• by Sandy Robins

    Whether you’re packing for a day at the beach or a hiking trip, taking along the right gear will make the outing both safer and more fun for your dog.

    If your dog joins you regularly on excursions, it’s worth investing in his own kit that you can grab and go just as you would do for kids.

    Invest in a doggie backpack with a leash attachment that can be adjusted for a perfect fit and pack it toys, treats, collapsible bowls and food to go. They are ideal for dogs of 30lbs and more. For smaller dogs, there are special messenger-styled bags (like baby bags), to pack all you need. www.kurgo.com

    A pet tent doubles as a ground sheet and an umbrella and can be used anywhere even in the back of your SUV. Consider one with a pop-up mechanism that makes it easy to open and close in seconds. www.petego.com

    Dogs like people, can dehydrate quickly in hot weather. A specially designed stainless steel canine drinking bottle that clips onto your belt will keep water cold and easily accessible. www.H2O4K9.com

    A collar that can be filled with ice or chilled gel packs will keep body temperatures under control on exceptionally hot days. www.koolcollarstore.com. While a protective jacket designed to keep dogs cool in excessive heat is an excellent investment if you hike regularly. Training your dog to wear specially designed ergonomic boots www.muttluks.com will help protect paws from hot sand and dirt trails and offer protection from sharp stones and cut glass.

    Dogs love frolicking in water but contrary to popular opinion, some are not strong swimmers. Whether you are boating on having fun in a lake, a doggie life jacket will give you peace of mind. They are available in all sizes and will make water-based games much safer.

    If you sail regularly, a ramp is another good investment to keep on board. They can even be used in swimming pools. www.skamperramp.com

    To add to the fun, take along balls, Frisbees and slingshot toys for endless games of fetch. www.Hartz.com

    Sunscreen is an excellent idea to help prevent skin cancer and guard against sunburn. There are special canine formulations in spray form. Apply to nose, ears, muzzle and the tummy area before exposure to the sun. Light colored dogs and those will thin coats can be sprayed all over and it can be reapplied after swimming or excessive licking. These special formulations also help ease itchy discomfort resulting from too much sun.

    Make sure your dog’s collar has up-to-date identification. Special GPS tracking devices can monitor him within fixed distances and be re-programmed as you travel. If he gets out of sight, you even be track him on your phone. Yes! There’s an App for that! www.SpotLightGPS.com

    AT THE END OF THE DAY…

    After swimming, it’s important to rinse off his coat. Salt water in particular, can cause skin irritations. Pack a dog shampoo with conditioner www.Hartz.com along with an extra towel. Also be sure to check your pal’s coat for burrs and ticks and the paw pads as stones and slivers of glass can easily get caught between his toes. A useful gadget to add to your keychain is a tick-key, as this specially designed device can remove a tick from both dogs and people. www.tickkey.com. Liquid bandage for dogs and tweezers are essentials to add to your general first aid. Alternatively, consider a special first aid kit for dogs. It can be useful both at home and on your travels.

    Any outing with your dog is great quality time together. Have fun.

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    Sandy Robins and a canine pal

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    Dogs love frolicking in water