Check before you go
On many wilderness walks in New Zealand, wildlife is rightfully given priority over pets, so it is imperative that any ‘no dogs’ rules are followed strictly. It’s also important to check if there have been any poison drops or trapping done on your route. Dogs can get into trouble if they get their noses in the wrong places, so it’s best to avoid these spots.
Have a look at the Department of Conservation’s walking and tramping page - and click on the checkbox ‘dogs allowed’ to find the most suitable trails around you. A closer look at your chosen trail will show any alerts in the area.
There are also several websites and apps that allow you to check if it's kosher for Coco to come along.
And the dog came too is a dedicated website with lists of dog friendly hikes around the country. It also breaks down distances and terrain so you can check whether a walk is suitable for your mutt.
Join the Hiking with Dogs Facebook group for up-to-the-minute insider tips and information from those who have gone before you.
Plan my walk is an app with information about distances, difficulty levels and dog friendliness of walks across the country.
Alltrails also includes a dog friendly filter and allows you to download maps and check distances and peer reviews.
As well as checking whether a trail is dog friendly, you should also remember to check if it is suitable for your dog, in terms of steepness and variability of terrain. Start with shorter trails until you are sure of their level of fitness and strength.
What to pack for your pooch
Any long walk, whether it’s overnight or just a day hike, should start with car safety. How far will you be driving and do you have what you need to keep Samson safe in the back seat? A good quality harness will allow a comfortable ride and space for a snooze enroute, while preventing injuries if you have to stop suddenly. When hiking with your pal, it’s also worth considering the following:
There are plenty of lightweight, flexible water bowls on the market, or perhaps take a collapsible silicone one to save on space. Depending on the destination, you’ll need to consider water sources. Either take water with you or pack a wide-necked water bottle for collecting from streams and rivers.
Seasoned hikers will know that every gram makes a difference on longer walks so dog food has to be lightweight. Fortunately, freeze-dried raw meat is both nutrient-dense AND light. Topflite Hound Chicken Chips and Beef Chips are perfect – because the minced raw meat is freeze-dried, they can be fed as is or rehydrated for a bulkier feed.
Having some quality treats close to hand is a good way to keep your pal near and dear on the trail too – freeze-dried treats have all the water content removed so they won’t add extra weight.
In addition to the harness or collar and lead, you might like to consider taking a longer rope too. If your dog is likely to wander in the evening, you may want to tie them up to a tree or post. A Pet First Aid kit to treat any injuries or sudden illnesses is also useful when treading unfamiliar ground.
A waterproof coat can be handy for New Zealand’s unpredictable weather and for winter hiking or snowshoeing, some dogs will benefit from wearing boots. Not only do they protect from the cold but paw pads can be more delicate in winter due to spending less time outdoors.
Pack an extra quick-dry towel to dry them off and to clean dirty paws before they join you in the tent or hut. While taking a dog bed is probably out of the question, taking a familiar lightweight blanket and laying it in a corner of the hut or tent will give your dog a safe space of their own.
Out and about with your hound? We’d love to see pics! Tag us over on Instagram @topflitehound
Try keeping a few Hound Snacks in your bag or pocket to keep your pooch energised!