Outdoor Scoop: Hitting the Bends with our Four-legged Friends

There is something different about camping with people than it is with our four- legged friends. You get the perks of companionship, and less to carry. But then, we are presented newer challenges such as the obvious language barrier and different preparation methods for trips. But all together, it all leads up to a great trip filled with great adventures.

There many more things to consider that are significantly different when camping with our four-legged companions. Its not quite as simple as camping with another human. There are things that need to be packed and accounted for that may not be something you are used to. But as a responsible dog or cat owner, it’s our responsibility to make sure everything is prepared and acquired. Yet some items remain the same, such as finding an appropriate location that best fits the needs of the trip. Another important item on the new to do list is making sure pets are allowed at the park. As well as making sure that your dog or cat can handle the terrain and exposure to outdoors for long periods of time. Packing is different for both cats and dogs so make sure you have exactly what you need for each one of them.

In many cases, the hardest thing to so is to get used to the proper etiquette for being on the trails. If you have never gone before, the expectations for you and your four-legged friend may be different that you are used to. Looking ahead and familiarizing yourself with that information is important.

Food and Water on the Trip!

four-legged
water bowl

Like always, are some “must haves” on a camping trip with your cat or dog. You must have enough food for the both of you. Its recommended that you also pack extra snacks that are nutrient rich to keep your four-legged friends filled with energy. They should have enough to get their regular portion size. Plus a little extra, depending on how much weight they are carrying (usually dogs). Here are some easy to carry feeding containers you can take on your next trip.

Along with food, your pooch or feline should also have enough water to drink throughout the trip and during extra hikes and adventures in between. Again, with any extra strenuous physical activity they will require more water as well. So, its important to keep in mind how much walking and for how long the trip is going to be. One thing that is recommended by various outdoor sources is that you take your companion out to smaller hikes in preparation for the main hike. In doing this, you are allowing your cat or dog to mentally and physically prepare for what they may experience. Once both of you are mentally and physically prepared for the trip, you must ensure that everything your dog or cat needs is accounted for. Here is an additional resource to ensure that you have everything you need to prepare for your next

Health and First Aid

Dogs first aid
first aid dog

The health of your animals is never a joke, and being prepared is one of those steps that responsible pet owners must take.

You can never be to careful when it comes to man's best friend. Making sure your cat or dog has the necessary vaccinations is essential before embarking on any adventure. Depending on the seasons, extra precautions should be taken for other plants, insects and even animals. Here is a link for a highly recommended animal first aid kit that anyone should have if they plan on going on a trip. Its useful to research the area you plan to visit for hazards on and off the trail.

If you do not know basic animal first aid, then reading up on a few things is going to be something that must get done before the trip. Knowing how to perform first aid on a animal as well as having the necessary equipment for it as well.

Equipment

Leash/Harness

Whether you are taking your cat or dog, most parks require that your pets remain on leashes while visiting the park. So, finding the right leash or harness is very important. The last thing you want is to not have dependable equipment out in the wilderness. Make sure that you get accurate measurements of your animal friend. Sometimes getting the gear with plenty of time is smart, in case it doesn't fit. With so many variations and styles, trying them out before you go is always recommended. One issue people run into, is that one brand may have a size that fits their dog but another brand does not.

leashes
harnesses

Dog Pack

Odds are, your cat won’t be carrying an extra pack with gear, so this section is more for the dog people. But finding a pack that fits your dog correctly is important when going on long outdoor adventures. Your dog can share some water weight or carry smaller supplies like snacks or first aid equipment. Don’t make it too heavy for your dog and make sure they are healthy and prepared to carry that amount. There various are types of packs for dogs as there are for humans, so make sure that you are getting the right one for your four legged-friend. Preparation once again is key and major contributor to how smooth the trip goes. The last thing you want is to not have enough supplies on the trip.

running with dogs
dog pouch

Apparel

Whatever you feel, the odds are your dog or cat feels to. So, making sure they have what they need on hot and cold days is a must. There are different things you can get for your four-legged friend for either scenario to ensure they are comfortable. This website, has a great assortment of great gear that you and your dog can benefit from.

Apart from jackets and cooling shirts, dog and cats can also wear booties. This helps ensure they are not hurting their feet while in the outdoors. Now depending on what activity is being done, there are different shoes for different occasions. Making sure their feet are healthy is important and will allow for a more enjoyable experience. In addition to the shoes, foot cream or conditioner can also be applied. This keeps their soles from cracking or become damaged. Long trails and long term exposure to harsher terrain can harm your pet's feet.

Now, with water involved, some of our four-legged friends may or may not be that good at swimming. Life jackets for them is something that could be looked into. We know cats may want to sit out on this one but, dogs can sometimes get themselves into more than they can handle. Being prepared can only cost about 50 dollars, but it could be worth so much more. In addition to safety, the smaller ones can look adorable as well.

boots
vest
jacket

Extra precautionary Measures

An owner can also ensure their animals are microchipped and tagged, in case they happen to scurry off to find other friends. Having a way to get back to you can be important if someone happens to find them for you.

Another important thing to remember is to pick up after your four-legged friends. Some parks allow for them to visit and hike with you, but parks still have rules that must be followed. Making sure that these rules are all met can allow for parks to continue letting visitors bring their furry friends with them. It a simple gesture that counts for so much, and follows our leave no trace policy that we strongly believe in.

mountains

Hit the trail

Hiking trips with your four-legged friend can be one of the greatest experiences ever. But like camping with any extra person, its only enjoyable if your companion is having a good time. So, make sure that you have everything you need and everything they need to make sure everyone has a great experience. Safety is always first and now, you are responsible for your four-legged friend as well so make sure that you are mentally prepared for that. The easiest way to make sure everything goes well is giving yourself enough time to P.T.S. This simply stand for plan, train and shop. Make sure you know exactly where you are going and how you are going to get there. Make sure you four-legged friend is trained and won’t run off on their own while you’re on your adventure. And finally, shop for the all the right equipment that you and your little friend will need. Getting dependable and durable equipment is important when going on any trip, but on a special trip like this, even more so. So keep enjoying the great outdoors and everything that it has to offer. With this information, maybe you can include your best four-legged friend to join you for an amazing trip. We all are animal lovers here at Youth Odyssey, we love hearing stories about our youth and our community taking there dogs and cats out to enjoy the outdoors. We encourage everyone to share their pictures and stories with us about all of your amazing trips.