litres of water a day. For a 2-3 hour hike 2 litres of water for me and Jackman should suffice. Plus, our humans will hopefully share their water supply if needed. A collapsible bowl, like the ones from Kurgo and water packs fit easily in my pack. My incentive for drinking on the hike is not only to keep me hydrated, but also to lighten load. If you want to cool down quickly stick your paws in a bowl of water, or any safe water source. This will help lower your internal temp and prevent you from getting heat stroke.
You may be out in nature, but your humans still have to collect your poop. New Zealand has a great philosophy for all its regional and national parks, "take out what you bring in." Lightly-scented poop bags help mask the stink for the duration of the hike.
Unless you have perfect recall, especially in high distraction areas like a forest, then stay on a lead. The long lead is great because it allows you and your humans to practice your recall and let you have a wider range to wander. Also, be respectful of trail and park rules; stick to the tracks for your safety and stay on lead if instructed.
What a better way to be rewarded when your humans call you then with delicious treats. Plus, they will keep you nourished should you and your humans get lost or stuck on the hike.
First aid kit
If the hike will be longer than a few hours and/or in a remote area please take a doggy first aid kit with you. Many items found in first aid kits for humans can be used on us. It is best to have your humans carry the first aid kit should you run off and injure yourself. Specific items we should have in our kit are:
- Copy of our vaccination records + phone number for our vet
- Instructions on administering CPR to a dog. Check out the How to Give Your Puppy CPR infograph from Carrington College.
- Muzzle or roll of gauze to make a muzzle (do not use if we are vomiting, choking, coughing or having difficulty breathing)
- Hydrogen peroxide (used to induce vomiting - consult a vet before use)
- Activated charocol (used to absorb ingested poisons - consult a vet before use)
- Self cling bandages to protect our fur
- Id tags, microchip - Jackman and I would never run-off and not come back. . . ha, ha, ha, but if we did, then we want to be sure that any strangers who find us know who we are and how to get us back to our human parents. At a minimum have your registration tag attached to your collar. Ideally, you would have that, plus a microchip and an id tag that has your name, contact phone number, and states that you are microchipped.
Have fun out on your hike and stay safe.