Backpacking with Pets
On first glance, backpacking with your pet might sound like a bad idea. There are so many extra considerations to make if you want to bring along your faithful canine friend, and it might seem easier to leave pets with family or friends. However, if you have a dog, then you’ll be used to enjoying outdoor activities so that both of you can get enough exercise. If there was ever a time to holiday with your pet, then backpacking is the logical excursion.
Of course, if you’re intending on backpacking with your pet then it’s extremely important to do some planning ahead of leaving. Rules and regulations regarding allowing dogs entry to places varies significantly across the world and you’ll need to ensure that wherever you’re intending on holidaying is dog friendly. If you want to visit a national park, you may find that dogs aren’t allowed entry due to native flora and fauna, and so you’ll need to plan your trip accordingly.
It’s also vital to have your dog on a leash whilst you’re backpacking, even though your pet may be used to running around freely at other times. When you’re close to home and are frequenting your local park, most pets will recognize the sights and smells, and happily be able to run around off the leash if rules allow. However, on a backpacking tour, when trails can be precarious and where local wildlife can be both dangerous and protected, it is of utmost importance that dogs are kept in control and are on a lead. It’s often a good idea to use two leads of varying lengths, allowing you to provide more or less freedom depending on the crowds or trickiness of the trail.
Another important point is to clear up after your pet. One of the major gripes from backpackers without animals is fouling by pets along hiking routes and trails. You should plan accordingly and ensure that you have plenty of bags so that you can clear up after your dog and ensure that nobody has reason to complain.
Like all trips where you would consider your own health, it is important to also make sure that any pets travelling with you have pet meds and other aids in place if injury occurs. You should make sure that dogs have collars with licenses, rabies vaccination tags and your phone number on them in case they get lost. Pets also need to build their stamina up for long trails, so don’t set off on a 20 mile walk if your dog isn’t used to walking even 3 miles. It’s a good idea to create a little first aid kit for your pet, with painkillers for stiffness, liquid bandages for broken pads, and antibiotic treatment and bandages should other difficulties occur.
Taking your pet on a backpacking tour can be a wonderful experience for both you and your animal. Part of the joy, especially in having dogs, is being able to holiday with them and make them part of hiking and walking getaways. As long as you take adequate precautions and obey by regulations, there is no reason why you can’t have one of the most fulfilling backpacking tours you’ve ever had by bringing along your favorite pet.