These are the top 5 items that are essential for a great time on the trail – whether the hike is short or long.
- Harness – to hold them back without choking them out. The only harness that Chester barely notices he has on is the Lupine 1/2 inch Roman-style harness. It’s a true non-restrictive harness, designed to reduce strain on the neck and back, which is very important to a dachshund because they are susceptible to back and neck injuries. The best part is their 100% lifetime guarantee. They will replace it if anything happens to it – even if you dog, or a bear, chews it up.
- Collapsible silicone pet bowl – for hydration stops along the trail. It can be collapsed down flat, carried in your pack or pocket, or, depending on the brand, clipped to the outside of your pack. Before I carried a bowl, I would just pour water in my hand for the dogs to drink. While free and easy to carry, a hand is not the best option because it is tricky to not get it to leak like a sieve and it gets cold out in the elements when it is wet.
- Trail treats with extra oomph – to fuel your doggie. Just like us, adventurous weiner dogs burn a lot of calories on the trail and need a little extra energy. We recommend Zuke’s Power Bones when on hikes longer than 4 miles. These natural treats are like an energy bar for people, but for dogs. These treats are designed specifically for dogs who need a power boost during strenuous activity. On shorter hikes we just bring a few normal treats to reward them for getting to the top and replace some of the calories they have burned.
- Doggie pack. OK, not essential but pretty darn cute and a good conversation piece on the trail. Gretel wears the Doggles Extreme Outdoor Gear EX Pack in XX Small. Its big enough to fit a few poo bags and the collapsible water dish (see #2). We don’t put treats in there because we think it is cruel to make them carry their own treats and we don’t think a small dog wearing bait in the woods is a good idea.
- REI Multi-towel – to dry the dogs off on the trail and for them to stand on in the snow when we stop for lunch. this towel is made of ultrasoft synthetic fabric that is textured for increased absorption and quick drying. It is light and compact, taking up very little space in your backpack or bag. It will be your best defense against a muddy car.
We take these things with us on every hike we go on. Please leave us a comment if you have any other necessities you take with you on the trail when hiking with your weiner dog. We are always looking for good suggestions.