With summer just around the corner, many of us will be taking our dogs to the great outdoors. From exploring new places, taking in the fresh air and maintaining your general health, hiking with your dog is an excellent way to keep fit.
Your dog will also feel the benefit from a hike with their best friend! Not only is hiking physically and mentally stimulating for your dog, it also helps keep your dog in tip top shape. Hiking is one of the best ways for dogs to build muscle mass, combat obesity and prevent joint problems.
A well-prepared hiker knows that before hitting the trail, you must prepare all the essentials that will keep you safe, and it's equally important to ensure your pooch is safe! From specialised Ruffwear gear, to the everyday necessities, below are our top 7 essentials for a successful hike with your dog.
1. Water Bowl - Collaps-a-bowl by Kurgo
Ensure that you bring along a bottle of water and an easy-to-carry water bowl. Dogs are prone to dehydration in the hotter weather, and so it is important they have consistent access to water. The ideal bowl should be easy to pack and lightweight.
For on the trail, we would recommend the Kurgo Collaps-a-bowl. This award-winning bowl is available in a range of colours, at an affordable price! The Collaps-a-bowl holds 710ml of water when popped out, but it can also pack down flat to only 2.6cm high. This makes it easy to store and carry on the trail, and it even comes with a clip to attach to a hiking belt or dog saddlebag.
2. A Designated Hiking Leash - Hitch Hiker Leash by Ruffwear
Hands-free dog leads are perfect for hikes, keeping your hands free on the trail for support and balance. It can also help with scaling a particular steep hill!
Ideally, your hiking leash will also be extendable. This allows your dog to roam in safe areas, while also keeping them under control. This also allows you to bring them in closer near hazardous areas, such as cliffsides or rivers.
The perfect blend of these two qualities in a hiking lead is the Hitch Hiker by Ruffwear. Made with kernmantle climbing rope, this lead is extra durable and well suited to the trail. It's extendable up to 12 feet, allowing your pooch to roam freely in open spaces. The Hitch Hiker can be used hands-free, hand held or can even be secured to a post for those much-needed breaks! For easy transport, the Hitch Hiker packs down into a bag.
Ensure you still bring along a spare lead - anything can happen on the trail, and your dog's safety comes first!
3. Poo Bags - Scented or Unscented Poop Bags by Earth Rated
As a dog parent, I'm sure you don't go for a walk without arming yourself with poop bags - it's important to remember to bring a supply of poop bags out on your hike too! Dog poop is high in nitrogen and phosphorus, which can have the opposite effect of fertiliser, and it can take up to a year to fully break down. You don't want to ruin that scenic route you love so much, do you?
The Poop Bags by Earth Rated are 100% leak-proof, preventing any nasty accidents. They are designed to block the smell, ensuring you don't smell of poop until you find the nearest bin! The poop bags are also available in a lavender scent, disguising the smell. These are some of the most environmentally-friendly poop bags on the market, being made with EPI additive technology to help break them down.
4. Dog Saddlebag - Palisades Pack by Ruffwear
For dogs who are well-used to the trail, completing a hike wearing a dog saddlebag is a great workout and can help build muscle. Additionally, for breeds who love a job to do, wearing a dog saddlebag can help them focus and provide mental stimulation. For puppies or senior dogs, even an empty saddlebag will make them feel they're doing a job for you!
If you plan on hiking a great distance, the Ruffwear Palisades pack is the perfect choice. It's the largest Ruffwear pack, and is designed especially for thru-hikes and multi-day trips. It features roomy, radial cut saddlebags and a cross-load compression system, allowing your pup to carry a load comfortably.
5. Canine First Aid - First Aid Bag by Kerbl
As a seasoned hiker, you know that minor injuries are all too common on the trail. The same goes for your dog. Rough terrain can be tough on your dog's paws, and insects like ticks are always a possibility.
The kit comes with all your pup's first aid essentials. This handy kit contains 5 plaster strips for any minor cuts, and tick tweezers for extracting any unwanted passengers.
6. Treats - Busy Day Bar by Edgard Cooper
Don't forget to pack some tasty treats for your pooch. We would recommend picking something nutritious, offering them to your dog regularly. It's ideal to feed your pooch small amounts at a time, to prevent any discomfort or injury caused by a full stomach.
The Edgard & Cooper Busy Bars are bite-sized and designed for adventures. Packed with energy-rich protein and grain-free, these handy treats are lightweight and don't take up much room in a satchel or saddlebag.
7. Toys - Pacific Ring & Loop by Ruffwear
Picture this - you reach the top of that particularly steep hill, you're exhausted and down for the count for the next 30 minutes (or so), but somehow your furry friend is still full of boundless energy! That's why it's important to pack a lightweight toy to keep your pup entertained on that much needed snack break.
Ruffwear's Pacific Ring and Pacific Loop toys are perfect for on-the-trail playtime. Both toys are built for rigorous play and interactive by design, being able to be used for tugging or fetch games. The Ring can be folded up for easy storage, and both toys are lightweight for carrying.