Taking your dog on a roadtrip is definitely fun, but it does take a little extra work. I’ve written something like this before, but I decided to do a refresher. Here are our top tips when roadtripping with your dog:
- Don’t forget about safety!
When taking your dog on the road, you need to think about their safety. It’s up to you to decide the best way to protect your dog, but for us, we use a car harness. Remember that accidents definitely happen and it’s super important to keep your dog’s safety in mind.
- Do your homework.
Make sure where you’re going is dog friendly. Trails, campgrounds, hotels… You need to research wherever you are going to know if your dog is even allowed. Check that your campsite allows pets and if the trail you’re hiking is fido friendly. If you’re booking a hotel room, most places have rooms specific for dogs. You need to make sure the hotel is aware you are bringing a dog so they can get you in a dog friendly room to avoid any problems at check-in or a hefty “undisclosed dog fee” that most places charge.
- Keep your dog comfortable.
I know all circumstances are different, but try your best at this one. Try to keep your dog hydrated. Give them a place to lie down. And when it comes to food, avoid feeding them at least 30 minutes before a car ride. A lot of dogs have a bit of anxiety when on the road (even if it is just minor), so feeding them right before you leave could really upset their stomach.
If they are on a feeding schedule, try to stick as close to it as possible while working with your plans.
It’s super handy to know how your dog handles car rides and the signs they give. Some people result to using a calming aid when taking a roadtrip with their dog.
Also think about keeping their favorite toy with them. It may seem silly to some, but little comforts can go a long way.
- Bring a first aid kit.
I learned the hard way how important a dog first aid kit is. Don’t underestimate the importance of them!
I have 2 dog first aid kits. A small one that goes in my pack and a bigger one that stays in my vehicle.
The small kit consists of the very essentials: tweezers for ticks, dog aspirin, Benadryl (talk to your vet about this one), gauze, vet tape, and a wound care spray.
The car kit has all of this as well, plus a handful of extras. Make sure the things you are using in your kit are made for dogs or are safe for dogs.
- Let your dog have fun.
Don’t jam-pack your days with so much that you’re constantly on the move. Let your dog get out to stretch their legs and smell the smells. I believe dogs enjoy the views just as much as we do, if not more 😉
So get out and have fun with your furry best friend!
Miranda + Loki
Loving your dog is great, but building a strong bond with them is so much better! Loki is my best friend and I encourage you to make your dog your’s as well. Here are some tips you can use to help become best buds with your doggo:
Be loving. For us, this means lots of hugs and cuddles. There are many dogs that don’t like that though, so you could go with speaking kindly to them and ear or belly scratches. They take simple things as big gestures. Giving your dog a body rub shows them your attention, which is huge. And yes, talking to your pup is highly encouraged. Your dog is not just a dog, they are family.
Be their companion. Spend time with your dog! Don’t always go out and do stuff while leaving your dog locked up or home alone. It drives me absolutely crazy when someone gets a dog and then barely acknowledges their existence.
One of the biggest bonding moments I have with my pup is spending time in the outdoors. Playing in the wild together really strengthens our connection.
Also, when I’m on the couch reading, I scratch my mutt’s fluff butt with my foot. That action right there is so simple, but speaks volumes to him.
Be a safe haven. Don’t push your dog too far; build an environment that makes them feel cared for. Pay attention to your dog’s body language and study it in all situations so you can have a better read on how they’re feeling. This will help you react appropriately and help them back into their comfort zone if needed.
When disciplining Loki, I go with the “firm, but loving” technique. Instead of anger, I use disappointment. When he does something wrong, in a strong voice I ask him why he would do that. I show disappointment in him, like placing my hands on my hips and making eye contact while I ask him why and he goes crazy with guilt.
Never beat your dog. You hit them, I hit you.
I kid. But seriously.
Be encouraging. Give your dog lots of praise and be super over enthusiastic about it. I’m talking about if he sits when asked, pretend he just saved the world. The tone in your voice usually says a lot more to a dog than the words themselves.
