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Adventure Dog? Make Sure You've Got The Right Gear For Each Activity

While a good ol’ snuggle on the sofa watching The Call of the Wild is a great way for you and your dog to spend an evening, there’s a lot more fun to be had with your BFF (Best Furry Friend). We’re thinking about the great outdoors here, and all it has to offer. And whether you’re training for the next American Ninja Warrior or simply enjoy the allure of the open road, you might be surprised at how well your canine companion can keep up.  

There’s just one caveat, however, to taking your dog along with you on your adventures (both big and small): Gear. Your dogs’ that is. Whether your pup is young and needs a helping hand towards the end of a long hike or your older dog’s sensitive paws need protecting from harsh snow, you always need to pack for the pack before you leave.


CANINE FIRST AID

To be honest, your dog’s first aid kit won’t look a lot different than a human one as many of the accidents and dangers will be the same (although we’d like to think you’re less likely to chow down on a lily plant than your dog.) From cuts and grazes to open wounds, dogs and humans are equally vulnerable so as long as you have the typical bandages, sterile gauze, cotton balls and surgical sticky tape you’d have for yourself, you should be good. Also, make sure you have a good pair of tweezers to remove any ticks or foxtails that might find their way onto your dog -- in both cases, the sooner the better. 

Finally, keep an eye out for bees. If your dog happens to be allergic to bee stings and gets stung while out in the wilderness, try one milligram of Benadryl for every one pound of body weight (for example, a 50-pound dog can get 50 mg of Benadryl). It will buy you a little more time before getting him to a vet. As with most things in life, prevention is better than cure. If you see a bee buzzing around your hound, use your Spleash to squirt a bit of water towards it and send it buzzing elsewhere. 

Add to your checklist for: hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing.

FOOD + HYDRATION 

Nuts, trail mix, beef jerky. We bet you pack a hefty collection of snacks for yourself on long hikes or a day out boating. Well, don’t forget old Fido’s needs too. Always have some dog-friendly food packed away (in sealed containers if you’re in bear country) in case you’re out longer than expected. While you’re at it, you might want to take a lightweight collapsible dog bowl too. But more important than food, even, is hydration (for both of you.) So when you calculate how much water you need to pack for your day’s adventure, make sure to include your dog’s hydration needs too. And don’t forget your Spleash: that way your dog will have water at the ready at any point in the day, reducing her risk of dehydration.

Add to your checklist for: everything more than a walk around the block

BOOTIES 

If you’ve never seen dogs trying on booties for the first time, stop everything and watch this video immediately.

Done? Ok, we’ll continue. As ridiculous as they may look (or feel at first to your dog), boots can be literal paw savers in both extreme hot and cold temps. There are plenty of different options out there -- some insulated, some not -- depending on the environment you and your dog will be exploring, but the common theme is the same: they protect their paws from extreme temperatures. 

If your dog simply can’t (read “won’t”) keep a pair of boots on, try to coat their paws with some kind of protection, such as Musher’s Secret, an all-season waxy paw protection.

Add to your checklist for: snow shoeing, pavement running in the summer, or hiking through particularly rough terrain.

WARM CLOTHING + SLEEPING BAG

If our dogs had a treat for everytime someone said, “They don’t need a jacket -- that’s what their fur is for!”... let’s just say they’d be a tad overweight by now. But the truth is, dogs who have a single layer of hair do feel the cold, and as soon as temps drop below 30 degrees they can start to shiver and shake. If you’re heading out on a winter hike or an overnight camping trip when the temperature is likely to drop into the freezing zone, it’s a good idea to pack a body jacket (like this one) and a dog sleeping bag (like this one.) Of course, if you’d prefer to spoon your dog in your own sleeping bag, be our guest. 

Add to your checklist for: Cold weather hiking, snow shoeing, overnight camping.

COOLING JACKET

Those darn temperature extremes, huh? Turns out just as our dogs need a little help staying warm when it’s freezing outside, they can also benefit from a cool down on a hot, active day. The main issue? They don’t sweat like we do but instead they regulate their temperature by panting and through their paws. When the mercury is soaring and you still want to take your pup out for a trail run with you, consider a cooling vest like this one that offers an outer layer that reflects sunlight and a middle layer that stores and evaporates water to help your dog cool off (you just need to wet it first.) And don’t forget -- your Spleash is a great back up for squirting a little water on your dog to cool down once she’s finished hydrating.

Add to your checklist for: warm weather runs and mountain bike rides.

HIKING TRACKERS

Have you got a dog that likes to follow its nose and wander a little further than you’d like? Do you worry that he might have got himself trapped or hurt when he doesn’t come back to you quickly? Then check out a dog tracker such as this one or this one. While you won’t need this just wandering around your neighborhood (unless you’ve got a runner, of course) you may find it a critical item on your packing list if you are heading out into the wilderness with plenty to attract your dog’s attention. 

Add to your checklist for: adventures into the wild.


With a little planning and some smart packing, you and your BFF can embrace adventure knowing you’ve got everything you need to enjoy it safely. And who knows, maybe you’ll even make it home in time for the next episode of The Dog Whisperer.

By Zoe Oksanen

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