Before setting on a journey, you must consult a vet, train your dog about trail etiquette, and bring necessary gear, food, water, and first aid. You must be aware of your dog’s immune system, physical state, and limits.
Keep all the supplies in a dog’s backpack for hiking, expeditions, and strength training. Many other essential things you must consider that we have elaborated on in this guide to help you have the best hiking and camping experience with your dog.
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Is It Possible To Backpack With A Dog?
According to the US Forest Service, “Domestic pets are allowed in the wilderness only if you take responsibility for their actions and care. If you are backpacking with a dog, you must take a leash or have proper voice control.”
Multiple things should be considered, such as the dog's comfort level, weather conditions, outdoor discipline, and rules and regulations of the hiking area.
- Before moving out, get your dog checked by a veterinarian to ensure physical stability.
- Get a backpack that can fit your dog without overburdening it.
- Check a list of all the necessary camping supplies you and your dog will need.
- Bring food, water, and other essentials for healthy survival.
- Know the trail hazards and prepare everything accordingly to avoid any problems.
A quality backpack is a great companion for adventurers like campers, hikers, and travelers. In our guide, you may want to learn about choosing the best north face backpacks.
What To Bring For Dog Backpacking?
Keeping your dog safe during the journey should be your greater concern. Here is the list of items you must bring with your dog for a hiking trip.
- Necessary Medication, First Aid Kit
- Biodegradable Poop Bags
- Extra meals/Water
- Clothing (Cooling vest, rain jacket, and life jacket)
- Sleeping system
- Boot Liners
How To Backpack With Dog? 10 Essentials You Shouldn’t Forget
You don’t just need supplies and gear to backpack with your dog, but also take care of your dog's condition, training, and immunity. Whether you are backpacking to head into the backcountry or car camping, you must have information to make the trip memorable.
Here we have everything that will help you during hiking with your dog:
Pre-Trip Vet Check
Get your dog checked to confirm vaccines are up to date, all medication is provided, and your dog has immunity and physical ability to carry weight and explore at longer distances.
You should know that not all dog breeds are suitable for backpacking, including bulldogs. Considering the dog's size, smaller ones can’t go backpacking because it would be hard for them to cross each obstacle. Also, they won’t be able to carry backpacks with some weight.
If you have never gone hiking with your dog, start with a short day of hiking to prepare your dog.
Picking Up The Right Trail
Next, you should choose the right trail that must be dog-friendly. Here are a few things you must know:
- Instead of high elevations, go for flat surfaces with more miles.
- A boots pack is good for moving through rough or rocky terrain.
- Know about the weather conditions and water availability. Bring extra water for drinking and gear for the weather.
- Find out about the temperature and avoid hotter places like the Southern Utah desert.
- Go to a place where dangerous wildlife isn’t present. If you encounter any wild animal, ensure you know how to deal with it.
Know The Area Regulation
Know the rules and regulations set for the particular area. Dogs aren’t allowed in some places, so make sure you know where you can bring your dog.
In most national parks, dogs are allowed to walk around certain areas only if leashed but are restricted to other areas. Also, be careful when walking around other public, and keep your dog close to avoid him running away.
Train Your Dog
It is best to keep a dog leash to prevent roaming around restricted areas. A dog might go out of your hand if the dog sees a wild animal. If you want to keep it without a leash, ensure your is obedient and have trail etiquette. Your dog should be under your voice command to stay in control.
You must also train your dog to walk at longer distances and higher elevations. Go on daily short-day hikes to build stamina in dogs to avoid strenuous activity in a single day. Also, know the physical limits of your dogs by paying attention to their breathing and behavior. If they are panting and drooling, give them a rest before complete exhaustion.
Get A Doggy Backpack & Pack Gear
Buy a dog backpack and put the necessary items in it to tie to the dog’s chest. You will already carry much weight, so share some with your dog. But do not put an extra load in the backpack.
Keep all the gear after testing them at home. Train your dog to sleep in a tent by setting it up at home before leaving. Make sure the weight of backpack gear should be 10% of the dog’s body weight.
Bring A Bed For Dog
You might have packed a bed to avoid sleeping on hard ground, but what about your dog? Get a bed for your dog to ensure a comfortable sleep. Cut an old foam sleeping pad to the dog's size.
The dog paws can destroy the floor of your tent, so use extra footprint or line the inner tent floor to protect the sleeping pads. Choose tents with large doors and a vestibule to provide a safe place for keeping shoes and gear. Your dog will sleep on it but will be outside of the main tent.
Keep The First Aid
You must have a first aid kit in your bag for hiking and add some additional items for your dog. The things you should have in your first aid kit for your dog are:
- Paw care balm
- Tick removal tweezers
- Self-sticking bandages
- Non-adhesive pads
Cover Their Paws
The rocky and rough trails can cause damage to your dog’s paws. When walking, check paws frequently to see if there are cuts or damage due to rubbing. You can try dog booties for this purpose or use wax to prevent cuts and cracks.
Apply wax regularly at the end of the day to moisturize the paws and make walking easy on rough patches.
Keep All Nutritious Items
Your dog will burn extra calories during hiking, so you should keep extra food to maintain energy levels. Keep your dog hydrated by giving them water and snacks at different intervals. If your dog’s nose is dry, give water, which is a sign of dehydration.
Bring nutritious food rich in protein to keep the dog healthy. Add some extra treats, such as frozen-dried treats for dogs.
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Properly Treat Dog Waste
Prevent your dog pooping or peeing within 200 feet of the water source. You can use a packable shovel and bio-degradable bag to manage your dog’s waste.
If you are in the wilderness, dispose of your and your dog’s waste by burying it into a hole 6 to 8 inches deep and 200 feet away from trail, camp, or water reserves. If you can’t bury the poop, use the bio-degradable bag to treat the waste.
What Age Can A Dog Go Backpacking?
Puppies shouldn’t go backpacking; the age must be around 12 months for small and 18 months for large breeds. But it is recommended not to bring shorter dog breeds on hiking due to excessive obstacles and avoid overloading backpacks to make walking even harder.
How Do You Carry A Dog While Backpacking?
Set up a harness on your dog to carry the load if it usually wears collars. Start practicing by setting up the harness and empty backpack to walk around. Gradually add some weight and keep it up to 10% to 25% of the dog’s body weight.
How Far Can A Dog Hike In A Day?
A healthy and well-grown dog can hike 5 to 10 miles daily. But after proper training and conditioning, a good-shape dog can hike up to 20 miles.
When backpacking with a dog, you should look into multiple factors. You must take care of everything from proper training to dog health, food, first aid, rest, and waste treatment. Keep your dog hydrated and feed well.
Follow all the pet regulations and rules set for the trails. However, always consult the vet before planning everything for a safe trip. We hope the information will help you enjoy every moment of hiking with your companion without any trouble.