Show them you are happy to be in their company.
Building a strong bond with my dog is honestly one of the best things I’ve done. It makes all of our adventures so much better. It even makes our hanging-around-the-house moments so much better too.
Treat your dog like a family member and a best friend, and get to spending more time with them!
Miranda + Loki
A first aid kit for your dog is very important to keep on hand. You don’t want to learn the hard way their level of importance. Even if you never end up using it, which is what we all hope for, it is still really crucial to have.
I have two dog first aid kits: a small one that I keep in my backpack with the absolute essentials (in my opinion) and a bigger one that I keep in my vehicle.
My small first aid kit has things I would like to have on hand right away like gauze, wound spray, vet tape, tweezers for ticks, dog aspirin, and Benadryl (consult your vet before using).
My larger kit has everything listed above, plus a lot more:
Alcohol and antiseptic wipes (made for dogs)
Loki’s proof of rabies vaccination
Plastic syringe (for cleaning out wounds)
Styptic powder (stops bleeding in minor cuts)
Dog first aid handbook
and a lot more.
A lot of people I know carry hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting in their dog in case of poisoning, but I would definitely consult a vet before deciding to do this.
Along with first aid, think about keeping your dog up-to-date on vaccinations and consider getting preventive care that caters to your adventures. If you’ll be in an area with lots of ticks, get them on tick prevention. Same goes for areas with lots of rattlesnakes. There is a vaccine that helps neutralize the venom, although your dog will still have to be taken to the vet ASAP.
You can also go the extra mile and carry things that could come in handy like a dog boot or an emergency blanket. Talk to a vet to see what they would recommend for your best friend’s kit. You can definitely customize it to the needs of your dog, area, and adventure, but just make sure to have something!
Miranda + Loki
The weather is warming up around here so “camping season” is within reach. Here I’ll share with you some basic guidelines to camping with a dog.
- Practice could make perfect.
If this is your dog’s first time camping and you’re worried about how they’ll do in a tent, don’t be afraid to try it out first. Set up a tent in your living room or yard and encourage them to go hang out in it with you for a little bit. Bring some toys and treats and let them know a tent is a positive thing!
- Be aware.
If you’re camping at a campground, make sure you know their rules for dogs. Most places require your dog to be leashed while in the campground. If you’re in the backcountry, the rules are more relaxed, but please try to make sure when choosing a place to camp that it is already a campsite. Follow the “leave no trace” guidelines.
- Be prepared.
Check the weather report, possible wildlife in the area, and if the campground is even open and allows dogs. It’s good to know the possible setbacks or dangers that your pup might face. Bring a doggy first aid kit just to be safe.
- Know your dog.
There are a couple things that fall under this category. For starters, it’s good to know the signs your dog gives to tell if they are too anxious or scared. That can be tricky if this is a new dog, but the more time you spend with them in the outdoors, the faster you catch on to their tails…
(See what I did there? Tails, tells… No? Okay, moving on…)
The second thing is definitely optional, like all of this since you can do whatever you want, but think about deciding if a dog sleeping bag is for your dog. Does your dog have short hair? Do they get cold easily? Do they like to be covered? Are they small enough to fit in it? Dogs get cold too, but that doesn’t mean they want a sleeping bag.
Loki does not like to be in a sleeping bag and doesn’t fit in any that are made for dogs anyway, so that problem was decided quickly for us.
The final one here is to bring something that could feel like home to your dog (besides you), like their favorite toy or treat or pillow.
- Don’t forget the food!
This sounds like a no-brainer, but I’ve actually heard a handful of stories where people forgot to pack dog food when going camping. I always make a list and check it twice 😉
When camping, we always have other activities planned. We don’t just hang out at the campsite all day, so since my dog is active, I always pack more food and water than I’m expecting we’ll need. The more active they are, the more food and water they’ll need.
- Spend time with your dog. Duh.
