Hiking with my dog
Whether you are a fan of hiking or a beginner who want to be well prepared: this informative capsule is for you. Since he became part of the family, Tonka and I have climbed our share of summits together. Each hike generally starts in the same way: getting the gear ready. And that means Tonka’s as well as mine. Yes, Tonka has his own hiking bag. His bag has 2 main reasons for being: the first is quite obvious. Tonka can carry around his own things, giving me a little more room in my bag, and removing some weight from my shoulders. The second reason was especially true when he was younger ... no matter how long the hike was, he could not be exhausted. A few more pounds on his back made him work a little harder and thus allowed him to spend a little more of that extra energy.
The first rule of thumb if you want to hike with your dog carrying his own luggage: the bag must fit him perfectly. So, plan a few short test hikes to learn how to properly adjust the bag and make sure it won't cause him pain, before venturing out to more demanding trails! And if a little extra weight doesn't bother you, then add its personal effects to yours.
Here are my essentials when I go hiking. I obviously adapt according to the temperature and the duration of the expedition:
- Water. And if it's hot, don't be shy about bringing more. I love bottles with an integrated bowl that allows the dog to drink directly from the bottle. If you don't have one, consider bringing a foldable bowl to compensate.
- Treats or even a meal. When we leave for a longer hike or more demanding ones physically, I like to offer Tonka a small meal along the way to maintain his strength and encourage him. Be careful not to give too much at once though. With increased physical activity, some dogs will tend to vomit easily or choke while eating too fast. Personally, I like to distribute a few kibbles at a time, as I eat my own meal.
- Safe mosquito repellent for dogs, generally lemongrass and lavender based.
- A pair of pliers to remove splinters and a ’’ Tick twister ’’ to remove ticks.
- A comb to remove the thistles that could get caught in his coat.
- A bottle of antiseptic solution which does not require rinsing, to disinfect wounds.
- An antibiotic and anti-inflammatory cream to apply to minor lesions or insect bites.
- A roll of elastic band to bandage a larger wound if necessary.
- A hand towel to clean and dry the paws. Usually I keep one in the car to clean his paws on the way back. But I like to have one with me on the trail, especially in winter to wipe his paws if he walks in water, and thus limit the risk of frostbite.
- Poop bags, because even in the woods, nobody likes to come across your dog’s mess.
Obviously, this list is far from exhaustive and should be adapted according to your destination, the duration of your adventure and your level of comfort in the outdoors. The important thing is to aim for paths that are accessible to your physical form, but also to that of your four-legged partner. Tonka and I wish you the best on your future adventures, discovering new landscapes!
We wish you a nice hike,
Dre Véronique Jolicoeur and Tonka