There are myriad products you can use to make your hike with your dog safer and more enjoyable for both of you.
The weather is warming up and while those of us in the Southwest tend to dread this time of year, there are millions of others who are excited to hit the hiking trails. Which is why I’ve taken a look at some of the slickest hiking must-haves for you and your dog(s).
Wearable Tech to Keep Pets Cool
Phoenix, Arizona, recently passed a law in which no dogs are allowed on trails once the temps hit 90 degrees. That’s a good rule of thumb for all regions, and honestly, you’ll need to take extra precautions when temps climb above 80 degrees.
Swamp Cooler from Ruffwear (image right) allows you some leeway in keeping pets cool. This lightweight vest uses a three-layer evaporative cooling chest panel that helps to disperse heat away from your dog’s core. You can add on the Swamp Cooler if it’s warming up fast. Just soak in water and place on your pet. The light-colored fabric reflects the sunlight and integrated leash portal lets you attach a leash to your dog’s harness without disturbing the swamp cooler, which will help keep your pets cool all day long.
Speaking of staying cool, please don’t forget to protect those paw pads. There are dozens of places that carry different styles of dog boots, and it will all depend on the strength and coverage you need, as well as your location. If you’re in an area like Arizona, you’ll need the extra protection dog boots with hard soles offer. Check out the Step and Strobe Boots from Kurgo (image left) or if you’re in a rocky climate where good traction is a must, see the Grip Trex or Summit Trex boots from Ruffwear.
Staying in Control
There was a time in my life when I never leashed my two large dogs. They traveled everywhere with me while I was horseback riding or hiking. Those times have changed dramatically. It’s not only considerate to keep your dog leashed; it’s the law in most state parks where hiking with dogs is allowed. Dogs can affect horses, wildlife and people—stay safe, stay leashed.
For a hands-free experience while hiking, check out Kurgo’s award-winning, versatile Quantum Leash (image right). It has a generous 6-feet lead that converts into six different styles with a simple carabiner adjustment. Attach around your waist or shoulder for easy walking.
If you’re walking two dogs at a time, the Double Track™ Coupler from Ruffwear enables tangle-free walking on a single leash.
Carrying the Load
If you have small dogs who prefer to be carried on occasion, you might wonder how you’re going to carry all their water, food and supplies. If you have larger dogs, the good news is that they can carry their own water, food and treats with these amazing day packs from Ruffwear. The packs come with built-in or added water bottles that fit directly into the pack, which helps distribute the weight properly. Not only does having your dog wear a pack lighten your load, carrying a pack will help your distracted dog stay focused while on the trail.
However, if you have a dog who just can’t carry extra weight, you don’t necessarily need to leave him behind. There are some great new dog walking belts for humans that make it shouldering the load easier. Doog specializes in myriad dog walking accessories, including well-designed walking belts (image right) and bags, as well as equipment for professional dog walkers.
Remember, if you take it in, pack it out. Dog waste can be dangerous on the trail to humans and wildlife. My dogs could transfer parasites that can cause illness in wild animals. So play it safe and pick up your pet waste. Just drop it in the bin at the trailhead on the way back to your car.
Protect Pets from Pests
Protect your dogs while you’re out and about on trails. There are lots of great options for doing this, from mosquito-repellent clothing to all insect repellents that can give your pets added protection.
Insect Shield for Pets (image left) is the genius behind wearable insect repellent bandanas and vests, as well as dog beds. The Insect Shield process binds a proprietary permethrin formula tightly to fabric fibers, resulting in effective, odorless insect protection that lasts the expected lifetime of the items.
Keep it Clean
The Mud Dog Travel Shower from Kurgo (image right) is one of my most-used products. This little device allows you to turn a water bottle into a high-pressure shower for about 1 minute. I was really surprised at how effective it is. This makes rinsing off paws (or even your entire dog) an absolute breeze. Now you can keep your car and tent clean.
When you get home (or before you leave), give your pet a bath with the DERMagic Diatomaceous Earth Shampoo Bar, which uses the natural repelling factors of DE to repel and destroy any unwanted pesky hitchhikers. This is an excellent way to ensure no insects came home with you, keeping your abode protected and safe.
Don’t forget the water. This is very important for you and your pets. Choose from collapsible bowls like these from Kurgo or Doog’s new 3-in-1 portable bowl (image left) that carries 600ml of water for you and your pet.
Stay safe out there on the trails. There is a lot of high-quality affordable equipment available for dogs and their humans, so there’s no excuse to go out in the wild unprepared.
About the Author: Stacy Mantle is a fulltime freelance writer, bestselling author and founder of PetsWeekly.com. She resides in the deserts of the Southwest with a few dogs, several cats and a very understanding husband.