Top Tips For Hiking With Dogs In The Winter

Hiking, or snowshoeing, with your dog in the winter can be just as fun as hiking with them in other seasons. Or even more. Here are my top tips for hiking with dogs in the winter:

  1. First thing to do is check that the area you’re planning to visit allows dogs. It also helps to check if that area is even accessible in the winter and to have a backup plan if not.img_5894
  2. Start off slow. Hiking in snow is usually more work than on solid ground. If you don’t usually venture out in the snow, start with a shorter trip to see how your dog handles it.
  3. Take frequent breaks. Don’t just plan on a “start to finish” hike. Hiking in the snow already takes longer as it is, but you need to also account for breaks in your hike. Make sure to have lots of treats and/or trail food for dogs on hand. They need the extra fuel that those provide. Our go to is Zukes. They have plenty of options for treats that boost a dog mid-hike.img_5528
  4. Keep your dog hydrated! Since it’s colder out, you may not think that they need as much water, but makes sure to still offer them plenty. They might not drink it, but it’s best to have that option there. Also make sure they drink plenty after the hike.img_5530
  5. It’s always handy to know the signs of hypothermia in dogs. Symptoms like excessive shivering, weakness/tiredness, slow and shallow breathing, and lack of alertness are all things to watch out for.
  6. Care for those paws! Whether it’s cute little boots or a product like Musher’s Secret, keep those paws protected. Dog’s paws can handle a lot in all different kinds of terrain, but it’s still important to care for them whether it be before, after, or during the hike. If you choose to put a product on, do it before and after the hike. Before for the protection and after for the conditioning.
    If they aren’t wearing boots, clean between your dog’s toes when taking a break. If they clean their paws themselves, they’re just more likely to get more snow stuck on by adding that extra moisture.img_2403
  7. Look into the many options of jackets and coats. Short fur dogs or dogs that get cold easily will need these more than long coats. Loki uses his jackets on trips longer than a couple hours with temperatures below 35 F
  8. Don’t let your dog near edges of cliffs or mountains. Snow can cause a false sense of solid ground and it could easily cave in and take your dog down with it. Let them run and play and be a dog but keep an eye out.img_5875
  9. And finally, after you and your adventure pup have made it home safely, give them a good rubdown. Work their paws, legs, hips, and anything else. It’s tough work on muscles no matter how active they are! Thanks for following along,   Miranda and Loki

Exploring Lower Calf Creek Falls

Lower Calf Creek Falls is located in Escalante in Southern Utah. It is a dog friendly hike, which is what we’re all about!
You can camp at the trailhead campsite for $15 a night, but there are a very limited number of campgrounds and you can’t reserve them. Otherwise there are a few other places to camp that you can find online within decent driving distance.
Lower Calf Creek Falls is 6 miles RT but it’s not too difficult as it is mostly level with no major ups and downs. It does feel like a long hike and it can get super hot. I do not recommend doing this in the middle of the day, unless it’s really cloudy, because there is hardly any shade. 

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This trail is mostly sand, which can be difficult to walk in. It can also get way too hot for you dog’s paws in the middle of the day. So again, I don’t recommend doing this at that time. There are a lot of cactus to the sides of the trail and off the trail, and the trail is pretty narrow most of the way, so watch those playful pups! This hike is totally worth it though. It features a beautiful waterfall and if you go early in the morning, you’ll usually have little to no people there with you. We had fun throwing Loki’s Ruffwear lunker before we headed out for the 3 miles back.

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We were lucky enough to be able to go on this trip that was sponsored by a company called Zukes. Loki is obsessed with their treats and he really enjoyed having the Zukes Power Bones for a natural pick-me-up while relaxing in our Grand Trunk hammock.

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In conclusion, I highly recommend taking your dog to Lower Calf Creek Falls if you’re in the area. Always check the conditions, pack enough water for you and your dog, and be smart about when you do this trail. Remember to enjoy the scenery, pack out what you pack in (my pocket was full of garbage), and have a great time in the outdoors with your pup(s)!

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Thanks for reading,

Miranda and Loki

My Top 3 Dog Friendly Places in Utah

When in our home state, wherever we explore has to be dog friendly because we don’t leave the dogs out of it. We haven’t explored Zions for this very reason and we’ve only been on the outskirts of other National Parks in Utah. We love finding as many awesome dog friendly places as we can. I’m going to list my very top 3, though I may be a bit vague in places, for personal reasons, mainly as to not give away some of our favorite secluded spots. I would be more than happy to share with you individually more specifics on our favorite places to roam if you inquire, as long as you promise to keep them relatively quiet and follow the “leave no trace” rules.

