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Dogs and Trails

Hiking with your Dog
Leave No Trace principles also apply to your four-legged hiking friend. On day hikes its best to pack out poop bags. Remember, be courteous to your fellow trail users, and don’t leave filled bags on the trail, or adjacent to waste disposal units at trailheads or in the parking lot. You can use the same principles outlined below to create a Dog Waste ‘go bag’ that will eliminate odours and ensure that you can safely dispose of dog waste when you return home."
Use biodegradable dog waste bags. Put these, along with hand sanitizer in a clean Ziplock bag. Always pack more bags that you think your dog will need, you never know exactly how many times, or how big, they will go. Extra baggies are handy if a bag rips, or if you encounter other garbage on the trail that you want to pack out. Running out of dog bags is not an excuse to leave your dogs waste on or near the trail! To the best of your ability, know your dog, and know their go. My dog is huge: 95 lbs. On a 45-minute walk at home, she will ‘go’ at least 3 or 4 times if she’s been home all day. On the trail, she will likely double that because the car ride combined with both drinking water and exercise stimulates her bladder and bowels. This means, I usually pack two rolls of biodegradable dog waste bags for a day hike. While it can be tempting to pack your dog’s waste bag in their Dog Pack, avoid the temptation! Dogs roll … learn from my mistake and put it in your own pack.
Enforcing the 60-meter rule for urination breaks isn’t practical for dogs unless yours will go on command. However, you should be prepared to interrupt things and move away if your dog begins to pee on or next to the trail or a water source. This is good trail etiquette and reduces congestion.
Speaking of trail etiquette, ensure that you maintain control of your dog at all times. Having your dog on a leash isn’t enough. This is especially important given the physical distancing requirements of COVID-19 and has implications for human-bear interactions.
If your dog is off-leash and doesn’t respond to recall well, that adds another potential stressor to encountering other ‘bubbles’ on the trail. Instead, leash your pet, and step off the trail to yield the right of way to hikers, horses and bikes. You also need to be able to keep your dog calm as other people and pooches pass by.
Recognizing that it isn’t always practical to pack out your dog’s poops, especially once trails re-open for multiday use, remember that humans and canines have the same Leave No Trace rules for pooping: burying your pet waste in a 6- to 8-inch cathole at least 60 meters from trails, camps and water sources to avoid cross-contamination and remove animal attractants from areas of high human use.
How to Carry & Store Hygiene Items
Disposable Ziplock bags are the best option for waste bags, as they allow you to carry out tampons and soiled toilet paper / wipes / towelettes / clothing. They also work well at controlling odours. If you are worried about odours, consider placing either a dry teabag or some used dried out coffee grounds in each waste bag. You can also put some baking soda in each bag. In preparing your waste bags, line each quart Ziplock waste bag with aluminum foil so that the contents remain private and are easily distinguished for later disposal. You may also wish to reinforce the bag with duct tape, especially if on a multi-day trip when trails and parks open for this type of use. In which case, forgo the aluminum foil.

As Park’s visitor centers and comfort stations are closed across the majority of outdoor spaces, it is essential to pack more personal hygiene items than you foresee needing. You never want to find yourself in a position where you are trying to improvise in the bush!
Read the full article.
Thanks to the Voyageur Trail Association, Kelsey Johansen and hte Leave No Trace organization for content elements of this article.