7 things to think about when hiking with your dog #PinnacleHealthyPets #sponsored

Fall is so close we can almost taste it, and here in Phoenix, AZ, that's a big deal. You leave the cocoon of your air-conditioned home that has sheltered you from the scorching temps and venture out into nature for the first time in months. Every summer, we ask ourselves why we live here, and then paradise comes as the seasons change, and we remember. Our family loves to be active outdoors in the fall, and one of our favorite activities to do together is hiking. We live in the desert foothills, just steps from a maze of fantastic hiking trails. Whether we want to go straight up the mountain or take a leisurely stroll at the base, we have options. Our dog, N.A.S.H.A., loves to hike with us.

7 Things to Think About When Hiking With Your Dog

7 Things to Think About When Hiking With Your Dog

This post is sponsored by Pinnale and the BlogPaws Professional Pet Blogger Network. I am being compensated for helping create awareness about Pinnacle's Newly Formulated Grain Free Dog Food, but Well Minded only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers. Pinnacle is not responsible for the content of this article.

Before embarking on a hike, we all fuel our bodies with nutritious food that will sustain our efforts. This is especially important when it comes to N.A.S.H.A. Though large as a lion in spirit, her body is a mere eleven pounds, so I estimate she takes at least eight steps to each of ours when we hike. It's important to us that she eat healthy food without artificial additives. Proper pet nutrition is essential to a healthy, active pooch. 

So what do we feed her?

I'm a big fan of rotational feeding (would you want to eat the same thing every day for years?), so we feed her several types. That being said, it is essential that the food have high quality ingredients. We prefer grain-free varieties with limited ingredients. As with the food I put into my children's bodies, if I can't pronounce it, we don't let the dog consume it. 

Pinnacle® is a great example


Pinnacle® Pet Food is top-notch. As part of our overall approach to holistic health, Pinnacle fits in beautifully. Why is Pinnacle pet food so great?

Pinnacle Pet Food is an excellent choice for holistic canine nutrition.

Pinnacle Pet Food is an excellent choice for holistic canine nutrition.

• high-quality ingredients that are great fuel for your pooch such as quinoa, sweet potato, pumpkin, sea kelp, and cottage cheese

• natural, healthy recipes

• high-quality proteins 

• antioxidants that support a healthy immune system

• fiber to promote healthy digestion and stool

• helps with joint health and overall muscle tone (great for those long hikes)

Pinnacle Pet Food is made right in their California plant, which eases my mind. I'm that overprotective doggy mama who stresses about where N.A.S.H.A.'s food comes from. Don't judge. I still kiss my kids in front of their friends, too.

Proper canine nutrition is one of the most important things so sustain N.A.S.H.A. on our fall hikes, but there are several other things to consider when venturing out with your pooch.

top 7 things to think about when hiking with your dog

We always make sure N.A.S.H.A. gets plenty of water to drink before, during, and after our hikes.

We always make sure N.A.S.H.A. gets plenty of water to drink before, during, and after our hikes.

1. Proper Hydration. It is essential that your dog drink plenty of water before, during, and after your hike. There are collapsable bowls that can fit into your backpack or pocket, and there are even water bottles with built-in bowls or drinking attachments just for dogs.

2. Pause and think of the paws. You have hiking boots, but your dog doesn't. What is the weather like? If it's too hot, your pet's paws may burn. If it's too cold, your pet's paws could freeze. Also, consider the terrain. Paw protection such as booties are a great idea, but may make it difficult for your dog to hike over rocky or uneven surfaces. Make sure nails are properly trimmed, as well. Consider all factors, and always take your pooch's paws into consideration.

3. Always keep your pet leashed. I know, this one is a bummer, but it's so important. Especially when venturing in the great outdoors. You may encounter other dogs on the trail, or your dog may be tempted to stray off the trail after a rabbit or other enticement. No matter how well you think your dog responds to commands, still, use a leash.

4. Patrol the poo. Always bring poo bags on a hike. Biodegradable ones are best. On our local trail, there are a lot of dogs, and most of them poop within minutes of the start of the hike (so we can enjoy carrying their droppings all day, I presume). We often place our poo bags just off the trail so we don't have to hike with them, but can pick them up on the way out. There are also poo carriers your dog can wear, but I think that's kinda mean. In any case, don't be a jerk and leave your dog's poop on the trail.

Always keep your pet leashed when hiking.

Always keep your pet leashed when hiking.

5. First aid first. You don't think anything will happen, but that's just when something happens. A basic pet first aid kit can be a lifesaver, and many of the items can be used for both humans and dogs. Throw it in your hiking backpack before you depart. 

6. Phone with GPS. I know...the point is to look up from your phone and get in touch with nature, but keep your phone with you in case of emergency. And your phone's GPS can help you if you get lost. Take a couple of selfies with your pooch, while you're at it.

7. Proper Nutrition. I can't stress this one enough. As I mentioned, Pinnacle Pet Food is a great one to try if you are interested in holistic nutrition for your active pooch. Set your dog up for a successful grand adventure by providing him the proper fuel.

Proper nutrition helps N.A.S.H.A. feel great during our family hikes.

Proper nutrition helps N.A.S.H.A. feel great during our family hikes.

Do you hike with your dog? What outdoor fall adventures do you enjoy together?

Next month we'll be checking out Pinnacle Pet Food in detail and sharing the findings with you, so be sure to check back! 

Connect with Pinnacle on Facebook and Twitter.


tails on trails today: who's guiding whom?

When I began Well Minded, I envisioned it primarily as a pet sitting business, but I didn't want to close myself off. I'm an entrepreneur and an adventurer at heart, so I didn't want to discount the possibility of going into training or grooming, both of which I have come to learn are not my strengths. Although I like to try lots of things, I recognize my weaknesses and try to focus elsewhere. I'm good at caring for animals. I love to hike. It's an activity I took up only after moving to AZ. There are countless trails in Phoenix, and my favorite local spot is South Mountain. I recently decided to combine my love of hiking and my love of animals. I started "Tails on Trails," small-group hikes for dogs. Once a week, I pick up dogs, drive them to the trails, provide secure leashes, water, poop bags, and post-hike pictures to my clients so they can see our adventures.

Though we've had other dogs sometimes join the ranks, today it was just me and my two really regular regulars. They have been to every hike since the start, and we definitely have a multifaceted bond. When I arrive for pick-up, the brown one goes ape-shit. The black one is calm, yet welcoming. Both are SO excited that I'm there, and they know why I'm there. They enjoy the car ride to the trails. When we first hit the dirt, they go, then sniff. Mark. Walk. Trot. Sniff. Sniff. Sniff. Mark. And then I tell them "that's enough," and they seem to understand that though there will be countless animal smells, excrement aromas, and tiny fast-moving reptiles, birds, and small mammals to grasp their attentions and snap their necks in this direction and that, we're there to hike. And hiking means moving. So then about five minutes in, we get into our groove. And then they go poop. And then we get going, for reals.

Enjoying the spring wildflowers.


While they get over all of that, I'm making sure the leash isn't cutting my wrist in the wrong place, my phone (for camera access) is in the most strategic pocket, and that my underwear isn't riding in the wrong spot since we're in it for the long haul. When we hit our stride, and we're all in sync, I feel like something was meant to be. The dogs start to pick up the pace, and so do I. They navigate the trail beautifully, and I pick my footing as if I had instinct for the thing. We do this jog/walk/hike thing that feels good. Just as I notice a nice view, they slow down, as if they recognize something to be seen beyond the dusty trail their noses run along. And they show me details in the path.