I didn’t write much in February because the weather here in Northern Colorado was unseasonably bee-yoo-tee-ful and we spent lots of time outside enjoying it! One thing that’s awesome about early spring, on those first warmer days, is hiking the plethora of local trails. Temps in the 60s are perfect for exercise in the Great Outdoors and rattlesnake season is not yet in full swing so the trails are safer for the dogs.
Well, speaking of dogs – they’ve got needs too! In the past I’ve discussed camping with dogs, and puppies, and dogs are pretty low maintenance but there are some things you'll want to consider for shorter day hikes with your pet. Just like you pack various items for yourself (water, snacks, etc.), make sure you collect the following for your four-legged friends before you head to the trail.
Hiking Pack List (Furry Mutt Edition)
- Water (I usually wear a Camelbak and make sure it’s large enough to carry water for myself and two good sized dogs)
- Water bowl (the one we use is something like this but you can find a ton of options – use something collapsible, small, packable, and lightweight. A carabiner clip allows for secure hands-free transport on your pack)
- Treats (dogs like snacks too!)
- Leash/harness/collar with tags (it goes without saying, but keep your dog on leash when hiking – no chasing local wildlife or other hikers; a harness provides better control of your pet; up-to-date tags help ensure your dog’s return if he should get loose)
- Poop bags (pack it out, and always take more bags than you think you’ll need)
- Styptic powder (if your dog catches a nail on trail this’ll stop the bleeding)
- Benadryl (if approved by your vet, use for allergy situations – bee stings, for example)
- Super glue, or Second Skin glue (if your dog is cut and you need to close up the wound in order to get back home; make sure the wound is properly cleaned and addressed once back in civilization)
Other items that you might already have in your own hiking first aid kit that you could use for dogs include gauze and tape. The key is to be prepared to address urgent issues with your pet in the field, while keeping them safe and getting them to the proper care upon return.
If you hike with your dog, is there anything else you’d add to this list?
Happy [Hiking] Trails!