Equipment needed to trail run with a dog
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As a dog owner, there’s nothing you want more than to provide your dog with a fun-filled life. One of the best ways to entertain dogs is to take them outside and get moving. One of the best exercises with dogs is to go trail running together. But where do you start if you’ve never been trail running together?
There are some simple things you should do before you set foot on the trail. From getting a vet checkup to having your dog wear custom dog ID tags to always keeping them leashed, here’s how you can safely go trail running with your dog.
Before you head to the trails
Check in with your vet: One of the best things you can do for your dog before heading out for a trail run is to have them checked out by their vet. They can determine whether your dog is healthy enough for a trail run just yet.
Don’t overwork your dog: Running on an especially hot day? Upping your mileage? Heading out onto a trail with a lot of elevation changes? Take your time or rethink your plan; otherwise, you could be hurting your dog in the process.
Keep your dog on a leash: Don’t allow your dog to wander away from you, either off trail or even into the distance ahead. A random animal or oncoming mountain biker could lead to an unsafe event you’d rather avoid.
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Watch out for what they sniff: You need to be equally careful of what your dog can get into while on the trail. The greatest dangers posed to your dog are various plants alongside the trail. These include poison ivy, poison oak, nettles, burrs, thorns and more.
Don’t let them drink out of ponds, puddles or streams: While your dog might want to drink from that little stream running alongside the trail, you shouldn’t allow them to. Why? Drinking water from a stream poses numerous dangers, particularly the ingestion of bacteria, parasites and viruses, which can cause illnesses such as giardia and dysentery.
Essential dog gear for trail runs
A hands-free leash: You’ll want some comfort during your run. Keep your hands free while running with a waist leash. These leashes work by connecting around your waist, allowing you to keep your dog close to you without requiring constant gripping. Best of all, some waist-bound leashes feature a slightly elastic leash, so your dog won’t be able to aggressively pull you while on the trail.
A well-fitting harness: While collars work well, harnesses are the best option for a trail run. The reason is that they don’t exert as much force on your dog’s neck and windpipe. This means they’ll be able to actually enjoy your run, staying comfortable while running by your side.
An identification tag: You never want to think about it, but something could happen to your dog. Don’t take any chances. Have them wear custom dog ID tags so they can be identified, just in case anything happens to them.
Snacks: Your dog is bound to want something to eat after running, just the same as you. Make sure you bring along enough treats to give them enough energy along the way. Biscuits, jerky and collagen chews are some great choices.
Clean water: You need to keep your dog hydrated. But you also need to ensure that they have clean water to drink. Carry a separate water bottle for your dog. If you can’t carry enough clean water for the two of you, bring along a portable water purifier.
A collapsible water bowl: You need to give your dog water, but how do you effectively do this? A collapsible water bowl is the best, simplest way to provide your dog with water. Best of all, it’s easy to attach to your belt, running pack or your dog’s harness.
Boots, depending on the terrain: Your dog may do best with some booties, depending on the trail you plan on running. Very rocky and rough terrains should require booties, as your dog will be maneuvering quickly and might catch every uncomfortable surface without them. However, you’ll likely get away without the booties on soft trails. Remember to check their paws post-run to ensure there’s nothing potentially harmful stuck between them.
Poop bags: Let’s be real – your dog may have to poop while you’re out on your run. While you may want to keep running, you need to stop and pick up after them. It’s essential you always carry this out so you don’t leave anything behind. Why? Dog poop can be harmful to local ecosystems, whether to animals or local waterways.
Always follow trail etiquette
Before you and your dog hit the trail, you need to ensure the two of you are prepared for it. That not only means keeping safe, such as having your dog wear a proper collar or you wearing a medical alert bracelet, it also includes thinking of others on the trail.
Some basic rules you should follow include: keeping your dog on a leash at all times; giving the right of way to other hikers and bikers – and horses, depending on the trail you’re on; ensuring your dog has your attention throughout the hike; not allowing yourself to be distracted; keeping a watchful eye on your dog’s energy and behavior; and carrying out any of your dog’s bathroom breaks.
Do your part and keep the trail safe while exercising and exploring with your dog. Not only is it the safest choice for you and your dog, but it’s the best decision to maintain the condition of the trail itself.