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  1. American Fork Canyon
    Located in Utah County, this canyon is full of endless activities for us. Between Tibble Fork (currently under construction), Silver Lake, Scout Falls, and a handful of other favorite trails and places, there is always something to do here.
    In winter we snowshoe, summer we kayak, and spring and fall are perfect for hiking and backpacking. And it’s all dog friendly! With the exception of the Timpanogas Caves, the reason I’ve never been.
    Dog leash rules are very relaxed, but use common sense and courtesy. If it’s a busy trail or another person is coming by and your dog isn’t trail trained, throw on that leash. We recommend a colorful Wolfpack one 😉

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  2. “The Uintas” or Uinta Mountains
    First of all, I want to start off by saying it is NOT spelled “Uintah”. I don’t know why, but that drives me banana sandwich when I see it spelled that way.
    Now I put “The Uintas” in quotations because this is not the formal name. Technically, the Uinta National Forest covers a very large part of Utah. But when I say The Uintas, I am referring to anywhere out near Kamas.
    There are so many bodies of water here, for those of you who have a dog like mine who would probably be a fish in another life. Also, a lot of areas where people don’t frequent, so your dog is free to run and play and be an adorable, happy ball of energy. Fair warning, this is one of the busiest places I’ve seen in Utah in the summer.

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  3. Goblin Valley State Park
    This one I have “recommendation restrictions” on. I totally recommend taking your dog here… Just please don’t take your dog here in the middle of the summer! It can get so so super hot and your dog doesn’t need that on their paws or body. I can barely handle it in the summer time and I’m not wearing a fur coat.
    Goblin Valley does have a rule on keeping your dog leashed inside the park, but I’ll let you in on an insider secret: Goblin Valley covers a nice chunk of land so as long as you are in a spot with nobody around and your dog is pretty well trained, we’ve found out they don’t mind if you let them play off leash a little bit. Just remember to use common sense in those situations.

    As always with any of these areas, and anywhere you explore, I have 4 major pleads:

    PLEASE keep your dog hydrated!
    PLEASE follow the “leave no trace” guidelines! Pick up after yourself and your dog.
    PLEASE be respectful of others and the beautiful land you are on!
    And finally, PLEASE enjoy the time you get to spend with your furry best friend(s)!

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Roadtrippin With The Pups

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  1. Safety first!
    People have many different techniques for traveling with a dog in a vehicle. Whether you crate your dog, or use a car harness, make sure you’re thinking about your dog’s safety. We use Kurgo car harnesses for our Aussies and love them! They double as a regular harness for our awesome Wolfpack leashes to clip on nicely on the back.
    Now, this is a personal preference, but I highly recommend not putting your dog in the front seat. I’ve heard way too many horror stories about airbags or dogs going through the window in an accident. Think of your dog as your baby, because duh, they are. I suggest to keep them in the back and buckled up.
  2. Take breaks more frequently. Maybe when you road trip you only stop for gas and hurry to your destination. Well, dogs need water breaks, potty breaks, and moments to stretch their legs. Plan for more time from start to finish to give your pup more breaks to keep them comfortable.img_2601
  3. Do not feed your dog at least 30 minutes before leaving. It’s not a good idea for a dog to head out on the road right after filling up their tummies. Try to avoid this.
  4. This tip I use just about everywhere: Keep your dog hydrated! Just do it.
  5. Taking your dog with you on a road trip takes extra work. Make sure your campgrounds or hotels are dog friendly and find out their rules and possible fees. Sometimes we use bringfido.com to find hotels, it’s a pretty handy website. Some places, like Motel 6, don’t charge a pet fee. Most other places you will need to inform ahead of time that you have a dog so they can make sure to get you in a dog friendly room. I book through hotels.com and they have a comment section where I can inform hotels of that.
  6. Just remember: toys and treats are lifesavers! And also remember, have a great trip with your pup 🙂img_2241

Backpacking List!

I was going to write my next blog post on my top tips for roadtripping with dogs, but we had to move our backpacking trip up and I have a ton of people ask me what I take backpacking so here is this trip’s list:

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My gear:

High Sierra Karadon 45L backpack

MallowMe backpacking cookwear and mess kit

REI Camp Dome tent
(We also use a Kelty Trail Ridge tent that is fantastic!)

Suisse Sport 3 lb mummy bag

Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Sol sleeping pad

Hand warmers

Camping With Dogs hoodies and beanies

Grandtrunk hammock

Eno hammock
(I’ll do a comparison on these two hammocks later)

Etekcity backpacking camp stove

Jetboil backpacking propane

Self inflating backpacking pillows

Yukon Charlie’s trekking poles

Moon Lence ultralight folding backpacking chair

Bisquick 5.1 oz Shake ‘n Pour pancake mix
with chocolate chips and travel size syrup for a yummy warm breakfast 🙂

 

Loki’s gear:

Ruffwear Approach pack

Ruffwear Bivy and Quencher bowls

Wolfpack supply leashes

Alcott adventure blanket and pup tent

Kurgo car harness

Kurgo loft jacket

Turbo pup bars in peanut butter and bacon flavors

I and Love and You jerky and kibble

Zuke’s jerky

First aid kit including Musher’s Secret, bandage materials, vet tape wrap, Benadryl, tick remover, Vetericyn all animal HyrdoGel spray, and a lot of little extras.

