Do the nutritional needs of a
super-active trail dog differ from that
of a stay-at-home dog?
The trail dog is an athlete and will
perform best if fed as such. For the
recreational trail dog, we recommend a
high-quality, low-glycemic, grain-free dog
food such as NutriSource Prairie Select
or Pure Vita Duck. For hard-core ranch
dogs or search-and-rescue dogs, you
want a food like NutriSource Performance.
This is a food with healthy grains (think
Ezekiel Bread) that offers proper fuel for
longer sustained efforts. All of these foods
offer patented probiotics that help make
the nutrients more bio-available to your
dog. They are super easy on the stomach
(important to any endurance athlete) and
offer technology such as L-Carnitine, which
helps repair muscles quickly while benefiting the heart and moving long-chain fatty
acids through the body (weight loss). This
is a supplement we personally use for better performance on the trail. Google it.
Keep an eye out for tenderness of joints.
A good hip and joint supplement as needed
can help keep your partner on the trails
with you for many more years and provide
your dog added comfort along the way.
How much food and water should
you plan to pack for a ride specifically
for the dog?
For most outings your dog will not
require much food on the trail. It’s best
to bring easily consumed treats such as
Zuke’s Power Bones (the original power
bar for dogs) or freeze-dried meat treats
like Pure Vita Beef Liver and Sweet Potato.
Freeze-dried raw diets such as Primal work
really well on the trail. These options help
keep the dog on point and positively motivated. Dogs require as much or more water
than you do. It’s better to have too much
than too little. Stop often and hydrate your
dog. Again, bring your Camelbak Hawg, not
Are there any foods to avoid for
pups? Is it okay to toss them a bit of
your Clif bar rather than packing just
Avoid the empty nutrition of poorly
formulated food. Stay away from sugary
snacks (read the labels). No big meals just
before the ride. Their stomachs will react
the same way your stomach will. You could
toss your dog a bit of your Clif bar, but
there are products with that same philosophy and technology that are made for your
pet and are easy for your dog to turn into
What should you pack for feeding
or watering the dog? Do you prefer a
collapsible bowl, or do you just shoot
a bit out of the water bottle?
We like collapsible bowls for breaks on
the trail. They work the best for rehydrat-ing. For sips in between breaks, our dogs
would drink from a bottle or take a shot
from the Camelbak.
Can dogs handle stream water? Or
is that a recipe for disaster?
We do not recommend letting your dog
drink from a stream. A dog can get Giardia
as easily as you can. If your dog gets the
trots, talk to your vet. That said, a nice plop
in the stream is a great way to cool down
for both you and your dog. If you can keep
your dog from drinking it, splash around a
bit in your favorite stream crossing.
The nutritional and equipment needs of a trail dog
are different than the
typical couch-potato pup.
These are a few of our
favorite products designed
specifically for these
food provides high-quality
protein to maintain muscle mass and strength
in hard-working dogs.
The high-quality fats and
the fuel for dogs that
exert more energy. The
chicken content provides
the flavor to encourage
ready acceptance and
eating under stress, and
the high nutrient density in
helps hard-working dogs
maintain energy and
free: Grain-free dog food
is made with delicious
quail as the #1 ingredient
that features excellent pal-
atability, digestibility and
taste dogs love. Try it if
your dog is a picky eater.
Freeze-dried food option:
Primal freeze-dried formulas offer you the convenience and benefits of
a well-balanced, safe and
wholesome raw-food diet
without having to grind,
chop, measure or mix
the ingredients yourself.
They’re easy to take on
the trails without the heft
of dry food.
PowerBar for dogs:
Zukes provides energy
food for canines. The tasty
treats give a shot of energy on the trail in a compact and easy-to-carry
package. The hip and joint
version of the snack even
has a shot of glucosamine,
a nutrient that’s proven to
help with joint pain.
The trail essentials: A
foldable and portable
bowl, a quality harness,
and the proper meds in
case your trail pup’s paws
get cut are critical for
every trail dog. We prefer
the Ruffwear harness;
3M liquid bandage and a
portable first-aid kit with
antiseptic spray are must-have accessories.
Photo by Pat Carrigan
Photo by Pat Carrigan