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Kobe Hiking Kit

Getting Prepared to Hike With Your Dog

Is Your Dog Physically Ready?

You should first consider if your dog can handle going on a hike. Too much strain on a young dog's growing bones can lead to pain and future developmental issues. Older dogs can suffer from arthritis or other joint issues that would make longer, difficult hikes more damaging than beneficial. 

Any dog that has underlying health issues or isn't physically fit enough to exercise all day might not make the best hiking buddy. If you are unsure, check with your vet to see if your dog is ready for action!

Know Your Trail

Most national parks do not allow even a leashed dog while others do allow dogs on their trail systems, though rules vary. Before you depart, it's best to do your research ahead of time to find the right trail for you and your dog. Leashes are a must almost everywhere. 

Reinforce Training & Behavior

For your dog's safety and yours, it's paramount to keep your pet with you and under control at all times, both on- and off-leash. When you are out hiking you'll likely run into other dogs and people, so you want your dog to be well socialized. Try taking your dog on a practice hike before the real thing; make sure your dog knows how to listen, sit, stay, heel, and come. 

Check the Weather 

It’s not recommended to do a strenuous hike with your dog if temperatures are above 75 ̊F. Especially with short-nosed dogs, like Pugs, Boston Terriers, and French Bulldogs, they are highly susceptible to breathing difficulties due to overheating.
If you plan on hiking in warmer weather, try going out during the coolest parts of the day — morning hours and evening hours — rather than the middle of the day when it is the hottest.

General Travel Tips

If your dog requires specific medication(s), be sure to refill it before your trip to make sure you have enough. Also, check if you have enough food and water for the entire trip plus a few extra days, just in case. Keeping a list of Emergency Veterinary Clinics in the area is also a good idea.

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Get a Check-Up

Make sure that your dog is safe for traveling, especially if they have a preexisting condition and needs medication for comfort on the road. Check if their vaccinations are up-to-date and take shot records with you, especially if you’re planning a long trip.

Leash/ Collar/Identification

It’s very important your dog has a sturdy leash and collar. The collar should have identification tags with the dog’s name, your name, your current home phone number, as well as proof of rabies shots.

Plan Bathroom Breaks

If you have to pee, your dog does too. Take a few extra minutes whenever you stop to let your dog out to do their business and stretch their legs.It also helps to teach your dog to relieve himself on multiple surfaces — not just grass! Having the ability to potty on different surfaces will help them alleviate their discomfort as well reducing the possibility of accidents. Don’t forget the poop bags!

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Bring Games and Toys

To make sure your dog doesn’t get bored, provide them with a few new toys — and a couple of old favorites. You might want to include a puzzle-type toy to keep them occupied if it’s a long car ride.

The Benefits of Traveling With Your Dog

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Developing a Closer Bond

As dogs are pack animals, they are happiest when they are with their pack leader– YOU! Whether your travels include hiking trails or just exploring a new city, your dog will be out of it’s element and looking to you for direction. This intense one-on-one attention usually means your dog will form an even closer bond with you that lasts for a long time even after coming back home.

Accept the Unexpected

When we travel alone or with other humans, it’s natural to want to stick to a plan. When you travel with your dog, though, all of that can go out the window. Having to change course and stay flexible is part of life! What really matters is the memories you are making together while going with the flow.

Expand Your Horizons

Traveling with your dog leads you to experience new destinations you may never of thought to visit instead of sticking to an itinerary. Often times, the typical tourist hot spots are off limits to dogs. Going off the beaten path can lead to the discovery of some hidden outdoor gems that attract less tourists and that will make your vacation more unique.

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Dogs can also help in connecting with the local people and communicating better. They act as icebreakers to make better, more in-depth conversation and connection. People will come up to you just to say hi to your dog, they’ll talk to you and before you know it you’ll have new friends.

Safety and Comfort

Bringing your best friend with you on a trip can help you feel safe. If you have a big dog, you can feel like you have a constant bodyguard at your side. Even small dogs can add to a sense of safety because their bark can be loud enough to attract attention if something was to go awry. Your dog will also feel safe just by being close to you, and not left behind at home without you.

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New Experiences for Your Dog

Dogs learn to be comfortable with the world through experience. When you travel with your dog, they will learn to be around strange people, walk on different surfaces, smell new scents and generally experience a different world than they know. Abehaviorally healthy, well-socialized dog has an easier time handling the unexpected without becoming reactive. Exposing your dog to new experiences is a life long process and helps build confidence.

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Increased Fitness

When your dog is traveling with you, they will most likely get more daily exercise than they would at home. Dogs spend most of the day at home resting while you are at work. Even with the best intentions, not all dogs get a walk every day. When you are traveling with your dog, you’re more focused on getting out and exploring new places. Dogs are also great motivators when it comes to being active outside!

Other Benefits

See more local neighborhoods and parks. You’ll get some great pictures to share with your friends and family. Appreciate the outdoors more. Reassurance, knowing your best friend is in the best care (yours!).

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Packing Checklist

  • Sturdy leash and collar
  • Extra collar with up-to-date contact information
  • Old/familiar blanket or bed
  • Food (bring extra!)
  • Water (make sure you have plenty)
  • Food and water bowls
  • Portable water bowl and bottle
  • Treats
  • Toys and chew items
  • All medication and supplements
  • Grooming tools
  • Wipes
  • Waste removal bags
  • Towels, paper towels and disinfectant sprays
  • Pet first aid kit
  • Flashlight
  • Vaccination records


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