Like everyone else, I spent the past week closely watching the progress of the Creek Fire, along with so many other fires. There was too much smoke to do any hiking and while hiding inside from that smoke, it seemed like a good time to tell you about Fannie the Corgi’s hiking wardrobe. She recently joined my hiking team and I needed to outfit her properly if she was going to enjoy her hikes. Sure, she has really short legs but I think she will enjoy getting out for adventures with Sally and me. I have never had a Corgi and did some research with other hiking Corgi owners to see what they use. Dog feet and legs are different so although one type and brand may work well with one dog, it may not work as well with another. I also threw in some bonus items for hiking with dogs in this Blog.
Hiking boots were a necessity because some of the country we hike in is very rocky. If a dog’s paw pads got too worn down or sliced, dog shoes can minimize that damge from getting worse. It can also mean the difference between them being able to walk back or you carrying them. The boots can be a preventative to excessive wear, a first aid item in case their paw pads are too badly worn or hurt, plus I have used it as a moisturizing treatment when they are back in camp.
Based on Corgi owner’s recommendations, I purchased a pair of Ultra Paws Rugged Water Resistant Boots for Dogs. I measured her feet and ordered a size small for her in a bright color that I could easily spot when she throws a shoe because it is going to happen. The first time I put them on her, with the help of treats, I made sure I had my camera ready.
She settled down quickly, with the help of treats. Her shoes needed some tightening up but I wanted her to get used to them.
There are other brands and types of dog boots. Sally has a few pair of Ruffwear and 1 pair of Ultrapaws.
I wanted to get a type of harness for Fannie to hike in since she is such a shortie. I didn’t want her lead to be attached to her neck because with her being so low to the ground, I didn’t want the angle between her and me to tug on her neck. This becomes a bit more important when I am walking short Fannie and tall Sally at the same time.
I wanted a “handle” on the harness in case I need to lift her up and over a rock or log. I ended up with a RUFFWEAR – Web Master, Multi-Use Support Dog Harness and I picked red because it was bright and coordinated with her shoes. Sally the Weimaraner’s ensemble is orange, so this also makes it easy to know which items go with each dog. I can also attach some light weight items like poop bags if I need to.
Sally has a dog pack that she wears sometimes but I felt that their would be too much for 25 pound Fannie. Sally’s fighting weight is around 75 pounds so that isn’t an issue for her. The rule of thumb is that a dog should carry no more than 25% of their weight.
Each dog wears a color coordinated reflective color with their contact information on in, just in case.
I carry a couple of dog boots for each dog, along with a basic dog first aid kit with me when I hike. It is similar to this one on Amazon but I purchased it many years ago and can’t find the exact same one. I added a couple of items such as Benadryl and Vet Wrap, which I think is just about the best invention since sliced bread. I also carry Vet Wrap in my people first aid kits. I also have a dog and people trauma kit in the vehicle with a more complete set of items I will probably never need.
When I am hiking, I will check the dog’s feet a few times throughout the day. If I need to give a dog “the boot”, I will put it on the foot or feet that are ailing for the rest of the hike. When we return to camp or the car, I put Musher’s Secret on their feet, coating their paw pads and in between. I’ve been using Musher’s Secret for 10-15 years or so but before that I used Bag Balm. Sometimes I will put their light boots on them over this to help soak the Musher’s Secret in, kind of like one of those fancy pedicures. Another reason I use the boot is because they will track the greasy Musher’s Secret over things as they walk. If they are inside, that is a problem.
I carry poop bags with me, always have them in my pocket because you never know. If they fill one up toward the beginning of the hike, I will put the knotted poop bag in an old zip lock bag I carry in my pack and place that in an outer pocket in my pack.
I don’t usually carry dog water with me because when I am hiking with the dogs, I am hiking where there is good water for them. Some people will carry separate dog water and a flexible bowl for them to drink out of. There have been recent algae blooms in lower elevation waters and I would use extra caution and not take chances with your dog drinking water out of any sources that you are not sure of. You can check status of California Lakes at this Harmful Algal Blooms site where voluntary reporting is captured. Even if harmful algal blooms are not an issue, some dogs can’t tolerate water that they aren’t used to and get sick. I think you need to know your dog and you may need to carry some water for them.
I also don’t hike with the dogs when it is really hot. Heck, I don’t like to hike when it is really hot! I know that some folks who hike with dogs in the heat have them wear cooling vests.
Who doesn’t like a good snack to maintain your energy when hiking? Dogs have that same need and I bring energy bars for them, giving them some through the hike. They are expending a tremendous amount of their reserve energy in her travels. I am not talking about dog treats but something that will replenish the important nutrients that your dog needs to maintain the high level of energy output on a hike.
One last thing to add. Different Counties, Forests and Parks have different rules for hiking with dogs. In my prior blog referenced at the bottom, I have some information on our local jurisdiction’s rules, along with SNO reader’s favorite dog hikes in our area.
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