June 1, 2022

Backpacking
is an amazing outdoor activity that can be fun for the whole family. When you
decide to get into the sport of backpacking and would like to take your dog
along, there are a number of issues you’ll want to take care of before you head
for the trail.

As a
beginner, make sure you have all of your bases covered before bringing your dog
along to see the sights. Check out these seven backpacking tips from the canine
experts at The Pampered Pup that will ensure you
and your four-legged friend have the most success on your journey.

1. Make sure your breed is up to the challenge

If you
are considering buying or adopting a dog to go backpacking with, do your
research first. Not every dog is built for backpacking in the wild. Make sure
that a dog you already own is an active breed that can handle long trips on
rougher terrain. A smaller breed can still go out with you, but you will want
to be prepared to pick them up once in a while if obstacles get in the way. And
if you plan for your dog to use their own little backpack, a smaller breed
won’t have the ability to carry a lot.

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2. Prepare with smaller hikes

If your
dog has never been backpacking before, don’t start with a day-long trip. Take
them on a few short hikes to see how they react. Dogs that aren’t getting
regular exercise will not be able to hike for many miles at a time. Start by
taking them for long walks around your neighborhood, gradually increasing the
mileage as you go. Once they get used to longer walks, throw in more hills and
obstacles. Take your time and be patient with your pup. Soon, they will be
ready for that three-day hike in the mountains!

3. Have the right equipment on hand

Your dog
will need equipment for their hike, just like you do. If you’ll be in a rougher
area, invest in durable dog boots to protect their paws from rocks, sticks, and
snow. Make sure to have two sets on hand in case one gets extremely muddy or
torn. You’ll also want to bring a collapsible, lightweight bowl for their food
and water. If you’re hiking in hot weather, a cooling vest will help keep your
pup cooler as you walk. Simply dip it in water before attaching it to your dog
to keep their core cooler in the heat.

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4. Find the best trail for beginners

Even if
your dog can walk for miles around the neighborhood you won’t want to take your
first hike on difficult terrain. Before you take off for a trail, make sure
that the one you pick is dog-friendly. Remember, many of the trails in National
Parks do not allow dogs. Once you learn what trails are dog-friendly, find one
that is labeled for beginners. Research the trail to see if there is water
available along the way. If there isn’t, be prepared to bring enough for you
both.

You
should also find out whether there is any dangerous wildlife you could come
across, such as rattlesnakes. Make sure you know what to do if you happen to
come across a dangerous species with your dog.

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5. Always keep your dog under control

If your
dog doesn’t listen to you in your yard, don’t expect them to listen to you on a
hike in an unfamiliar place. Your dog should listen well to basic commands
before you head off on a trail. You never know what can happen when you are
hiking, so have a leash on hand as you rack up the miles. If there are a lot of
other hikers on the same trail, you should keep your dog leashed at all times.

Your dog
should be chipped before you set out on a hike, just in case they get lost.
This is especially necessary if you are visiting another town or state. Make
sure their dog tag has your current information on it as well. It’s an even
better idea to invest in a personalized collar with your information for your
dog to wear on your trip. A tag will fall off easier than a collar will.

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6. Keep your pup hydrated

Every single time you pause for a break or a snack, offer your dog water. If they aren’t thirsty, you can just pour it back into their water bottle. When you stop and make camp, keep a fresh bowl of water out for them at all times. An initial sign that your dog is becoming dehydrated is a dry nose, so keep an eye on your pup while you are hiking.

7. Let your dog carry its own backpack

Yes, they
make backpacks for dogs to carry! When you are out on a trail for hours at a
time, you’re likely going to be carrying a number of items for yourself. Your
dog can carry the items that they need in their own backpack, such as their
water and food dishes, doggy waste bags, extra booties, and treats.

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However,
it is very important to measure your dog beforehand to get the right backpack.
Get a measurement around their chest at home. Then, pick out a durable backpack
based on those specific measurements. Pack the items at home and ensure that
the weight of the items is distributed evenly. Try going out for a couple of
shorter walks while your dog wears the backpack to check for any issues. Don’t
load the backpack with too many items, especially for the first trip.

Use these
seven tips when you want to start taking your dog on backpacking trips with
you. With a little bit of practice and a lot of patience, you’ll be backpacking
champs in no time!

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