Kim, Day Hiking Ambassador
Snowshoeing is a fantastic winter activity that can help you get outdoors, be more fit and healthy, as well as a great way to make special memories with family and friends. Including your best four-legged friend! We love our dogs, and they love us even more. They especially love spending time with us. Getting your pup outdoors for a winter snowshoe adventure is a wonderful bonding experience that will keep you both in great shape, not to mention watching your pup romp through the snow with that big smile on his face is pretty much priceless! But before you head out onto your favorite snowshoe trail adventure here are a few tips to help ensure your dogs safety, keeping him happy and well energized as you trek outdoors on the snow covered trails this winter.
First, check out the trail system you are planning to visit. Be sure that it is dog-friendly. If it is, then find out the specific dog rules of the trail. Some may only allow dogs in certain areas, or at the minimum require them to be leashed. Being able to bring dogs on a trail system is a great privilege that comes with great responsibility. Be aware that other trail users are likely to judge future dog visitors and owners by your actions, so please practice proper pet etiquette. Leave no trace, by picking up after your pup. Keep him under control at all times, and please do your best to stay out of the way of others!
Nothing can ruin a great adventure outdoors than someone getting injured or worse yet getting lost! Tagging your dog with the proper ID including a cellular phone number can help to ensure that your best friend finds his way back to you safely and quickly. Remember to keep your cell phone charged and close to your body inside an interior pocket which will ensure the battery life as the colder temps can quickly drain any battery.
While colder winter months call for more gear for you to stay warm and comfortable, it holds the same for your dog. Consider purchasing a harness system with a back connector to keep him safe and secure from dangling leashes. Additionally, a dog coat for added insulation, and if hiking on packed snow or ice snow, dog boots could be used to protect his paws. If snowshoeing in deep powdery snow, using paw wax like Mushers Secret would be better than boots, as the snow can slide down inside the boots and cause ice balls making your pups feet uncomfortable even causing blisters. If you are using a backpack and have the extra room pack a lightweight blanket or tarp for rest breaks so your pup won’t have to lie down in the cold wet snow. Because you know once you get cold and wet, it’s just not fun anymore. 😉
Food and Water
Snowshoeing through deep and heavy snow is a full body workout for you and your dog. Bringing along food and water for rehydration and refueling is a must! Pack high protein snacks and extra water, enough for you and your dog(s). A dog pack and collapsible bowls for your pup is also handy to allow for you dog to carry his own snacks and water.
It may seem like a lot of prepping at first, but once you have all the gear together and get outdoors snowshoeing with your dog you will find that you enjoy it so much that you both can’t wait to get back outdoors to do it again, and again. It still amazes us to see how excited our pup gets when he sees his jacket and pack coming out because he knows that he’s in for a great adventure outdoors with us, and we know your pup will too!
Happy Trails and Happy Tails!