how to hike with your dog in the summer
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Summer really is starting off with a bang here in Palm Springs, CA where this week’s temperature stay in the 120-123 range. Crazy, right? Perhaps even crazier, I decided this was the perfect week to go camping – in a tent – but a few miles from that crazy heat. So here I sit (overlooking stunning Lake Hemet) with my husband, my two kids and my dog, Chloe. With the right preparations, your family, pet and all, can enjoy the outdoors all summer safely and I can tell you why.
The night before our trip here, which is only just over 30 minutes outside of Palm Springs, I couldn’t sleep. My head was spinning as I went over each and every thing I had or hadn’t packed. A summer lake trip not only means water safety to consider, but also heat safety, and so preparation is really key – for your whole family.
We adopted Chloe, at the time a 60lb puppy, this past winter from our local shelter. While she lured my family in with her sad, puppy dog eyes, tilted head and floppy ears, all I could see were her scars. Poor Chlo was covered in bite marks, some old, some still fresh. It was clear she had been in a very bad situation prior to meeting us. That had me concerned, especially with young children in the home.
After sitting with her for over an hour at the shelter, I saw that Chloe was no threat to anyone or anything, quite the opposite. She is timid, unsure, unconfident and afraid of her own shadow. A later prognosis would be PTSD from her previous life when she was clearly attacked on the reg. While her timid temperament is a challenge, I have also seen that she is beyond sweet, forever loving and wakes up everyday with only one request – affection. She has stolen my heart with her gentle, broken spirit that I’m hoping to help mend. Share your unique pet story and how your pet stole your heart on social media and tag #PurinaMysteries !
AmStaffs are one breed commonly known as a Pit Bull. That term has so much negativity attached to it – wrongly attached to the animal, instead of the owner. My very emotional thoughts on this topic, I’ll save for another post. Chloe is the very opposite of the stigma – extremely submissive and passive – to a fault. After consulting with an expert, we learned she has PTSD and to overcome the symptoms, we have to help build her confidence. One great way to do this is by hiking.
My Chlo is a BIG girl. She is bulky and powerful and requires a good deal of exercise. Exercise is good for more than just keeping your pooch in shape, though. Exercise and game play are also important for letting out frustration and anxiety, both of which Chlo struggles with. If she doesn’t get enough exercise, watch out, she will get out that anxiety in another way like eating the kids toys, my shoe or digging a whole in the yard. No Bueno.
So back to my beautiful view here in Lake Hemet. This is the very first time we have brought Chloe camping with us and I was super nervous. I never know how she will react to a new situation and there is a lot going on here, but she has been in absolute Heaven.
what to bring on a summer hike for your dog
Big duh, but bring all of the water and then bring some more. The general rule is your dog should drink about 1 oz per lb they weigh per day. This is without exercise, so make sure while at home (or back at camp) your dog is drinking that much. For Chloe, that’s about 1/2 a gallon. When the heat rises or you’re hiking, your dog will need more than their normal, so keep that in mind.
Food is fuel and your dog needs it before a hike, during a hike and after a hike. In the summer heat, I like to limit the amount of food Chloe eats in the during part because, well, overeating when you’re overheating is a recipe for vomiting – same goes for water! Best to fuel up before and then after, but give her a rest period before eating after the hike. Let her cool off and her heart rate calm down first. I bring Chloe’s favorite: Purina ONE®.
Gosh, I love these collapsible bowls. Everywhere we go outdoors, I bring my collapsible bowl and a bottle of water. They conveniently fit in any bag or pack, are easy to clean and work for any situation. When it’s a walk around the neighborhood, I just bring the water bowl. When it’s a hike, I bring both the water bowl and the food bowl.
There is nothing ruder than not picking up after your dog, no matter if it’s in a neighbor’s yard or just out on the trail in the woods. If you are on a beaten path and your dog poops, pick it up and take it back with you. Just do it.
Treats come in handy for those wanting to train their dogs, or those like me trying to coax a dog out of its PTSD shell. Search around for a treat your dog truly goes wild for stick with it. For Chloe, it is Purina® Beggin’. If you want to treat your dog along the hike, these will be great incentives to maybe push a little further or try a new area.
When you have a large breed that could technically walk YOU, a good harness is everything. Even the tightest collars can slip off a determined dog and they also can choke them on an excited walk. Always opt for a harness.
Chances are, you’re hiking somewhere that requires a leash at all times. Here in Lake Hemet, I can’t take Chlo off of her leash for any moment this entire trip, so a great harness and a sturdy leash are a must. While the harness is about your dog’s comfort, the leash is about yours. Find a quality leash that feels good in your hand. I prefer the climbing rope style, while my husband prefers the flat nylon.
One thing I’ve learned about building a dog’s confidence is that they like responsibility. Give them a duty they can handle and they will not let you down. A well-fitting doggy backpack is an easy way to share the load while boosting your companion’s self worth. Have them carry a water bowl or treats, whatever you want.
This one depends on your dog and your climate. Dogs cool from the bottom up – so in the winter, bare paws will make them colder. In the summer, bare paws on hot surfaces will make them warmer. Booties help keep your dog’s temperature where it needs to be. This same idea is why you should have an overheated dog stand on a cold surface versus putting something cold on top of them – cold water in kiddie pools works great.
Living in the desert, you KNOW I have a lot of handheld spray misters. I have a few on this trip and when I take Chloe into the mountains for a hike, I’m bringing one, not just for myself, but for her as well. If your dog is afraid of it blowing in their face (like mine) try spraying her feet when she is lying down taking a rest. Remember – dogs cool from the bottom up.
When we first rescued Chloe, we tried a few different brands and types of dog food. She isn’t a dog who will just eat ANY-thing. I know those dogs exist but I don’t have one. Chlo is rather picky, not too bad, the girl just knows what she wants. Once we found Purina ONE® at PetSmart, that just became our regular order. She goes back and forth between two varieties; the one she is currently eating is Purina ONE® SmartBlend Lamb & Rice Formula. I buy the big bag for home and then a smaller one to bring on our camping/hiking trips.
What I’ve noticed through trial and error is that Chloe pays attention to the texture of dog food. The Purina ONE® food has a nice chewy texture, which you can see in the image below. I can feel good about buying this for her because it features real lamb as the first ingredient, and is blended with other high-quality protein sources to help support strong muscles and a healthy heart. Also inside is an antioxidant blend of vitamins E and A, zinc and selenium to promote a healthy immune system and a radiant coat. Chloe has such a pretty coat and I can tell just from looking at the coat if she is eating the right foods.
Purina has a wide variety of food, treats, and litter for your pet (both dog and cat) available at PetSmart. Right now it really pays to stock up – during the month of June, buy at least $40 worth of Purina products to receive a $10 PetSmart gift card! This promotion can be redeemed an unlimited amount of times so feel free to keep stocking up all during the month of June. Upload your receipt here before 7/9/17!
Find all of your Purina pet needs at PetSmart. I found Chloe’s favorite hiking treats and foods in the dog section.