Hiking with your dog can mean more than just grabbing a leash and heading out. It can involve a detailed process of choosing clothing that is functional and perhaps cute too.
When it is cold outside, especially if your dog is short haired, consider getting a overcoat for the dog. There are a variety of options. Some cover only the back. There are others that go all the way around and cover the stomach too. This is especially great when you hike in deep snow. The full jackets such as the Ruff Wear Cloud Chaser helps the dog keep his tummy warm.
On the other hand if it is extremely warm you might consider getting a swamp cooler for the dog. This is a shirt that you soak in water and put on the dog. It helps dissipate the heat but releasing some of the heat as the water in the shirt evaporates, just like a normal swamp cooler.
Boots are another consideration. Many dogs such as mine may hate them with a passion. Some may even be quite good at sneaking them off. However boots can be very valuable. If you are hiking in an area that salts the salt can be quite tough on her paw pads. When it is cold the boots can help keep her warm. Similarly when it is warm the boots can help keep her from burning her paw pads on hot asphalt. Also if you are in rocky area or rough areas they can be quite beneficial to give extra protection.
Considerations in Fitiing
If you are in tough rocky terrain consider getting a boot that has soles made of recycled tire rubber. This gives more protection than many of the alternatives which is definitely a pro. Additionally based on my experience they tend to last longer than many of the alternatives. The negative part of this, based on my experience is that some dogs find these undesirable. The soles can be firm and ungiving. Consider the different between wearing and walking in slippers versus strong hiking boots. It many take a few tries to find a durable strong soled show that the dog likes to wear when hiking. Realize that the first time you put the shoes on the dog the dog make wonder what is going on. However with time the dog might enjoy having the shoes when hiking.
Doggie Shoe Considerations
If you are in a more forgiving easier trail for hiking you can consider less protective shoes. Some shoes are made of boot liners, canvas, or even cloth. These may not provide as much protection as that with rubber soles but can be more comfortable for the dog. A dog who is new to boots and shoes may prefer these at first. The cloth ones are great for training a dog to get use to shoes while still giving the dog some protection.
First Aid for Hiking
Consider first aid needs when hiking with your dog. A dog may be an animal but the dog may need first aid along the way. Consider the wild animals you may encounter when hiking. There are several options. There are classes you can take from venders such as Petco and Red Cross on pet first aid. They give you hands on experience. There are also a multitude of books available. Additionally there are several pet first aid kits that you can take advantage of and bring with you. Several of these are small enough to have the dog carry in a dog pack.
Dog Pack A Fashion Statement
As we diverted from the topic in the last item we are now getting back on topic with a dog pack. This can be fashionable and functional. A young healthy dog can typically carry about 25% of their weight. Some breeds can carry more than them. Some can carry less. The amount the dog can carry typically decreases with age. It is good to talk to a vet. Using a dog back you can save yourself carrying some things and give the dog a fun fashion accessory. Many are brightly colored and have cool patterns. As an added benefit you can put a blanket under the pack to provide the dog some warmth.
Fiting the Pack for the Terrain
When putting on the pack consider the chest circumference of your dog. Many times the package the packs come in or the attached tag show the size animals the pack fits by chest circumference. When putting on the pack you typically place the middle of the pack on the dog's back. The straps on the pack typically tie or fasten around the waist or chest and in some cases around the neck. Tight the straps so the pack is firm in place so the pack can not slip off. However make sure the straps are not so tight that they interfere with breathing or irritate the dog.
If you are in a densely grown area you may want a fluorescent pack so it helps you easily find the dog if he gets loose. If you are running in fog or dark areas consider packs with lights or reflective areas to help with visibility. Additionally think about if you are in a wet area. If you think there may be rain, snow, let undergrowth, or water consider getting a water proof pack. Also consider if you want a pack with dividers to keep things such as water and pet treats separate.