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A Tail-Wagging Guide to Canine-Friendly Adventures

We’ve partnered with Forthglade Natural Pet Food to offer you advice on exploring the outdoors with your dog. It’s not just a physical activity; it's a journey that strengthens the bond and as the seasons shift, it's important to adapt your approach to keep adventures safe and enjoyable. To help you get out there whatever the weather, Forthglade and Cotswold Outdoor kit specialist Lily Fearne, have compiled a guide to make your hikes, walks, and explorations memorable, even during the winter chill. 

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Preparing For Hiking Adventures With Your Dog

Prepare for every walking adventure by taking into account your dog's age and fitness level. Just like humans, dogs need gradual fitness sessions to build endurance. Begin with shorter walks and slowly increase both length and difficulty, particularly in colder months when the terrain is wet and muddy. 


Venturing into new areas with your pup is an enjoyable experience, but it's crucial to inform someone of your whereabouts and expected return time. Strategically plan routes that align with your dog's behavior, allowing them to walk calmly off-lead in woodland areas or keeping them on-lead, especially in places with wildlife. If uncertain about how your dog will respond to different stimuli, observe them during shorter walking stints. Explore a wooded area one day and tackle steeper terrain another day. These brief walks will show you how they react to livestock, more demanding terrain, and better prepare you for longer hikes.

Feeding Breaks For Your Dog

For day-long hikes, proper packing is essential. Your backpack should include food and water for both you and your dog. Opt for a water bottle with a lid that doubles as a bowl to save space and choose a route with convenient water refill points to avoid carrying excess weight.


Factor in feeding breaks during the hike. Avoid strenuous activity on a full stomach, allowing at least 30 minutes after a meal before setting off again. Or, give smaller portions as rewards throughout the journey as little treat breaks without overindulging!


We recommend feeding your dog a natural, nutritiously complete diet, free from junk or fillers, so you’re reassured their food is giving them the energy and nutrition they need for hiking. Keep in mind that dogs can't sustain activity levels as long as humans. They need double the amount of sleep. Plan a mid-hike snooze session during day-long adventures while you relax and enjoy the scenery.

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Finding the right footwear for dog walking can be surprisingly challenging. While many stick to footpaths and woodland, the constant exposure to wet, grassy fields and the need for durability make shoe selection crucial. Although walking shoes are suitable for less challenging terrain, the wear and tear from frequent use and varying weather conditions favour the longevity of boots, offering better foot protection and dryness.


The ideal fit depends on personal priorities – whether it's durability, comfort, waterproofness, or value for money. For those prioritising waterproofness in shorter walks, wellies are a top choice. If durability is key, opting for hiking boots is recommended. Boots generally provide better value in the long run, proper ankle support and outlasting the multiple pairs of shoes an average dog walker might go through. A middle-ground option is the 'mid' boot, offering increased ankle support and protection without sacrificing too much durability.


If you'd like expert advice from dog walkers and nature entusiasts like you, book an Footwear Fitting appointment. Our in-store boot fitters will help you find the right pair for your unique feet.

Sturdy trousers are a must-have! They endure the wear and tear of walking—scrambling over stiles, navigating brambles, or even taking a tumble in the mud. They also stand up to the inevitable scrapes from playful interactions with your furry friend. Lightweight fabrics might snag, tear, or pill easily, which is why durable walking trousers are the better choice.


Clothes that are easy to wash and dry become essential, especially when your dog loves to greet you covered in mud. Insulated clothing, like down jackets, aren't something you'd want to launder frequently and they need delicate care in the tumble dryer, making them less practical. Plus, they usually feature delicate outer fabrics that an excitable dog could easily tear.


Opting for 3-in-1 jackets gives you excellent versatility across seasons. The waterproof outer layer is handy in any weather, while the fleece or insulated inner layer adds warmth on cold, wet winter days or stands alone in milder weather. These jackets offer a better solution as the outer waterproof layer is easier to clean and shields against accidental dog scratches. Additionally, synthetic-filled insulation is more practical than down—it's easier to wash, dries faster, and doesn't demand a tumble dryer.


If you'd like expert advice from dog walkers and nature entusiasts like you, book an Adventure Kit List appointment. Our in-store kit specialists will guide you through our full range of cloting options tailored to your outdoor needs. 

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Waste Management Matters!

It's so much nicer to hike without encountering dog waste on the trails! Plus, dog poo can cause serious issues for grazing livestock. So, remember to pack dog poo bags to keep our environment pristine for your fellow hikers. If there's no bin, double-bag and secure to your backpack until you find one. 

Enjoying the Moment

Beyond practicalities, hiking introduces you and your dog to incredible new experiences. Allow your dog to enjoy the surroundings and scents and use the opportunity to disconnect from daily stresses. Let them guide you into the present moment, appreciating nature's unique sights, smells, and sounds.

Adventure With Young Pups

For puppy owners, create positive early experiences by balancing fun and sleep. Even though puppies always seem full of energy - just like young children, they need plenty of rest to allow for healthy growth and happiness. Pack familiar items for staycations to provide comfort in new environments. Seek out zen spaces to engage fully with nature. And visit National Trust sites under the 'Dogs Welcome Project' in partnership with Forthglade for a dog-friendly experience. 


Adventurous Hikes for Every Season

Explore these six favourite hikes, each offering a unique experience for you and your dog.

1. Morte Point Walk, South West Coast Path

A 4.6-mile coastal hike with stunning cliffs, heathland, and the possibility of spotting seals or dolphins.

2. Northumberland's Natural Beauty

Discover the Northumberland Coast with its breathtaking beaches, iconic castles, and the majestic High Force waterfall.

3. The Lovely Lakes

The Lake District offers picturesque walks, with the Rawnsley Trail and Dodd Wood providing warm-up strolls and challenging ascents.

4. Lorna Doone Valley, Devon

A picturesque walk through the countryside, moorland, and rivers offers a perfect adventure for all.

5. Roseberry Topping, North Yorkshire Moors National Park

A photographer's paradise with woodland and greenery, providing energetic dogs with a fantastic climb.

6. Alderley Edge Woodland Walk, Cheshire

A five-mile walk with dramatic sandstone escarpments, waterfalls, and archaeological significance.



Discover more walking inspiration with our UK Winter Walks blog. 

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There's nothing like exploring nature with your dog. They're inquisitive and encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and explore new places. It's a rewarding experience that requires thoughtful preparation – understanding what your dog will need under different circumstances.


Whether hiking through scenic landscapes in the pouring rain or enjoying a frosty morning stroll through your local park, these tips can keep you safe and happy in the great outdoors. 


If you’re looking for more advice on adventures with your dog, head over to Forthglade’s Canine Community.  


If you need more information or kit advice to help you venture further, drop by your nearest Cotswold Outdoor store or book an appointment for expert advice on quality outdoor clothing, footwear and accessories. Our in-store specialists are here to share their outdoor stories and help you make the right choice.

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