Outdoor Federation

Is Backpacking with Dog a Good Idea?

Whenever we can, we enjoy spending time outside with our dogs. Our canine companions are the most enthusiastic hikers, especially large breed dogs that are full of energy and always up for an adventure. However, dogs need special care and attention to ensure the experience is enjoyable for both of you.

Is Backpacking with Dog a Good Idea?

Going on such experiences with your dog also builds a stronger bond between new and canine friends. Dogs are animals, and they love nature. You may want to exclude them from your next travel plan to Europe, but when you think of taking a hike or a stroll, dogs are the best companion you will find for such adventures.

Hence we have listed some tips below that will help you and your dog get ready for the trail and give you the confidence to take them on longer treks and backpacking excursions.

Pre and Post-Backpacking Measures

You need to take a few precautionary measures even before you take your dog on the backpacking trip. This includes giving them a dose of ticks and fleas because it is natural that they may get infested with these in the wilderness. The medication can prevent such issues, which is a great relief. Also, as soon as you return from the trekking trip, you must bathe your dog. Especially double coated dogs, such as huskies, golden retrievers, golden doodles, etc., have fluffy coats which can get dirty quickly. Bathing them upon return using the best shampoo for Goldendoodles can be the best way to ensure their coat is clean of any dust they might have picked p on the trip.

Work on the basic commands with your dog before venturing into the woods. We advise that your dog learns the commands come, leave it, sit, and stay. A strong recall is necessary when traveling with your dog as it may wander off otherwise when off-leash. It’s crucial to say “Leave it” so you can get their focus back if they start to chase after animals or nibble at potentially harmful objects. Ensure you have lots of training treats that will help reinforce excellent behavior.

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Carry Essential Trekking Gear

Though there is a long list of trekking gear you will be carrying, you will also have to make a list of equipment your dog needs on the trail. This may include multiple leashes, strong collars, harnesses, long-leash dog bowls, treats, blankets, shoes, etc.

Start from Small Hikes

Although most dogs seem to like hiking, not all canines have the stamina to cover long distances. It’s recommended to start on a short and non-elevated trail if your dog has never hiked before. Before venturing into the backcountry, build up their stamina by taking them for small trails close to home. This will train them to be eventually ready for longer overnight outings.

Know Your Dog’s Limits

When you’re out on a strenuous walk, especially in the heat, keeping an extra close check on your dog is crucial because they can’t always communicate when they’re in pain or uncomfortable. Overly loud breathing, heavy panting, and falling behind are a few indications of distress. Let them take a short nap in the shade to replenish their energy and provide plenty of water and food. Remember, your dog may not match your stamina, hence set the pace of trekking what suits the canine.

Keep Them Away from Danger

Take extra precautions to protect your dog from dangers such as wildlife, steep ledges, fast-moving water, and thin ice. Putting your dog on a leash is an excellent way to protect them from these hazards. Putting your dog on a leash is a perfect way to protect them from these hazards. Put a brightly colored reflector vest and a collar light on your dog during hunting season to prevent it from being mistaken for wildlife. Better avoid taking the dog when it is hunting season or never let it wander away out of your sight.

During bad weather like lightning or snowstorms, you should constantly watch your dog. Give your dog lots of goodies and praise if thunder makes them anxious to prevent them from escaping or developing other stress-related health issues. When you set the tent up, do not leave the dog outside at night; let it cuddle up with you. Bring a jacket for your short-haired single-coated dog to stay warm in the winter.

Carry Enough Food and Water

Just like people, dogs require extra food and water when hiking, as they burn a lot of calories and get tired and hungry. Ensure to feed the dog a treat every time you pause to eat while hiking. Pack high-calorie snacks like cheese, jerky, and peanut butter to ensure they listen to you throughout the hike and maintain their energy level.

If you’re backpacking for several days or hiking a lot of kilometers, you might want to give them a little more food than their regular meals. It’s best to consult your veterinarian about how many calories you should give your dog when traveling. Also consider if Pre+ Probiotics, from Honest Paws, are a good investment for your pet. Get the green light from your vet, and using these could alleviate any minor gut-related health issues that crop up during the journey.

Regarding water, you should filter every drop you give your dogs in the wilderness, as even dogs are susceptible to various water-borne infections. Keeping them hydrated is essential, or else they may become exhausted and unable to regulate their body temperature. Carry a water bottle for the dog or a bowl and your dog’s usual meal for the best results.

Clean the Dog’s Mess

You should treat your dog’s bathroom breaks in the woods like you would your own. Dog feces can be buried in a hole 6 to 8 inches deep if you’re in a location where it’s safe to do so. If this is not possible, you should pick up the dog waste in a poop bag and collect it in a trash bag until you can dispose of it along with other wastes in environmentally delicate areas. In addition to being unsightly for nearby users, leaving it on the ground can disrupt the ecology by introducing foreign materials into the soil and water systems.

The Bottom Line

Hiking is exhilarating in itself, but when you have the company of your furry friend, the experience can become much more enjoyable and exciting. Watching your dog enjoy nature’s trail with you is a lovely feeling. Also gives you a sense of fulfillment that you are providing your family member this life, and they will always appreciate you for it.

And with that, we officially end this blog post. But before you go, can you do us a solid and spread the love (or laughter) by sharing this on your social media? Who knows, maybe we might even find someone who can relate to our content and benefit from it... Wink