Things to Pack When Hiking with your Dog

The sun at their back; the wind in their fur; the fresh mountain breezes on their wet little noses. It’s no wonder why pups love going on woodland hikes with their owners. But before they do, those owners have to adequately prepare for the trek. Here are six essentials you should pack before embarking on a hiking trip with your dog.

  1. A pup-friendly first aid kit. You’re capable of getting cuts, scrapes, and stings over the course of a hike, and so is your furry friend. So either take a puppy-specific first aid kit or pack a few extras for your pet in your own kit. It should include bandages that can fit his little paws, plus Benadryl (given that he can tolerate it) in case he has a reaction to a plant or bug bite. You might also want to take a download a pet first aid app, like this one from the American Red Cross.
  2. A leash. Even if you’re hiking somewhere that allows dogs to run around off-leash, you should still pack one. You never know when you’ll come across a steep ledge or wildlife-packed area where you may want to keep a closer eye on your pup. So bring a leash and a harness. A harness will keep your canine safe without putting too much pressure on his back or neck.
  3. Food and water. Whether you’re going out for a half-day hike or an all-day trek, you should always bring along enough food, treats, and especially water to keep Fido going for the duration. Make sure you bring a collapsible bowl, too, so that your pet can actually lap up the water right along the side of the trail.
  4. Doggy waste bags. Depending on where you’re hiking, the park may ask dog owners to take their pet waste out of the park in bags, or simply dig a shallow hole and bury it. So check in on the guidelines before you bother packing doggy waste bags—you may want to just take a trowel along instead. And make sure you’re keeping a close eye on what your pup is doing so that you don’t accidentally leave a mess behind.
  5. ID tags. When your dog is running around off-leash, there’s always a chance he may scamper off. Make it easy for a park ranger or fellow hiker to return him safely to you by ensuring he’s wearing ID tags. You may also want to have your vet implant a microchip, which goes just beneath the dog’s skin and contains your contact info. Another vet or shelter can access the information if they come across your dog after he runs off. Pack a picture of the pooch, too, so that you can ask other park visitors if they’ve seen him on their hike.
  6. Booties and other canine clothing. Depending on the terrain, your dog may need some protection from the elements. So swaddle his feet in doggy booties to keep those little paws safe from rocks and roots underfoot, and consider a vest or another warm piece of clothing if you’ll be hiking in the cooler months.

7 Things to Pack When Hiking with Dogs [Stuffed Suitcase]

Hiking or Backpacking with Your Dog [REI]

Hiking with Your Dog? Check Out the Canine Ten Essentials [Mountaineers Books]