When I first started hiking with dogs I didn’t carry a thing on my back or in my car. The dogs hopped into the back seat, and off we went. My dogs listen to me. They like other dogs. So, what could go wrong? Not too many hikes later, I realized to hike with dogs, I needed some basic dog gear.
First lesson? I tried to walk my three unleashed hiking buddies passed a Great Dane on a narrow trail. My dogs were friendly, so what could happen? Well, my dogs are friendly up to a point. When a one hundred twenty pound Great Dane growled and lunged, my sister’s dog Lucy was ready to fight. I grabbed Lucy by the collar and avoided a battle by three inches. After that, I realized I needed gear to hike with my dogs.
Now, I carry a small backpack by Osprey. I’ve used it for several years, and I love it. Whenever it looks a bit rough, I put it in the washing machine and it comes out like new. Attached to the front of my backpack are at least two leashes. That way, I can leash up the dogs if there’s a coyote or an evil Great Dane.
I’ve owned, and loved, an Alite leash for years. I can unhook the handle and clip it onto my backpack, and it has a pocket for poop bags. Unfortunately, they don’t make it anymore! So, looking around the Internet, I’d buy this Primal Pet Gear Leash, this poop bag holder from Alite, and use a carabiner to clip the leash to my pack.
Since I decided to carry a backpack, why not fill it with water? One bottle for me, two for the dogs. I didn’t realize how thirsty the dogs got hiking! They drink SO MUCH! When I realized how thirsty they were, I felt SO GUILTY! To carry the water, I love Nylgene bottles for the dogs. They’re inexpensive, don’t leak, and I haven’t cracked one yet. I buy the 48 ounce size. To give you an idea about how much water to carry, I usually hike two miles, and Kinsey is sixty pounds. If it’s eighty degrees or more, Kinsey will drink 48 ounces of water all by herself.
Recently, I discovered Rockbirds silicone collapsable water bottles, and I love them because they’re so soft! I can clip them to the front of my backpack, and I don’t have to worry about getting whapped with a hard plastic bottle.
I also clip on a couple of Prima Pet Collapsible Bowls to the outside of my backpack. They are lightweight and the dogs can drink out of them easily. I like the bigger bowls because I hike with multiple dogs.
For myself, I carry a Kleen Kanteen because it’s insulated. I like my drinks cold and flavored with a dash of mango juice. 🙂
Carrying all of the water gives me an extra workout, but even better the water gives the dogs more energy on the hike. They run further for longer. YEAH FOR TIRED DOGS!
The second lesson was a little harder on me than the first. I took Kinsey, Quincy, Rook and Lucy to an empty field for thirty minutes of leash free fun. As we headed back to the car I noticed thick brown smears on Lucy’s neck. Poop, no doubt. I took a deep breath, tried to remain calm. Because dogs are exceptionally skilled at reading body language, Lucy could tell I was displeased and would not get close to me. So, I put the other three dogs in the car, talked sweet, and got her leashed up. Then, because she isn’t crate trained, she didn’t want to get into the plastic crate in the back of my car. After several useless verbal commands, I just gave up and threw her into the crate. (Yes, I ended up with poop on my hands and arms.)
Dogs in the car, headed home, and I thought the worst was over. NOPE. Silly me. Rook started to retch. Vomit flew EVERYWHERE.
Whatever Lucy rolled in, he ate.
By the time I got home it was cold and dark. I had to give two dogs a bath, scrub out my car and do several loads of vomit covered towels.
I’d have given both those dogs away to a stranger at that moment.
To avoid repeating this disaster I carry the following dog gear:
Several old clean towels
Wipes designed to sanitize
Earth Rated Poop Bags (I love these because of the size!)
So go out and buy yourself some new dog gear for yourself or as a Christmas gift for a dog lover in your life! A Nylgene bottle, a leash or a daypack. And throw a couple of old towels in the car, just in case. 🙂