There are few things that Hal and I enjoy more than hiking with Rory. She's so excited to see (smell) new things, and we love that she gets all that energy out and pretty much sleeps the rest of the day. Great exercise, beautiful scenery, and happy-sleepy pup? Wins all around!
While dogs are generally rough-and-ready, there are a few steps to take to make sure everyone completes the hike happy and healthy.
1) Consider the trail. Most of our "hikes" with Rory are glorified nature trail walks. She's on the smaller side and we know from experience that her stamina only lasts so long. You should always consider the difficulty level of the trail before signing your furry friend up - or you may end up carrying a tired, dead-weight pup part of the way!
2) Consider others: pack doggie bags. I know, I know - you're in nature and it's biodegradable, right? But using doggie bags to clean up after your pup helps make sure the trail is enjoyable for everyone that comes behind you. No mess on their boots, no bad smells on warmer days. Yeah, it isn't the most fun to walk around with used bags till you find a trashcan, but it's worth it to keep the trails clean!
3) Bring a packable bowl and your dog's own bottle of water. Even when it gets cooler out, you and your pup are going to work up a thirst with all that uphill walking (and possibly stick and leaf tasting). Keep an ear out for their panting and know when to give them a water break. We pack this bowl (one of a set) and an extra Swell bottle.
4) Bring [healthy] treats. I don't know about you, but hiking makes me hungry! Most of the time, I assume that if I'm hot, thirsty, hungry, or tired, Rory probably is too. To keep her energy up (and maybe to bribe her when she gets tired towards the end), we pack a few of her favorite healthy treats. She basically inhales these chicken jerky strips, and we don't feel bad about letting her have them!
5) Pack your dog's brush. This is especially important for long-haired dogs, but all dogs who've been bouncing through bushes will need to be brushed off before getting back in the car. Not only does this prevent you bringing home a mess of sand and leaves in your car, but will also let you see if there are any critters hitch-hiking on your pup.
Bonus Tip: keep a dog-friendly first-aid kit in your car. With lower-difficulty hikes, chances of injury are small. But having a pair of tweezers for ticks or thorns, bandages and anti-septic wipes for scrapes and scratches, and a shammy towel for wiping up wet paws will be life-savers if you actually need them!
Do you take your four-legged friend hiking with you? What would you add to this list?
*No products in this post were sponsored; just sharing what we love!