Dirtbags With Furbags With

Pet Adventure: Tips For Epic Hiking and Climbing with Your Furbags!

Hkinign and climbing with your pets

We’re absolutely thrilled about going on pet adventures with our beloved furbabies. Whether it’s hiking or rock climbing, we understand that taking your dog (or cat!) along may seem daunting at first. But don’t worry, because we’ve got some amazing tips to ensure their safety and make it a truly unforgettable experience!

When it comes to pet adventures, the key is to plan for any unexpected situations. It’s essential to be prepared for injuries, pesky ticks, unpredictable weather, and encounters with wildlife. Additionally, knowing your pet’s temperament and limitations is crucial. And remember, patience is key! If you’ve decided to bring them along, give them the time and space to savor every moment of the day too!

If you’re eager to take your furry friend on a hike but aren’t quite sure how to get started, we’ve got you covered with some fantastic insights.

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Should You Take Your Pet On Your Adventure?

First, let’s discuss whether you should bring Fido or Fluffy or leave them at home. If you’re taking your dog hiking for the first time, it’s essential to weigh the positives and negatives of taking them. The same goes for climbing with your pet.

Here’s a short list of some pros and cons of taking your dog or cat on an outdoor trek:

Pros of taking your petCons of taking your pet
Your pet can provide companionshipYour pet may not be fit for the trail
Your pet can add to the fun experienceYour pet may get lost or injured
Your pet can help protect youYour pet may disturb wildlife
Your pet can keep you activeYour pet may require extra supplies
Your pet can alert you to dangerYour pet may need frequent breaks
Your pet can enjoy being outdoorsYour pet may be uncomfortable
Your pet can bond with youYour pet may not be allowed on trail
Your pet can be a great photo subjectYour pet may require extra planning
A cat hiding in a bag

As you can see, taking your pet has some fantastic benefits, such as bonding and exercise, but we all know that cats can be squirrely and dogs have a knack for investigating wildlife.

So, should you take your pet on a trek through the wilderness or leave them at home? Let’s get into the details!

Animals Boost Our Health

Have you ever seen a dog out in public and smiled without thinking about it? Or maybe you were at a friend’s house, and their cat flopped over for pets and started purring, and you felt all fuzzy inside?

Our Furbag G on a Pet adventure with her human.

This is actually science at work! An article in the Journal Veterinary Clinics of North America: Small Animal Practice found that being a pet owner or even just being in the presence of an animal can improve mental, social, and physical health!

In addition to animals boosting our mood, hiking and exercise also boosts mental health! So, if you’re out there hiking with dogs or climbing with cats, you’re getting all the good vibes that life has to offer!

Pet Adventures May Disturb Wildlife

One downside to bringing your pets along is that they may disturb wild animals. This is especially true if you let your dog off-leash or allow your cat to roam freely.

Tips to avoid disturbing wildlife:

  • Please always keep your dog on a leash (we highly recommend a non-retractable leash like the Front Range Dog Leash!).
  • Keep your kitty on a leash when letting them explore the great outdoors. Protip: Use a bungee leash to avoid harsh jerks if your cat decides to bolt after something.
  • Train your pets – ensure your dog has good recall and knows when to ‘leave it’ or ‘stay.’ Train your cat to stick with you by properly harness training them. Don’t expect a cat to pick up hiking on its first trip out.
  • Know the trail or crag and what wildlife may be in the area.
  • Avoid going off trail.

Many options are available to hike or climb with your pet without disturbing wildlife. The number one tip is to keep your pet under control with a harness and leash.

Solo Hikers Benefit From Bringing Their Pet

G walking with her human on the beach.

A solo hiking trip can be a refreshing way to connect with nature and clear your mind. But sometimes, the silence can get lonely. That’s where our furry friends come in.

Bringing your pet along on a solo hiking trip can provide a sense of companionship and security. In fact, a study in the Journal of Social Forces found that neighborhoods with more dogs had less crime.

Safety and companionship aside, seeing their excitement as they explore new surroundings is always fun.

Plus, having a pet with you can give you that extra motivation you need to conquer rugged trails. Just be sure you know what to bring on a hike with your dog so you know you’re bringing all the necessary gear.

Hiking And Climbing With Your Pet

Hiking with a pet can be a fun and rewarding adventure, but there are definitely some pros and cons to consider before hitting the trail with your furry companion. Similarly, rock climbing with your pet can be a fun experience, but there are some challenges.

On the plus side, dogs and cats make great hiking partners, providing companionship, protection, and an extra set of eyes and ears for wildlife sightings. However, there are also some challenges to be aware of, such as the need for additional water, poop bags, and other essentials on your packing list.

No specific hiking dog or hiking dog breeds are necessary to bring your pup along. With enough practice and training, any pet can join you on your outdoor adventure! The same goes for cats.

