Paws to paths can be a joy – when all goes well. But if your dog isn’t up to the trail, your pack just might get a little bit heavier.
Our friend’s little cocker spaniel quite enjoyed the view from the backpack, but I couldn’t imagine carrying a full-grown Lab. It almost happened though, on a trip to the southwest one spring. Sandstone wore the pads of dog boots and after a few hours we were following bloody pawprints. We ended up unable to hike back out and had to formulate an emergency exit plan via the lake and a couple of kind souls with a boat.
Six tips for successful outdoor adventures with Fido:
- Make sure your best friend is in shape for the hike. Just like you, dogs need conditioning before hitting the trail.
- Carry a collapsible water bowl. In a pinch, heavy plastic bags work as well.
- Choose routes without a lot of steep rocky scrambles where claws and paws don’t grip as well as the soles of your hiking boots.
- If possible, avoid walking through weedy areas with burrs that stick equally well to socks and shaggy dog coats.
- Plan rest stops with shade for your dog – even if you prefer to sit in the sun.
- Watch for ticks and always check your canine companion after the hike.