Whenever we head into the wilderness, we want to make sure that we are leaving it better than we found it. That includes making sure that our dog is following the same principles surrounding ‘leave no trace.’ Our goal is to make sure Chase is leaving nothing but paw prints on the trail itself.
Here’s what we’ve done to ensure that Chase’s footprint is as small as possible:
Before We Go:
Research the area you are heading. You want to make sure pets are allowed in general & to be aware of leash laws. Some places will be more sensitive to travel than others & will need to be careful that even unknowingly, you could be causing harm.
Pack appropriately for your pet. Include leash, water, dog bags, dog boots, trash bag, & anything else your pet needs.
When You Are There:
Trail etiquette is super important to talk about- whether biking, off-roading, hiking.
Keep your pet on trail. They are far less likely to cause harm to the ecosystem when they aren’t stepping on plants/chasing the wildlife.
Be respectful of other people & their animals. If you pet is not trained well enough to be off-leash, keep them on-leash. Your pup will be equally appreciative of their time outside & you’ll be happier when everyone returns safely.
Pick up after your pet. Their remains should be bagged & disposed of properly. This means that the remains should not be thrown in pit toilets at the trailhead- dispose of it responsibly.
We use biodegradable bags made from plant starch which can be purchased in large quantities from T.J. Maxx, Amazon, etc. (I personally like the owns made with corn as they seem to stay together and they can be composted at certain parks/facilities.)
Travel with greener materials. We always pack a collapsable bowl with us so we don’t have to purchase anything new on the road. Another tip that we are working on is to buy from more sustainable companies in the first place. From their leash, dog bowls, toys, balls, etc. there is a higher likelihood that something gets left in the woods & we want to make sure that it’s as green as possible if we do forget something.
I would double check an area before you leave it though so hopefully nothing does get left behind!
Re-use and reduce uses of plastics. Instead of packing dog treats & food every time, try to re-pack one bag of treats in reusable bags instead of single use plastics.
After Your Trip:
If you are planning to enter another park or area, wipe off your dog. They may have carried dirt, bacteria, plants, etc. that is native to a certain area. The last thing you want to do is carry something detrimental to a new area.
We keep a towel and wipes in the car to wipe off Chase’s feet & prevent the introduction of anything to a new area.