When it comes to keeping your pet safe while hiking, always be aware of the weather conditions, as extreme heat or cold can be dangerous for you and your pet. Be cautious of wildlife and keep your pet on a leash, if necessary.

Finally, remember that not all trails and climbing areas allow dogs so check ahead to avoid disappointment.

Now, let’s get into some tips on how to hike with your pet!

Pack Extra Food And Water

To hike or climb with your dog or cat, it’s important to remember that they get hungry and thirsty too!

There is a recommended serving size for food on the back of every cat and dog food bag. However, remember that on a long hike, you get extra hungry because you’re burning more calories. The same for your dog or cat! They’re working hard too!

Pack them some extra food for after the hike or at the summit of your walk.

Water is essential as well. Be sure to pack extra water for your furry pal, as water sources may not be along the hike. The Bivy Collapsible Dog Bowl is compact, lightweight, and can hold 60 ounces of water.

A good rule of thumb for understanding how much water your dog needs is to bring 1 ounce of water per pound of your pet. So, if you have a 40-pound pup, bring at least 40 ounces of water.

Cats need about a half cup of water per 5 pounds of weight.

An adventure with the doggo on top of a mountain.

Use The Right Gear

When we take our pets on a hike or climbing trip, we make sure to have all the gear we need to have a fun, safe adventure.

Some of the gear that we recommend to hike or climb with your dog or cat are:

  • A sturdy, well-fitting harness. Bonus if it’s reflective and highly visible.
  • Non-retractable leash
  • Water & food dish
  • Backpack (for small dogs or cats)
  • Cooling vest for hot weather
  • Jacket for cold weather
  • Mat that your pet can lay on to rest at the summit/end of the hike
  • Towel to wipe off muddy paws and bellies
  • Tick remover
  • Treats
  • Doggy first aid kit
  • Paw balm

Using well-made gear for your pet puts you on the right track to having the adventure of a lifetime with your furry pal!

So, we know what to bring for our furry friends, but what about us? Find out what to bring in your hiking bag! Also stay safe with how to pack a first-aid kit!

Gatsby the dog with his human dirtabs on top of a mountain.

Plan For Worst-Case Scenarios

We’ve all heard horror stories of folks hiking with their pets and landing in an emergency. While the chances are slim, anything can happen on a hike or during a climb. Wild animals are unpredictable and can easily injure dogs and cats. Slips, trips, and falls are easy enough on rough terrain. The point is, you want to be prepared!

We bring along our Fido Pro Airlift wherever we go! It’s an emergency sling that you place your dog in, hoist them up, and carry them like a backpack. It even works on extra large dogs (if you’re back can withstand the strain!).

Another good idea is to bring your dog’s first aid kit for minor injuries. For cats, be sure to bring a cat-approved backpack in case they get tired, scared, or injured.

Know Your Pet’s Temperament

If you plan on taking your furry friend on a hiking or rock climbing adventure, it’s essential to consider their temperament and how it could affect their safety and health. Understanding how your pet reacts to other people, pets, and wildlife is crucial for a positive experience.

Reactive dogs may need extra attention and should always be on a leash to avoid triggering a negative reaction. But don’t worry, reactive dogs are still good dogs, and we love them all the same!

Trail etiquette is also important, as not everyone may be comfortable around pets. This applies to cats too – if your feline friend gets startled easily, keeping them in a contained area such as a backpack or enclosed tent is better.

It’s also important to be aware of the climbing area and any rules or regulations around pets. Other climbers may not welcome a friendly dog or cat, and it’s always better to err on the side of caution.

Ultimately, with proper preparation and understanding of your pet’s temperament, you and your furry friend can enjoy a fun and safe hiking or climbing adventure together.

Know Your Pet’s Limits

Going hiking or rock climbing with your furry best friend can be a wonderful experience. However, knowing your pet’s limits is essential to ensure they stay safe and healthy.

You don’t want to end up carrying your dog or cat all the way back to the car! That’s why knowing how far or how long your pet can hike is crucial.

It’s essential to recognize the signs of a pet that is too hot, too cold, or dehydrated and how to avoid it. Here are some things to look out for while hiking or climbing with your best pal:

Signs of Being Too Hot:

  • Dogs: Heavy panting, excessive drooling, bright red tongue, rapid heartbeat, vomiting or diarrhea, weakness or collapse, glazed eyes.
  • Cats: Rapid breathing, panting, grooming excessively, bright pink or red gums, warm ears and paw pads, lethargy, confusion.

Signs of Being Too Cold:

  • Dogs: Shivering, cold ears and paws, hunching posture, reluctance to walk or move.
  • Cats: Shivering, hunched posture, reluctance to move.

Signs of Dehydration:

  • Dogs: Dry mouth and nose, lethargy, dark yellow urine.
  • Cats: Lethargy, sunken eyes, dry mouth and nose, tacky gums, loss of skin elasticity.

