My family loves to hike and take backpacking trips through the wilderness. I know what WE need to pack and how to take care of us humans, but I have never experienced hiking with a pup. Can you help?!

- Trekking in Colorado

 

DEAR TREKKING,

Get ready to hit REI or your outdoorsy store of choice! Below is a list of items I recommend packing for your four-legged hiking companion:

1) Safety First. Reflective or high-visibility collar, harness, bandana and/or vest allows you (and fellow hikers) to easily identify your pup in case they become lost. Clip a small light to their collar for those late night treks!
2) Heavy Duty Leash. (NOT retractable)
3) Identification. Ideally microchipped with an ID tag.
4) Collapsible Bowls. Holding food and/or water.
5) Water. Freeze ¾ full water bottles the night before so your pup can have nice cold water throughout the day. They'll need 8 oz. for each hour they're hiking. DON'T let your pup drink from standing water (parasites/bacteria may be present).
6) Food. Food or treats high in protein. If you're in bear territory, make sure any food you bring is in a bear safe container!
7) Poop Patrol. Plastic bags (biodegradable or compostable) or a small spade shovel to bury poop.
8) Allergy Medicine.(Diphenhydramine) Ask your vet about your dog's specific dosage!
9) Clothing. Paw protection booties and/or a wax based cream protects from harsh trail conditions and ice. An insulated jacket can keep pups with shorter hair warm and comfy.
10) Flotation Device. Yes, dogs swim - but if there's an emergency and your pup will be in water for an extended period of time, this could help save their life.
11) Cooling Vest. Dip the vest in spring water and put it on your pup to quickly cool them off.
12) Canine First Aid Kit. You can purchase a ready-made kit or make your own! Include things like: gauze pads, animal-friendly first aid tape, antiseptic wipes, scissors, tweezers and a flashlight.

Always remember to be mindful of the temperature! Dogs are susceptible to heat stroke. If it is a hot day, they'll need a lot of breaks to rest and rehydrate. Know the warning signs of heat stroke for your pup (and yourself) before you go on any outdoor adventure. Happy hiking!

- Lynn, PUPPO Nutrition Team