20 Must-have Items for Dogs on Hikes
There is a difference between taking your dog on a neighborhood walk that might last an hour, versus driving to a trailhead where you are far from lots of conveniences.
For the purposes of this list, I’m talking about what to take when on a hike in the outdoors where you might (hopefully) see wildlife, may or may not see other dogs/humans and really need to be self-sufficient.
#1 Food. #2 Water
When going on a hike, even if it won’t be setting records, in other words it might be modest in your mind, some amount of nutritional resources, aka food, is good to have for you and your pup/s. You can always carry out whatever food that is not used, but better to have then not. Additionally, with calories, there is always the need for water for all of you. This might mean throwing in an extra Nalgene for your furry friend or two if it is an overnight camping outing. Granted, it is possible you’ll have some stream access which Is ideal, but it is just as likely you’ll need to bring what you need.
#3 Travel Bowl
For food, are you thinking dry kibble, raw food or treats for your pup? I assume you have your own human treats planned. Definitely, don’t go on a hike with lots of yumminess for your pals and nothing for yourself. Lame. If you are happy, they are happy.
If you are going to be out for a night or two, you might want to pack up the kibble or raw food in a Ziplock or a Ruffwear food bag. Both work and are convenient. Do you have a travel bowl for serving this awesome meal? Or are you going to serve it out of a Tupperware sort of situation? There are a ton of great dog travel bowls on the market and some that are collapsible too.
#4 Collar, #5 Leash, #6 Harness
Now that you know you aren’t going to starve to death, which doesn’t sound fun, do you have a leash? Some super organized people even bring a second leash just in case. I’m not that good. But, it is safe to say, the collar and leash are the baseline. Harnesses are very nice for hiking, especially when some assistance is needed for rock scrambling or creek crossings. Tons of choices too.
#7 First Aid Kit
Before you begin the hike is the time to think about possible situations that can arise in the outdoors to get yourself prepared. Do you have a first aid kit? Are you going to buy an existing one or make one yourself? This is your insurance policy. What sort of awesome supplies do you want available if you have a porcupine incident, cactus needles or a bloody cut? Stuff happens. Don’t go out thinking nothing would ever happen to me. Take tweezers, vet wrap, absorbent material, gauze, tape, scissors, barber comb for cactus, tick remover, styptic powder and super glue.
Building a custom first aid kit is awesome, but if you don’t have the time or interest, it is also possible to buy a first aid kit that is specific to dogs and humans. One nice feature to buying a dog specific kit is they often come with directions on how to deal with common ailments. Of course MyMedic.is a great starting point. (My husband is addicted to these, so I am speaking from experience, but they don’t always have a dog specific kit in stock).
#8 Immunization Records
In your first aid kit, put a copy of your pup’s shot records. If an emergency occurs, it is possible you’ll see a vet other than your normal one and why not be prepared? Nothing like needing to jog your memory of shots your dog has received when you're stressed out to add to your stress. Avoid this.
Since you are amazing and want to be prepared, have you considered what you would need to transport your dog, such as a sling, in a real emergency? There are a handful of companies that make emergency rescue harnesses, such as Mountain Dogware or Fido Pro Airlift. Now you are uber prepared and should be feeling pretty.
#10 Bear Spray
Given that we are discussing things that might go wrong, will you pack bear spray or wear bear bells? Why not be the cool person who is bear savvy? Bears happen. Bears and dogs are not good together. End of story. Be prepared.
#11 Orange Vest
Before it gets dark, consider an orange vest for your pooch. Wherever you find a trail, it is possible hunting activities are not far away because both happen in the wilderness. As a result, let everyone see your four-legged friend from miles away. There is no need for any hunter to think your dog is a deer.
Ah, it is going to get dark whether you are outside at night or not, so why not take what you need in case you are outside when it happens? Life is A LOT easier with a headlamp when it is dark. Especially if you are needing to work on your dog, yourself, your dinner or whatever, get your hands free. If you don’t own a headlamp, don’t plan on buying one, then take a flashlight that fits in your mouth.
#13 Light Up Collar
When it gets dark outside, it is very nice to have a light up collar. Especially, when you are in a new place, why not have one less thing to worry about. You can see your floating collar and know all is right in the world because you know where your pal is all the time. You might end up using this on shorter walks too, because they are handy.
#14 Poop Bags, #15 PooVault
What is the likelihood that your dog will poop? Pretty good. Take poop bags. More importantly, take something like the PooVault or Number Two Bag to carry the bags so you don’t have to smell them the whole time. Hand sanitizer can be nice - - they make tiny ones that are easy to take on hikes.
#16 Sand Free Mat
Let’s say you decide to spend some of the day in one spot, have you ever used a sand free camping mat? After all of you and your dogs walk all over it all day, when you are done, you shake it and it is pretty clean. They work and makes all outings so much easier when half the dust and dirt stays behind. Check it out. CGear Sands Free is one such company.
#17 Ruffwear’s hitch system
What if you are able to hike to a place, where you might park the dogs while you dip in a hot spring, build a fire or need some time. This can be accomplished with Ruffwear’s hitch system, which hooks up the dogs, but allows them some movement. It is sort of a babysitter at a campsite.
#18 Camping Towel
This awesome adventure might involve streams and lakes, making your buddy a bit wet, which means take a lightweight camping towel. If over the course of the hike your pal doesn’t dry completely, you can speed up the process with the towel. Nice for everyone.
#19 Chuckit, #20 Chew Toy
Even though you might have used up most of your energy, is it possible that your dog still has more to burn? If so, take the Chuckit. Take a camping chair, something to drink, the Chuckit with balls, then keep burning those dog calories. All of us know a dog that does ten times what their owner does. Or, would a chew toy be the perfect campsite activity?
This list was designed to focus on what you should take to make sure your dog has a great hike. By no means does this mean you shouldn’t have an equally awesome list for all the things a human should take.