Tips for Backpacking with Your Dog


Guest Blog by: Rebecca Siggers

Backpacking with a dog is one of the most exciting activities that you can ever do. But for it to work according to your expectations, ensure that everything you need is in place. For instance, you need to confirm that the vehicle you’ll use to get to your destination has high-quality roof racks like a 4runner roof rack to carry all your gear comfortably and avoid any inconveniences.

However, traveling with a pet such as a dog is quite different than when alone. There are many things to follow to ensure that everything runs smoothly when the day arrives. In this article, we will look at the tips you can use to make sure you have the most exciting backpacking with your dog.

1. Do Some Pre-Hike Training

Before backpacking, it’s vital to ensure that your dog is comfortable with other dogs, people, and new experiences. You can attend a training class with your dog to ensure you get the necessary lessons and tactics to use during the backpacking. You can then do some training with your dog to see how it will handle that experience.

2. Check the Regulations of The Area

Most traveling spots have regulations and etiquette that guide you, which can be tough to adhere to when training with a dog. If you will backpack in a national park, it is essential that you check its regulations because some don’t allow in dogs. There are also some trails in parks that need you to keep your dog on the leash since there might be other people there who don’t really like dogs.

3. Test the Obedience of Your Dog

Your dog might be very obedient when at home, but you can’t be sure that it will behave the same when you are out backpacking. It’s crucial that you know how it can respond when you take it to a different environment to make sure you are ready to handle it.

4. Choose the Perfect Trail

Choosing a trail is a crucial step when backpacking with your dog. So, pick a dog-friendly trail. Since most national parks can’t allow you to go with your dog, BLM and national forests can be a great choice as most of them allow dogs. If you’re not sure if the place you are visiting allows, then you can call the ranger station or the park to inquire.

Once you have found a park or forest that allows dogs, here are some other factors that you need to consider: 

• The difficulty of the trail. The more difficult it is, the more ready you and your dog need to be. 

• The availability of water in the trail. If there isn’t any water source in the trail then you need to carry enough for you and your dog. 

• The temperature. Avoid backpacking in deserts as there isn’t usually much shade. Backpacking in deserts during other times of the year might be quite fun.  

• Whether there are dangerous animals such as moose, rattlesnakes, or wildlife, if there are such animals, then it is crucial that you know what you need to do in case you and your dog come across any of them.

5. Test Your Gear at Home

You might not have a problem with sleeping in a tent because you have done it before, but it might be quite scary for your dog. It is crucial that you expose your dog to the gear that you will sleep in before backpacking. You can do that by setting up your tent at home and staying with your dog in there for some time. Doing so helps your dog to explore the tent and familiarize itself with it hence making it easier for it when you will be out.

6. Pack Enough Food

When hitting the trail for backpacking, carry enough food for you and your dog. Doing so enables you to feed him along the way hence giving him enough energy to keep up with you. The amount of food you carry will depend on the difficulty and length ff the trail. If you are backpacking in a long and more challenging trail, then you need to carry more food as your body will burn a lot of calories.

7. Get A Backpack for Your Dog

You can let your dog carry a light backpack depending on its age and size. There are many designs of packs that you can choose from in pet stores. Let your dog carry the backpack around the house so it can get comfortable with it. When hiking training pay close attention to see if you notice any discomfort. You can then make some adjustments to ensure that your dog is as comfortable as possible with the backpack.

8. Manage Your Dog’s Waste

When backpacking, you need to know how to deal with your dog’s poop. You don’t want to disrupt other backpackers with the awful smell of poop. So, make sure you carry many poop bags for proper storage until when you can dispose of them in the right way. Avoid leaving your dog’s poop along the trail as other people will be using the same trail.

9. Know-How to Do First Aid to Your Dog

It is normal to encounter some minor emergencies along the trail. To ensure that you’re ready for anything, carry a first aid kit with everything you need. You can carry something like an EMT gel to help you seal any wounds that the dog might get. Also, pack antihistamine to help you relieve the dog in case it gets stung by something along the trail. You can ask for some advice from your vet on the best things to carry when backpacking with your dog to ensure you carry everything essential.

Backpacking with your dog can be a fascinating experience. You can make sure that it is successful by using the above tips to both prepare for it and use it during the backpacking with your dog. If you are planning on traveling lengthy distances, an extra tip is to use a  motorcycle to cover part of the trail. But be sure to check out for the best motorcycle accessories Melbourne offers for enhanced riding experience. Following all the above tips will guarantee you an enjoyable and memorable backpacking experience with your dog.

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