“Happiness is a warm puppy.” – Charles M. Schulz
A dog is a human’s best friend and backpacking with your best friend is always the best idea. A furry friend can be a good companion and nature will be more enjoyable with them. Backpacking with your dog means you have the truest and most trustable friend in the woods or on the mountain.
But there are a few things need to check before taking them with you. The first trip can be challenging and it can create a life-threatening situation if precaution not taken.
What Do You Need to Know in Hiking / Backpacking with Your Dog?
Backpacking with dogs can be really enjoyable. But first, you need to understand some basic things before planning a hiking or camping trip with your beloved pet. Here are a few tips and guides that will help you.
Preparing Your Pup for the Trail
Visit the Vet Before the Trip
First, check if your dog is ready for the hike, choose the trail according to his health. A young dog should have the energy for the hike but still, it needs to be checked before the trip.
An old dog sometimes can lose stamina, it varies from dog to dog. Take him to walk and see how much can he walk or what’s his limit. It will give you an idea about how much can you hike with your dog.
When we normally take our dog to walk, we have enough resource for any kind of situation. We are prepared if anything goes wrong even if not there’s always people for help. But in the wild, we can’t predict what’s going to happen.
So, check with your vet, take the vaccine you need for your dog. The dog has a full-grown bone when it hits a particular age. Check with your vet if it’s okay to take your dog to a hike. The vet will advise according to your dog.
Know Your Trail Regulations
Before a hike check that trail’s regulation, a park can have completely different rules for the dog. Most U.S national park doesn’t allow dog even if it’s in the lash. Few parks allow it but they have particular rules.
But even before that check the place if your dog can survive on the trail. Another important fact here is, maintaining your dog’s behavior.
Keeping them on the lash is sometimes not enough, it still can freak people out. In a new situation, they can react to other people who are tracking so it’s better to train them before.
Leave No Trace in Hiking with Your Dog
Leave No Trace’, it’s not only applicable for a human. It’s important for every pet we take, no one wants to see poop bag when they are tracking.
Keep your normal poop bag with you and make a 6 inch to 8-inch hole. Bury them inside and make the hole at least 200 feet away from the trail or any kind of water resource. Don’t let your dog pee in next to any kind of water resource.
Start a Trail-Training Regimen for Your Dog
Before the hike, take your dog to walk. After an hour-long session if your dog is energetic that means it can happen.
Add more time to walk the session and prepare it for the backpacking. This process is the source but it can be very helpful. Try to make every running session long enough so in the time of backpack your dog is ready.
The All-Important Dog Pack
The one thing that makes a difference between the walk and backpacking. Every dog can carry their stuff in the pack. There are various design and model available on the market. Measure your dog’s chest and make your dog pack according to it. Make sure to evenly distribute the weight between them.
Check how much weight your dog can carry, the target is mainly 25 percent of their body weight. Start with 10 percent of body weight and increase it with time. With a different breed of dog, the situation changes so check with your vet.
First-Aid Kit for Backpacking with Your Dog
In the trail, you can’t have a vet for an emergency situation. So having knowledge for first aid kit is important here. Dog first aid kit is a little bit different from any other first aid kit.
There are so many things can happen in the wild like – Insect Stings, Sprains & Strains, Foot Pad Injuries, Snake Bites, Heat Exhaustion/Stroke, etc.
Learn the basic of this type of injury and what to do when this happens. Carry the right first aid kit and check them before the hike. First aid kit is a life-saving kit, just carrying them around is not enough, learn and study how to use them.
Dog Room Considerations to Sleep in Your Tent
In backpacking, we have a special kind of tent which is most of the time made for only one person. So, when you backpack with your dog, make an arrangement especially for your dog. If you are alone with your dog, carry a two-person tent and they are also lightweight.
If you are going with your family and dog, then you should carry a perfect cabin tent that accommodates all of them. Before the day of the hike, make sure to use that tent the night before so the dog won’t feel unnatural.
Bring a small cushion for the dog, after a whole day of walking it will help the dog to sleep better. Plus it will give extra warmth in cold night.
In the night time, keep an eye on them. It’s better to put a light on the collar so if in night dog go to take a pee or just sniff around, you won’t panic.