Dakota Eckenroth knows that owners love to let dogs off-leash, and she also knows how challenging it is to maintain the connection with their pets with all the additional stimuli in an outdoor environment. “It’s a humbling experience to lose to a tree or bush,” she says. That’s why she and the rest of the Prairie Dog Pet Mercantile-team bring nutritious canine snacks on hikes. Treats entice dogs to pay attention to their humans and provide calories and nourishment in the midst physical activity.

Eckenroth recommends Ziwi Peak dog food out of New Zealand as a good treat for active dogs. It’s too expensive for most people to feed their pets as a regular meal, but it can serve as a complete and balanced snack made from 90% organ meat. Steve’s Real Food is a made-in-the-Pacific-Northwest option. This company’s freeze dried raw foods are lightweight and nutrient dense, and they don’t attract the same attention from bees and wasps as wet food.

Nutrition is an extra-important consideration when dogs are out with you for high mileage or long hours. Eckenroth suggests adding distance to your hikes or trail runs at small increments. “If you go too far with a growing puppy or senior, it can make for a difficult for recovery,” she says. To aid in recovery, she recommends Glacier Peaks Holistics offers Inflapotion, a 100 percent organic herbal remedy that relieves aches, pains, and inflammation.

For people who want to get better at hiking with their four-legged friends, Prairie Dog Pet Mercantile’s Amy Barker offers classes that teach owners and dogs better trail manners so they can enjoy their time together and be safer in the great outdoors. The class is hosted at four different trails over four weeks. Call 509-443-9663 for more information.  //