Hiking with dogs requires a little more than a leash and a water bottle. When I first started hiking with my dog, Rory, I was quite unprepared. I carried a water bottle and a leash not knowing that there was much more to keeping us both safe on the trail.
Over the last few months, I’ve collected gear that keeps both humans and dogs safe on the trail. It’s made a world of difference in the way we hike!
If you’re planning on taking your pup on a hike any time soon, be sure you have everything you need before heading out the door. Here's the gear I use when hiking with my dog:
Collar with a tag
Time and time again, I have seen many dogs on the trail without tags. Be sure your dog has a collar with a name tag and phone number in case something goes awry.
Rory has a special collar and tag made just for hiking. She wears a clip on collar with a tag that states my address, phone number, and her microchip information. It also has a reflective strip in case she gets lost in the dark. My favorite collar for hiking is the K9 Explorer collar!
Harnesses are great for dogs that pull on a leash. It’s not a “true” fix per say, but it’s a great way to have a handle on your dog at all times when you’re on the trail.
I love the Ruffwear Web Master Harness because it’s sturdy, water resistant, and it came with saddle bags. We use the saddlebags on overnight trips when I need a little extra packing room for snacks and treats. There is also a handle on the top of the harness to help your dog maneuver climbs, too!
If you’re anything like me, you’re a crazy dog person. I take tons of photos of Rory when we hike, so I always have treats on hand to keep her interested and looking at the camera. I also use the treat pouch to work on trail recall training when Rory tends to get a little too far in front of me during off-leash hikes.
Water Bowl or Cup
Water bowls are a must. Using your camel pack or bringing a separate water bottle can be a pain. We use our small PupCup that attaches to the bottom of a regular sized Nalgene water bottle for stops along the way. The cup itself is lightweight and bendable so it fits just about anywhere in your pack.
Regardless of how well your dog behaves on a leash, it’s important to keep one on hand when you’re outdoors. You never know when you will meet wildlife or another unfriendly dog on the trail. There are so many leashes to choose from, but for dogs that don’t pull I recommend a waist leash as it allows you to have your hands free most of the time. I use the Paw Lifestyles waist leash because it allows me to have a close grip or far grip depending on what kind of situation we’re in. It’s also a great way to help you climb up steep hills with a dog pulling you up! ;)
One of the most important things I carry on every hike are poop bags. If you don’t pick up your pet’s poop, you are threatening native wildlife and creating waste that wouldn’t necessarily be there in natural circumstances.
There are many reasonably priced dog poop bags, but if you’re looking to make a better impact in your local environment try using biodegradable poop bags instead of regular plastic bags. We love our biodegradable bags because it makes it easy to pick up and keeps the smell at bay as ours are made out of vegetable casings. You can find the poop bags we use on bioDOGradable’s website, but you can also find other brands at your local pet store.
First Aid Kit
When hiking, you never know when injury might strike. I carry a first aid kit that works for both me and Rory. It has gauze, cleaning supplies, tweezers, bandaids, and more, which comes in handy when injuries occur. I’ve also added a fine toothed comb to the kit for pulling out the trickier cacti out there like cholla when Rory accidentally gets some stuck in her paw. We bought our first aid kit from REI in the dog section of the store.
We haven’t purchased our first pair of dog booties, but they are on the list as Summer gets closer. Although we will be hiking earlier in the morning, the heat can damage your pup’s paws easily. Buying your dog a pair of boots during extreme weather, hot or cold, is a great idea to prevent injury. Dog booties will be our next purchase without a doubt, but it doesn’t keep extreme heat out. Please be conscious of the ground temperature before taking your pup out on hot days!
As with any gear, dog hiking gear can get pricey but there are tons of options to explore. Do your research to make sure what you buy will be best for you and your pup.
Next time you hit the trail with your pupper pal, gear up and have a good time!