If you’re a hiker and a dog owner, then you and your furry sidekick are likely destined to be great trail buddies. But, especially at first, this is a hiking companion who’s going to need a lot of care and feeding. Remind yourself that this is what you signed up for, then consider the advice below as you begin to create a more perfect trail dog.
Pre-hike readiness: Consult with your vet, brush up on obedience training and trail etiquette, pick appropriate trails, and build up your dog’s stamina.
The dog pack (the kind your pooch wears): Fit it right, watch the weight and load it evenly.
Other gear considerations: Your trail partner might also benefit from one or two other essentials, from a roomier tent to a special first-aid kit.
Food and water planning: This is especially important on backpacking trips, when your dog needs more fuel and is likely to be the one carrying it.
Beware trail hazards: Think about water safety, as well as concerns about heat, creatures, plants and pathogens.