In addition to the above, be aware of sharp rocks your pet may walk on that could hurt their little paws.

By planning ahead, taking your pet on smaller hikes, and observing their behaviors, you can determine how much distance they can cover per day. Remember, being outside and enjoying nature with your pet is all about having fun and creating memories together!

Two dogs in the moutains enjoying an adventure.

What To Do With Your Pet While Rock Climbing

One of my biggest questions when I started rock climbing was what to do with my precious crag dog! And can we make crag cat a thing?

Pawd at the crag on his pad!

Depending on what type of climbing you’re doing, you may be 60 feet in the air while your pup is still landbound. Even if you are only belaying or spotting, you still can’t have your pet running away or going crazy while you hold someone else’s safety in your hands! It’s crucial to figure out what to do with your pet before you start climbing.

So, what to do with that temperamental crag cat of yours? Or the crag dog that can’t stand the sight of other dogs? Don’t worry. We got you covered with some excellent tips below!

Use A Tether For Your Pet

One option is to use a tether for your dog or cat. Tethers come in all shapes and sizes, but the one we recommend while rock climbing is the Roamer Bungee Dog Leash.

Typically, you would need a running belt to attach this to your waist, but as a rock climber, you already have a harness on! Tie the bungee leash to your harness while you are belaying.

We recommend a bungee leash instead of a static leash so that if your dog was to bolt after something, there is some give so that you don’t jerk backward while belaying. Similarly, if your cat sees a chipmunk, it won’t get jerked back too harshly when they reach the end of the lead.

Use A Pop-Up Tent For Your Cat

Okay, we get it. Bringing your cat along to the crag isn’t as popular as bringing a dog. Yet. But if you bring your purring pal to the climbing wall, consider using a pop-up tent for your kitty while climbing.

There are plenty of options out there, with our favorite being the Outback Jack Kitty Compound Cat Playpen With Tunnel from Chewy. It’s a bit pricey but well worth it to keep your cat contained and safe while you rock climb. Also, it never hurts to shop around for something you feel fits your cat best.

Bring Treats

Who doesn’t love a tasty treat while rock climbing? For us dirtbags, that usually means a bitey IPA with a half-smashed PB&J. But a piece of jerky or a nice can of tuna will do just fine for your pets!

Treats can help motivate your pet (especially dogs) to stay focused on you while you climb. This helps eliminate distractions. Treats are also a great way to train your dog, especially if you have the proper treats. GivePet’s Soft Chewy Dog Treats are super tasty and help shelter dogs in need with every purchase!

For cats, it’s hard to ‘train’ them to do anything. But giving them a tasty treat can help them focus on the food instead of wandering off to look for mice or bringing out the murder claws on another unsuspecting belayer!

Hiking And Rock Climbing With Your Pet – Start Small

Some of the best advice we can give you to hike and climb with your pet is to start small. Go on small hikes and practice on easy climbs.

There’s no reason to hike an entire national park in one day with your pet for their first hiking adventure. Speaking of national parks, remember that dogs are sometimes not allowed inside, so research before heading out!

Your pet will let you know when they’ve had enough or feel uncomfortable, so starting small will help bridge the gap between what your pet is comfortable with and what you hope to be able to do with them eventually.

Most importantly, be patient. When you first start bringing your pet on an adventure, it’s natural for them to be fearful or nervous. Give your pet ample time to adjust to new surroundings, noises, and people.

 A dog and his human on the shore while he takes a photograph.

Learn When To Pack It In

Social media would have us believe that adventuring with our pets is the greatest thing in the world, but there are serious downsides to bringing your pet.

Be prepared to pack in early and leave if your pet lets you know they want to be done. Avoid getting frustrated and accept that you must turn back or leave the crag early for your pet. It’s a small sacrifice to give your buddy the best possible life, full of adventure, travel, and unique sites!

Bringing It All Together For An Awesome Pet Adventure

The United States is packed with dog and cat owners. From New York To California and everywhere in between, you’ll find pet owners that want to hang with their pets and enjoy outdoor adventures like hiking and rock climbing.

There are many pros and cons to bringing your pet on an outdoor trek, so be sure to weigh these carefully before bringing your four-legged friend with you. (Or, if you’re like us, a three-legged friend!).

When hiking and climbing with your pet, be sure to:

  • Bring extra food and water
  • Use the right gear
  • Plan for worst-case scenarios
  • Know your pet’s temperament
  • Know your pet’s limits
  • Find a way to safely contain your pet while climbing, such as a tether or pop-up tent.
  • Bring treats
  • Train your dog or cat before trying to hike or climb with them
  • Start small
  • Be patient

With these tips in mind, you’ll be adventuring with your crag dogs and cats in no time! Have fun, be safe, and enjoy the time with your best bud.


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