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Thanks for reading! If you have any questions or want to know more about the gear we use, feel free to comment, email me, or message me on Instagram (@mirandashea24)

 

 

 

The Bells and Whistles… or Coats.

There are 2 main things from this most recent roadtrip that I want to talk about:

The first being that Maroon Bells in Aspen is very dog friendly, as long as your dog remains leashed. There are a lot of dogs around on a busy day. If you go before 8am, you can drive your own vehicle. Now be warned, if you’re going on a very busy morning, even if you make it early, you can still be turned away for a full parking lot. We were at 6:30 in the morning.

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But there are buses that run every 20 minutes, starting at 8am, that will take you to this beautiful lake. And great news, the buses ARE dog friendly! It’s an $8 fee for you but free for your pooch to ride. Now here is where another warning comes in: These buses can get very crowded! So if your pup doesn’t do well in crowded spaces, not the best idea to have them on a busy day or the first few bus rides up. On the way back, we were lucky enough to get some more room to ourselves. Just make sure to keep your dog leashed. There are also lots of moose in the area, so dogs are not allowed to explore outside of this region as much as humans are.

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The second thing I wanted to talk about is Loki and Boston’s Kurgo loft jackets. I have fallen in love with these! But before I get into that, I need to do the little spiel about how I was not paid nor given free product to influence my review on these, I just bought them and want to share with all of you dog owners.

Alright, so, these adorable puffy jackets are the works. They seemed to keep the dogs warm during a cold night, in the snow, and during very windy moments. The material is waterproof, so even with the rain and snow, they stayed dry. I initially bought these because when I take Loki along on our snowshoeing adventures, he loves to roll in the snow, and his fur will get soaked, and then it’ll freeze. And I definitely didn’t want that to keep happening. So, I decided to try this out and am now very confident that I wont have this problem anymore. The material also seems to be strong, but is soft.
The jackets are a nice length, but don’t cover far enough to hinder a dog’s ability to pee freely. They have a little zipper part down the back so you can still leash them on a harness, which we loved because we could keep their car harnesses on for quick “in and out” moments.
And finally, they are a very reasonable price. I recommend everyone who is looking for a jacket for their dogs to at least look into these.

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Coming up next: My top tips for roadtripping with dogs. Thanks for reading!

My Top 7 Tips for Hiking with Dogs

  1. My number one tip for hiking with dogs is to keep your dog hydrated! You may be thinking “that’s obvious”, but I see way too many people on trails with their dog looking like it could really use a drink. More than once I’ve offered my dog’s bowl and water to a thirsty trail pup.
    Know the signs of dehydration: Dry gums and mouth (you can tell the change in your dogs saliva too), excessive panting, lethargy, and loss of elasticity in the skin are common ones.
    A collapsible bowl is key to our hiking adventures! We use the Ruffwear bivy bowl (which we give 5 stars!) and clip it on to my pack or Loki’s. And if I know there won’t be safe water to drink, I pack enough for the both of us.

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2. Do a little research beforehand. Know the trail conditions and expected weather. Try to find out things like if your dog will have access to drinkable water or if there is shade on the trail. Make sure the trail even allows dogs. And what the leash rules are. It’s usually very easy to look up online.

3. Protect your pooch’s paws! Every season poses a potential danger to your pup’s feet. Some prefer shoes for their dog. Loki won’t use those to save his life, so we go with Musher’s Secret. I’ve read such mixed reviews on this, but it totally works for us. It helps keep pup’s paws conditioned and safe from balled up snow between the toes or burning on hot summer hikes.

4. Be courteous on the trail. As an owner of a dog, we have the responsibility to make sure our dog stays out of other people’s way. If your dog is not trail trained, make sure to leash them around people and other dogs. Pull them to the side of the trail to let others pass without issue.

5. Know your dog and the signs they give. Never push them beyond their limits. They get tired and need breaks too. Don’t push them too far out of their comfort zone. It’s important that your dog feels safe with you to build a strong bond. And always remember: No shot is worth putting your pup in danger. 

6. Pick up after your dog! Especially if you are in a busy area. Nobody wants to be hiking, enjoying the scenery, just to look down and realize they stepped in what your pup left behind.

7. Finally, after the hike, do a comb over of fido. Feel for unwanted things on their body and brush their fur. It is good to do frequent checks of your dog on a daily basis as is so you are aware of what is normal or not. And then after the all over groom, cuddle your best adventure buddy and tell them you love them. 🙂

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