I am hoping to get some good info and tips on what has worked for others when hiking on extended trips with their dogs.
I am specifically looking for any ideas for nutritional supplements or high quality foods (dried of course) that have been used with success. I don't want to start a dog rant on whether or not dogs belong on the trail.
He is a very active, agile, 3 year old black lab. I am currently feed him dry Wellness Spring 5 Mix with about 6 crushed Freeze Dried 100% Pure Beef Liver Chunks dehydrated with warm water when we have supper in camp when we take him backpacking about an hour after coming in and about an hour before hiking in the morning (to prevent bloat). During the day he is supplemented with Zukes Trek'n Treats (they are kind of moist and weigh a bit more than what we'd like to carry but they seem good, any comments on this would also be appreciated). We would like to start some extended hikes with him and are hoping to get out for 3 weeks for a section hike so I'm sure his needs will be greater than for the regular three or four day hikes. Any input for boosting the nutritional quality and calories for his new demands would be appreciated, of course with weight being a huge consideration. I love my dog, he is truly my best friend and companion so I am quite serious about this question and since he probably puts in about 3 times the mileage that I do I have concerns for taking good care of him.
Please for anyone considering a dog rant or blasting me for wanting to take my dog hiking, please read this first:
I consider myself a good dog owner. We AVOID shelters like the plague, I leash the dog around springs, and water sources near camping areas. I carry a small trowel and bury the dog's poop, just the same as ours, I have even carried it out in Ziploc baggies in the rare times when he's taken a dump above treeline, YUCK., BUT I DO IT. His leash is always readily available, attached to the hip belt on my pack, and, he even has an emergency short leash with velcro attachment on his collar. I do not allow him to steal food, jump up or stick his tongue up anyone's nose or mouth. I collar him whenever I see another hiker and I prevent him from sniffing any crotches.
Special Note to SGT ROCK:
I did read your comments under a dog thread on this board and found them quite funny, especially using the Joe Bob references. You are absolutely right but I feel that most of your concerns are totally preventable. (I want to do a thru-hike BUT I would NEVER plan on taking my dog, I would be a wreck worried about his health and the stresses of the trail for 6+ months...his needs ALWAYS come before my husbands or my own and I would not be able to hike my own hike, I would be more concerned with hiking for him.) I printed out your post for my husband to read and he was rolling with laughter. You will not find me in a shelter with my dog....heck, you'll never see ANY of our family in a shelter...I think my husband would find that reason for serving me divorce papers if I planned our precious vacation trips and relied on shelters as camping spots, he does like flat spots to sleep and does not mind tent-platforms but you would NEVER even know if you were at a tent-platform in a near-by vicinity that we are camping with a dog...YOU WOULD NEVER HEAR HIM.