If you have a dog that loves riding in your truck or Jeep, bringing him or her off-roading could be fun for both of you. Dogs love the outdoors, especially when it means more time with their humans. A day off-roading could be an amazing adventure for your pup as long as you go about it the right way. and your truck is prepared.
Be sure your truck to Jeep is ready for trail adventures by adding mods such as specialty tube doors like front full tube doors for openness yet strength or bigger tires with open fenders for a better center of gravity when rock climbing. Plan ahead to accommodate for your pooch and you’ll both have a great time.
Go Where Your Dog is Legal
Before you assume anything, find out whether your dog is permitted where you want to go with your Jeep. Some beach areas and even many wildlife areas are off-limits to dogs for various reasons. One of the golden rules of off-roading is to never harm or disturb the natural environment. As innocent as they may seem, dogs can unintentionally do just that. You may also come across people who fear or dislike dogs if you travel to a dog-restricted area.
Bring the Doggie Essentials
Once you’ve determined that you can legally bring your dog off-roading to your favorite location, pack for him or her the same way that you pack for yourself. The most important items you’ll want to have with you are a supply of water and a bowl as well as a spare leash and collar in case your regular one is somehow damaged.
In addition, bring along food or doggie snacks, a chew toy if yours enjoys them, and a dog coat for short-haired breeds in case of inclement weather. You may even want to invest in a safety hunting vest for dogs to increase your pet’s visibility.
Keep your Dog Comfortable and Safe
In addition to the modifications you have made to your off-roader to make it more secure, such as open fenders to accommodate bigger tires for rough terrain, when driving anywhere with your dog consider vehicle safety by securing him or her in your off-roading truck using a dog seatbelt harness.
These harnesses keep dogs safely on the seat and prevent them from being bounced around whether you’re driving on the street or out on the trail. They also keep dogs from trying to get in your lap while you’re driving. You can add a favorite blanket or pet bed as well. Once you’ve reached your destination, pull out the pet bed or blanket to provide a comfortable resting place when you get out of your Jeep.
Never, Ever Go Off Leash
As well trained as your dog may be, it’s a bad idea to let him or her off the leash when you’re out on the trails. If the dog runs off for any reason, catching up with him or her can be a real problem. Rather than risk the possibility of losing your pooch forever in the backwoods, just stay on leash.
Use a retractable leash if you want to allow some freedom while still having control. If you plan on tethering your dog to your Jeep or truck at any point, be sure to do it with a harness and not with a collar only. Harnesses reduce the chance of accidental escape and prevent neck injuries from pulling.
Avoid the Heat
Because dogs don’t sweat, deadly heat stroke can affect your dog faster than it will affect you. Although it should be common sense for every dog owner, never leave your dog inside your vehicle on a warm day while you’re not driving it, even if you have breathable tube doors such as front full tube doors.
When you’re not driving, try to park somewhere that has shade for the dog. Offer water freely to help with body heat regulation. Above all, if the temperatures are expected to be extreme, the best choice may be to just leave your pup home until another the next time.
Learn K-9 First Aid
Dog first aid is almost the same as first aid for humans except for a few differences. Still, it is a good idea to learn basic K-9 first aid and carry a kit with you to accommodate your dog, just in case. Be prepared to deal with cuts and scrapes and learn the signs that your dog is in some kind of distress. Before you go anywhere, be sure your dog is up to date on its rabies vaccination; a bite from a wild animal could put your dog at risk.
Off-roading with your dog should be as enjoyable for your pet as it is for you. If you have mods such as open fenders for bigger tires and front full tube doors and follow these tips, you'll both have a great time and will stay safe. Remember to offer plenty of water, stay in the shade, and keep your pooch close by staying on leash.
Oh, and don't forget the last essential rule of off-roading - leave the environment the way you found it. That refers to cleaning up after your dogs, too!