Five Things to Take on a Dog Hike

This has been a post I have been wanting to write for a while now. I try and go on a hike at least once a week, and a new one at least once a month, and therefore I have mastered my pack essentials. Too often I see people going on hikes unprepared, and although it usually works out alright, it can go bad. I am not going to tell you what to take as a human, but here is what I take especially for Diego on every hike! These are for any length hike, and not limited to longer ones.


1. Water
For Christmas, my amazing father gifted me a Kathmandu backpack that has a 3 litre water bladder and I have become in love with it. It has made my life of carrying water so much easier, and I hardly notice the weight compared to carrying around my water bottle. The problem however, it's not super easy for Diego to drink out of. For him to get water out of this, I have to open it up and let him lap up the inside. So now Diego gets his own bottle taken on every hike, for the shorter ones I leave it in the car and longer I bring it along. Hydration is super important for dogs, especially when they are exerting a lot of energy to go up hills, running on uneven ground and generally hikes are done on sunny days. I make sure that every time I stop for a water break, I give Diego the option to drink. A lot of the time he doesn't drink, but the option is there for him. This makes sure he will not get de-hydrated during our walk.


2. Treats/Food
Here is the thing about hiking, you don't know how long you might be out there. You or your dog could get lost, it could be a lot longer than you expected, or one of you could get injured making it harder to get out of the bush. Because of this I take dog treats on my walks. I use to take just general treats, so that if needed, I could feed these to Diego as a meal to keep him going. Plus, if nothing does happen, least you have treats to bribe your dog for some good photos. Recently, I have found the most perfect treats to bring along as they are light, and can be used as a main meal. I change between using the Feast Toppers by K9 Natural and Woof Treats by The NZ Natural Pet Food Co.


3. Poop Bags/Poop Holder
I don't know about you but when I am out hiking, there generally isn't any bins around, and if they are, they are miles away. I have noticed this has caused people to just not pick up after their dogs. I don't appreciate this. Dog walkers already have a limited number of places we can go, and if we let our dogs poop everywhere without picking it up, the places we currently are allowed to go might shut us out. I currently take poop bags, and these ones have a nice lavender scent, although it doesn't cover the smell of poo! Then I tie the bag to my backpack and carry on my way. I have seen some cool products on Instagram which you can put the poo bag into, to cover the scent as well as hide the appearance of you holding a poo. I haven't yet got one of these, but it is something I am looking into.


4. Kawasoothe Balm
As I said above, you can never know what exactly is going to happen on your hike, so I make sure to bring some sort of first aid treatments. I am going to be honest, I should potentially take a bit more than just a balm, but I don't want to lug around my whole medical kit. That can stay safely in the car for our return. But I do take my Kawasoothe Balm from Daisy's Doggy Deli on every hike. This can be used before, during or after a hike, and can be used for a variety of problems. I have used it for cuts, and rashes on Diego's skin, as well as for Diego's dry paws after walking on dry ground for extended periods. I also have used it on myself after getting attacked by gorse on one hike.


5. Leash
This one seems obvious, but I have noticed that people don't seem to think so. Even if the hike you are on is an off-leash walk, I believe you should still have a leash on you, and within grasp if it is needed. Diego is reactive, so doesn't cope well with face to face interactions with unknown dogs so I walk him on-leash unless I am 100% sure there will not be other dogs. If we come across a dog, I expect the other person to have the ability to keep their dog under control. Generally, this would be by the use of a leash. I also find a leash vitally important on some walks where there might be wild animals in the bush which your dog could potentially chase. I have learnt that the hard way.


What are your essentials for your dog hikes?