So now that you have a basic picture in mind of how you’ll go camping with your dog, pack up your stuff and go! Make sure you curl up in a tent with your furry BFF and try to get in some cuddle time while enjoying your night in the great outdoors.
Miranda + Loki
I bought the Ruffwear Powder Hound jacket for Loki for our snowshoeing trips in deep snow. I wanted a jacket that had more coverage than the one he uses in the fall. There are a few things I really love about this jacket so I’ll share my opinions about it here.
1. The coverage:
It has little “sleeves” and a long enough body to provide nice coverage. It doesn’t cover too much though, so your dog is still able to go to the bathroom while wearing it. There is a zipper down the side that makes it easy to put on and take off. I was worried that it might zip his fur in it, but it has a nice piece of fabric on the inside that goes between the zipper and fur.
2. Holds strong against the elements:
The material is soft, but strong. Loki can leap into a pile of snow and come out dry. In fact, he’s done that many times. It also works great in a snow storm. This is a real essential item to our all day snowshoeing trips.
3. It’s super adorable.
That’s all I really need to say about that.
The only negative thing I have to say about it is that it causes Loki to shed more than normal, and all that fur sticks to it so I have to lint roll it when I take it off of him.
But that’s only a small flaw to me, so overall it’s super worth it for our all day snowshoe trips.
If you’re going to get this jacket, make sure to measure your dog and follow the chart on ruffwear.com. Seriously. I’ve made the mistake of not measuring before, and it’s something that doesn’t take a lot of time and is worth it.
Happy adventuring friends!
Miranda + Loki
The very first thing we do for snowshoeing is check the weather and conditions.
Don’t only check the weather forecast, check the avalanche warning and trail conditions. Most of the time I just type in my inquiries to a search engine.
Tell someone where you’ll be and a general estimate of when you’ll return.
Let people close to you know the area you’ll be in and what time you’re expecting to come back, just in the off chance that something goes wrong. If you want to go the extra mile, you can even print out a map of the area you’re planning to be and write down your plans on it.
Dress for the weather.
If you’re going on a sunny day, don’t wear too many layers. You may even be slightly cold at first, but you’ll warm up once you get going on the trail.
If you’re going with rain or snow in the forecast, wear waterproof clothing!
It is absolutely miserable to be soaked in the cold. I wear a waterproof down jacket and waterproof soft shell snow pants.
Generally snowshoeing takes a little longer than a normal hike or walk. Plan accordingly. Give yourself extra time than you normally would on a trail. Some people go from point A to point B, but I like to enjoy the area and snowshoeing is a great way to explore all your snowy surroundings.
Strap on your snowshoes and go have fun!
If you are looking for snowshoes or any snowshoeing gear, here is a coupon code for 40% off on regular priced items from Yukon Charlies (yukoncharlies.com) that is good until January 30th 2017: YUKONCHARLIESLOVE
Miranda + Loki
Lately on the trails I’ve seen a lot of things that make me shake my head and think about why we can’t be more respectful to each other and this beautiful planet. So here are my top 3 trail etiquette tips I believe every dog owner should follow:
- It should be well known that it is polite to move to the side to let others pass, but I think it’s so important for dog owners. Some people on the trail aren’t comfortable with dogs, and even though I think those people are straight crazy (I kid… kind of), they should feel just as comfortable in the outdoors as you do. So pull your dog to the side, and if your pup isn’t trail trained, make sure to keep a hand firmly on their collar or leash.
2. Follow the leave no trace guidelines and pick up after your dog! Dog bags are so small and you can get a little carrying case for them, so there really isn’t a good excuse for not bringing some with you on the trail. Pick up any garbage you have from their treats (or your own).
3. Don’t have a water break on the trail. Especially on busy trails. Find a spot to the side for any break. Again, some people aren’t comfortable with an adorable fluff butt mutt, and wont want to try and pass when your dog is smack dab in the middle of the trail.
Just remember, we need to share the outdoors with others and it’s better if we just all get along and make the experience great for everyone.
Thanks for reading along,
Miranda + Loki