Imagine you are out walking your dog, and another strange dog approaches aggressively. Or what if your best friend steps on something and injures their paw? While out walking your dog, it is best to be prepared for anything. As a professional pet sitter and dog walker, I have experienced many out of the ordinary situations that some wouldn't think to prepare for. Some have been surprising, some even dangerous. Over the years I have established some basic dog walker essentials that I try to carry with me at all times! Let's jump right in to what I carry and what I suggest other professionals and pet owners carry as well.
First things first, you have got to have a good dog walking pack. The kind of pack you carry will mostly have to do with what is comfortable for you, and the amount of supplies you need for your particular set of circumstances. I carry a dog walking pouch around my waist, and also a backpack. I've tried many pouches, but my favorite is by Paw Lifestyles. It has space for everything you need in immediate reach, such as treats, poop bags, your phone, and keys. It can be fastened by its' metal belt clip, or around your waist or shoulder with the buckling strap. It has a separate compartment for poop bags, which allows it to dispense them one at a time. My must-have feature is the swivel clips that connect the strap to the sides of the bag. Sounds inconsequential, but it keeps the strap from becoming twisted and seems to last much longer!
In addition to the walking pouch, I also like to carry a backpack for additional neccessities. This could be a day pack, shoulder sling bag, or anything you desire, as long as it has the space and features you need! I recently got this bag, by Miracol, and I LOVE it! It came with a 2L water bladder, although it could hold a larger one if I ever chose to do so. It's comfortable, has two wrap-around straps, one that goes around the waist and the other around the chest, and it has enough storage to carry everything I need for a day of dog walking! It has lots of nifty places to clip additional items, like my mini hand sanitizer bottle, and two additional pouches on either side of the strap that wraps around the waist. I LOVE it!
Now, let's go over what I carry inside of the bag! I consider these items essential to bring along on hikes, walks, and even on road trips with the dogs.
1: Lots of water.
I fill up the 2L water bladder, that I mostly drink myself, and I bring an additional 20oz bottle of water for the pups in the bag as well. Beam's trick is to stick the water bladder in the freezer for a bit before heading out for the day. This means you get nice, cold water, and it keeps your back cool as well! I always bring an extra gallon of water along with me to keep in the car and refill the water bottle if needed. It's important to stay hydrated, for humans, and for animals! When it is hot outside, heat related illnesses can occur quickly. It is important to stop for water every 10-15 minutes, depending on your individual dog's needs.
2: Collapsible bowl.
You've got the water, but don't forget the bowl! Some dogs will not drink water being poured out of a bottle and prefer a bowl. It also saves more water! Most collapsible bowls are similar in design and most will come with a clip that you can use to easily attach the bowl to your bag. Another option is this really cool dog water bottle. It is a bottle and bowl in one and I am excited to try it soon!
3: Pet first aid kit.
Of course we like to think that nothing bad will happen while we are out, but it is always best to be prepared for the unexpected! After becoming CPR and First Aid Certified, I realized that his is a must-have item for any pet parent. Your dog could step on a sharp object, injuring their paw pad, be bitten by a tick while out for a hike, or succumb to inclimate weather. A pet first aid kit should include all of the essentials to care for small wounds and to aid in other emergency situations. There are quite a few first aid kits on the market, designed specifically for pets. It can actually be cheaper to assemble your own supplies in your kit, but the prepared kits are incredibly convenient and you don't have to do as much research about the supplies, knowing that you can trust they are all pet friendly. Some things to make sure you have in your kit are; gauze pads, bandages, gloves, non-alcoholic antiseptic, tweezers, scissors, and an emergency blanket. I also like to add a paw balm, like Musher's Secret, to the case. This can protect your dog's paws from less than ideal conditions. You will also want to have a soft muzzle included in your kit. Even the sweetest, most well-behaved pup can become frightened or defensive when in pain.