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By Ambassador, Joanna Brashear
Sven is my Doberman, He's just over a year old and more than one hundred pounds. He loves spending time with us, and I love having him along on our adventures. Over the past year I have learned so much about camping, hiking and water safety with a "small horse" and I wanted to let you in on my little secrets!
We go hiking, probably more than most. If you have ever been hiking with a large dog you know they drink and eat a lot! Carrying around food and water bowls is cumbersome and heavy, I would not recommend it. But, what I have found to be convenient and lightweight is the Ruffwear Bivy Dog Bowl. It collapses down for easy storage and is lightweight for carrying in your pack.
Ambassador Meg Krofcheck hiking with her pup Pippin.
I also keep a small first aid kit for Sven, it has all the dog essentials:tweezers, antihistamine, medical tape and gauze, as well as antiseptic solution. If you’re looking for something you can just throw in your pack and is similar to what I have, you can try the Adventure Medical Dog Kit. It's always good to keep dog-friendly antihistamine around in case your best bud gets stung by a bee or comes across an allergy while on the trail.
The first few times we went hiking, I lugged all Sven's things in my pack. That was fine for the first 5 miles or so, and then I regretted packing his things with mine! I thought next time I could "minimize" his pack list but the reality is that dogs need a lot of water and food. Luckily, Sven loves sticks so I didn't need to worry about toys, but let me tell you, water is heavy! So I asked some friends if they had any solutions. Everyone recommended getting Sven his own pack, allowing him to carry his own supplies. Genius, I tell you! The pack I chose was the Ruffwear Palisades Dog Pack but there are many options depending on your needs and your dog size.
Ambassador Taylor Lanier camps with her dog Nala
Our dog is spoiled. If your dog is also a pampered pup, then you might want to look into these luxe sleeping options while camping with your dog. At first I just lugged Sven's dog bed everywhere. Well, that gets old real quick! Nothing like bringing home a stinky, dirty, dog bed after a weekend of campfires and mud. So, I went online searching for answers, and found the dog sleeping bag! What!?!? Yes! This here is the Ruffwear Highlands Dog Sleeping Bag for your dog! They can cozy up inside of it and you can lay it out wherever you want them to sleep. It's washable, rolls up small, it's pack-able and is also perfect for camping.
When Sven was just a few months old we started introducing him to the water. Now I know swimming comes naturally to most dogs, and Sven was no exception to this rule. But what I didn't know is that he would go out, get tired and then have us come to his rescue. Now that he is bigger and much stronger we never have that problem, but if you've got a little pup who's still growing and learning to swim, I would recommend the CWB Spike Neo Dog Vest. This vest is also great if you're going to be at the river where there is a strong current. It's always better to be safe than sorry.
Sven rocking his CWB Spike Neo Dog Vest.
Social Media Manager, Kelly Vance also uses a life vest for her pup:
"Our dog Rufus just isn't built for swimming and no matter how hard he paddles, he doesn't stay afloat. The Ruffwear K9 Float Coat Ruffwear K-9 Float Coat has been a life saver for all of our summertime lake activities. He gets to swim and play in the water like a dog that has regular length legs, and we don't have to worry about him if he jumps in off our kayak or SUP. The construction of the vest is bombproof, and the handle at the top is perfect for hauling him out of the water... or grabbing him when he thinks he can catch a duck. "
Rufus enjoying paddleboarding with the fam in his K-9 Float Coat
Vests are important for the little guys too, ambassador Stacy Pokrywka paddleboarding with her dog.
Other than these couple things we really didn't need any other essentials besides a good harness and leash. I decided on a harness when Sven doesn't have his pack on, only for one reason. A few people have shared stories about pups getting themselves into trouble with a collar, finding their furry friend stuck or hung up by the collar. Of course, no major injuries were sustained but my pup is wild and I can only imagine that one day this might be him. When walking, we use the harness as well. Sven is a puller, and the size of a horse, so it has helped 100% to have a harness. I know as time goes by he will stop pulling and the harness will only serve as a safety measure. But it’s still one of the best investments I have made with Sven.
"When I started using the GoPro Fetch harness on Noelle (my furry friend) I was worried it would be heavy. But the harness part where the camera is mounted is a light foam material and it wasn't bulky at all. Also the harness tightening straps do a great job to stay put even with the GoPro camera attached to the top or the bottom." - Virginia Buechel
Also please get your pet micro chipped. Every week or so I find a random dog, wet and cold after taking a dip in the stream across the way from my home. Thankfully I have learned who all of our local dogs belong to, but there have been times that I've had to walk to every door trying to find the owner. Then poster making ensues! So far we haven't had any dogs that did not eventually find their home. Although, if they had been micro chipped they could have been home a lot sooner.
If you have any questions or comments feel free to post below. I hope that you and your four legged furry friends have an adventurous and safe summer of hiking, camping, and shredding! Be sure to follow some of our dog adventures on Instagram #sventhedobi or @shredthegnar22
More ambassadors with their best buds:
Super cute blog with good info! Thanks for writing it