This post is written by TDWA member, Lisa, owner of Dog Embarks. Lisa serves the King and Queen West neighbourhoods.
Everyday essentials for adventures with your dog
In life, it isn’t what you do that is important, but rather how you do it. Just about anyone can care for a dog, but it is the quality of that care that really counts! In order to provide loving, professional and efficient care, it is important to have sound knowledge as well as proper tools, gear, and supplies. Whether you are a loving dog owner, or a professional dog walker, here are some good tips for what to bring along with you while out and about with your furry friends.
Comfortable & Spacious pack: As a dog walker I have gone through many different types of packs in order to nail down which bag works best for me. Every person is different, however it is probably correct to say that we all enjoy a bag that is comfortable, spacious enough to hold our gear, and of good quality (waterproof is a definite bonus too!). Fanny packs are great for a small hike as they allow enough room to store supplies for the day, but keep weight off your shoulders. If you’re likely to spend a greater portion of your day dog walking, a small, supportive backpack or a messenger bag is what you need. These packs help to distribute the weight properly and will allow for healthier posture as you’re walking.
Carabiner: Carabiner, generally used for rock climbing, have become quite the efficient tool for dog walkers and owners alike. I clip two onto the strap of my messenger bag, and then hook the dog’s leashes onto them. This way, the dog’s leashes are securely tied to me and there is no chance of a dropped leash. This can also be helpful for dog owners who like to run or bike with their dog – you can have your hand’s free and peace of mind at the same time. And don’t miss 5 ways a carabiner can save your dog’s life!
Dog bags & holders: As dog owners and professional dog walkers, it is our responsibility to pick up after our dogs. I keep extra dog bags in my pack so that I never find myself in one of those “without a bag” moments. I generally keep 3 rolls, and when I open my last one I make note to place 3 new ones in my bag. Sealed wet naps are great to have in case of an accident while picking up – some of the pros have coined this “poo finger.” I know, so creative.
Extra equipment: It’s a good idea to always keep spare equipment in your bag, just in case something breaks or is lost. In my pack I have a spare leash, spare collar, and a gentle leader. Not only is spare equipment good for an emergency with your dog, it can be a life-saver for another dog. There are many times where I have come across a lost or escaped dog and was able to help retrieve them with my spare leash. I also keep a pen handy. This little tool is so useful in an array of different situations, emergency or not.
Water bottle and portable water bowl: During the summer, or extended hikes, it is absolutely necessary to allow access to water. I carry a small thermos that keeps the water cool. My favourite portable dog bowl is the DEXAS Portable dog bowl. It is light, collapsible, and durable. While walking dogs it can be easy to forget about yourself and your needs – the dogs aren’t the only ones who need water, you do too!
Pet First Aid Pack: Whether you’re a pro, or a dog owner (or both), it is important to have a pet first aid kit with you when you travel with your dog. These kits range from small to large, and can be put together yourself or purchased. A kit should hold the basic essentials such as gauze rolls, bandages, scissors, tweezers, tape roll, latex gloves, hydrogen peroxide, and antibiotic ointment. You can add much more to your pack as you see fit. I also like to have some small Popsicle sticks that can be used as splints, and some bandannas that can be used to make a sling if needed.
Emergency Contacts: It’s crucial to have emergency contact information on hand, even if you are just going out for a quick run with your dog. Keep your veterinarian’s contact information and emergency vet information in your phone, and also on a piece of paper or note pad in your walking bag. This way, if you don’t bring your phone with you, or the battery dies, you will still have the phone numbers on hand. As a professional dog walker, you must keep all of your clients’ contact and emergency information in your phone and in your bag. And extra charger for your phone is ideal to carry also.
Fun stuff: A dog’s life is all about FUN! So, it’s a great idea to keep your outings full of learning and adventure. If you’re working on any new commands, or simply re-enforcing old ones, having treats, kibble, and a clicker/whistle on hand is a good idea. A dog’s learning is never done, and it benefits both you and your dog to keep practicing basic commands, and adding more to your repertoire! The same goes for professional dog walkers. Never leave for work without a stocked treat pouch. The dog will love the extra stimulation from learning something new – and so will their owners!