Must-have outdoor adventure gear for dogs

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Must-have outdoor adventure gear for dogs
Photo courtesy of Drew Smith (RexSpecs).

Do you and your dog spend a lot of time outdoors in the summer? Whether you hike, camp, swim or kayak, you need the right gear! Take a look at some essential canine adventure equipment.

Attention, adventurers! If you and your canine companion are enjoying the great outdoors this season, you need to take a lesson from the Boy Scouts of America – be prepared! That means planning your adventure ahead of time, conditioning your pup (and yourself) physically and mentally, and of course, packing the right gear! To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of some essential adventure equipment that’ll make your excursion safer and more comfortable.

1. Harnesses and collars

No matter what outdoor activity you enjoy with your pup, he’ll need a good collar and harness. You can pick up these items at any pet store, but not all of them are created equal. Active dogs need harnesses made of quality materials that are equipped with the bells and whistles – in some cases, literally! The key is to find one that fits your dog comfortably, and meets all your needs.

“A harness provides color and visibility, distributes pulling force from excited dogs across the chest, and can provide a grab handle for extra control,” says Katherine Hayman, Social Media Manager at Hurtta America. “Of course, make sure to have a sturdy leash, too!”

When buying a collar, opt for one that’s waterproof. “As any dog owner knows, collars can get gross,” says Spencer Williams, President and CEO of West Paw. “A waterproof collar is easy to clean, and doesn’t hold odor. So dogs can do whatever they like in the outdoors – swim, roll around in mud, etc. – and all you have to do is wipe the collar down or give it a quick rinse.”

2. Coats and boots

A coat and boots will prove useful in the wild, regardless of the climate. “Apparel is another opportunity to outfit dogs as we’d outfit ourselves, so we can both expand our comfort zones and explore further together,” says Susan Strible, Director of Marketing at Ruffwear. If it’s rainy, a lightweight waterproof jacket will keep your dog warm and protect his hair from getting wet, muddy and messy.

In hot dry climates, a set of booties will protect your dog’s feet from blistering surfaces that can cause paw pads to crack. “Hot temperatures create hot surfaces that burn and blister paws in seconds,” says Marianne Bertrand, founder of Muttluks. “If you’re unable to walk in your bare feet due to hot surfaces, your dog can’t either.” Other reasons to buy your pup a set of summer boots include the risk of laceration from broken glass, cactus needles, sharp burrs or zebra mussels.

“Paw balms are a good alternative for dogs that won’t wear boots, or if you simply don’t have the budget for the boots you want,” adds Marianne. “Applying paw balms before and after your trek will moisturize and sooth paws. Those made from natural ingredients do the best job.”

3. Dog-friendly tent and sleeping bag

There’s nothing more magical than sleeping next to your dog under the stars…as long as you’re protected by a sturdy tent or cozy sleeping bag! Again, you can buy this equipment at any outdoor gear store, but it’s important to find one that accommodates your four-legged companion. Many one- and two-person tents aren’t large enough for your pup to squeeze into, and we don’t have to tell you there’s only enough space in your sleeping bag for you.

To get around these common camping issues, buy a tent that fits your whole family (be sure to read the reviews before committing) and get your pup his own sleeping bag. “A sleeping bag designed specifically for a dog’s shape traps warmth and reduces air pockets around his body,” says Katherine.

“A sleeping bag designed specifically for a dog’s shape traps warmth and reduces air pockets around his body.”

4. Lightweight travel dishes

Fuel your pup’s adventures with some basic mealtime essentials! Great for long hikes, drives, boat rides and camping trips, collapsible food and water bowls come in a variety of colors and sizes, and are a cinch to fold up and transport. Silicone is a popular material – just be sure it’s food-grade and BPA-free.

Fabric bowls, like the ones made by Outward Hound, are another great option. They’re ultra-light, and fold up so small you can fit them in your pocket. They’re also leak-resistant and fast-drying, so you can pack them up again immediately after use. Just add some of your dog’s favorite dehydrated raw food and a splash of water, and he’ll be ready to keep adventuring!

5. Doggy goggles

If your dog runs full speed through brush and grass, or enjoys kicking up sand on the beach, he needs some goggles! “Any dog that spends time outdoors is susceptible to UV rays, dust, dirt and debris that can be harmful to his eyes,” says Monica Purington, Director of Marketing at RexSpecs. “Goggles can help your pup live a long, healthy, adventurous life – free of eye injuries.”

“Any dog that spends time outdoors is susceptible to UV rays, dust, dirt and debris that can be harmful to his eyes.”

Look for goggles that won’t hinder your dog’s enjoyment of the great outdoors. RexSpecs, for instance, feature straps that are fully adjustable to allow for full range of motion in a dog’s jaw. They also have impact-resistant spherical lenses designed to not obstruct a dog’s field of view, including his peripheral vision.

6. Natural bug repellent and sunscreen

No adventure is complete (or enjoyable) without something to protect your pup from pesky insects (including ticks) and damaging UV rays. When it comes to bug repellent and sunscreen, it’s important to buy products that are dog-friendly. Natural ingredients are best but not always effective, so be sure you find a product that works.

When shopping for bug sprays, essential oils of citronella, catnip, patchouli and cedarwood tend to give good results. Sunscreens should contain a dog-safe oil (such as coconut oil), and natural ingredients that protect against the sun’s rays, such as raspberry oil, carrot seed oil and arrowroot.

Remember, any product you’re applying to your dog’s skin and coat should be “lickably” safe, so avoid anything containing alcohol, DEET and zinc oxide.

8. Lifejacket

No matter how skilled your dog is at swimming, a floatation device is a wise choice. Like us, dogs get tired in the water. The weather can also change on a dime, causing the waves and current to pick up, and boats can capsize. Play it safe by investing in a quality lifejacket for your pup. Look for one that isn’t too bulky, and pay attention to the size and weight recommendations to ensure it fits him properly. Lifejackets with handles are convenient when he needs assistance, and bright-colored options will help you spot him in case of emergency.

The right adventure equipment will stand up to the test of the most rugged excursions – and the most rambunctious dogs. So be safe, comfortable and prepared this summer by packing quality products you can trust, and enjoy every moment!