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Hiking with your dog: things to bring along

Updated on July 9, 2009

If you are planning to go camping or hiking in the near future, don't look for a boarding kennel for your canine friend. Rather, why not be prepared and take Rover along? After all, dogs were born for walking in the nature, accompanying humans from the long gone Ice Age era, when humans and dogs first met.

Most dogs make great hiking companions, especially those high energy dogs that were bred to work or hunt. A hiking or camping trip therefore would be great opportunity for your dog to exercise, enjoy fresh air in company with his favorite companion. If a dog could chose he or she would certainly volunteer to come along rather than being left alone in the unfamiliar territory of a kennel.

Nowadays, there are also many pet friendly hotels if you should need to stop for one or more nights for somewhere comfy to rest. Best Western is a ubiquitous chain well known for their pet friendly policies. Most will allow pets in the room for an additional fee.

Now that you have decided to bring your best frined along, what will he need? The great thing is that there are a lot of hiking accessories and hiking gear made just for dogs. Following are some of the essentials, and not so essential accessories for hiking dogs.

-Dog Backpacks

Yes, dogs can carry back packs as well. Let your dog help you out and carry some of your bottles of water or his own accessories. Dogs will be happy to help out and be put to work. It is important to follow instructions accordingly and not go over the allotted weight. In most cases, you dog should not be loaded more than 1/4 of his body weight.

A dog backpack comes in handy as well after the hiking trip. Indeed,when well packed, it can be used to drain a bit more of that excess pent up energy. Some owners claim that with a back pack thier dog's walks may be shortened from 45 minutes to half hour.

-First Aid Kit

Just as you have your own first aid kit, your pooch should have its own. You never know what could happen and you do not want to be unprepared should an emergency arise. There are various dog first aid kits carrying all the essentials already.

-Dog boots

Some dogs have sensitive paw pads that easily get consumed when walking for a long time on hard surfaces. Dog boots may help prevent this especially when walking on rocky trails with sharp rocks.

-Dog Food/treats

Of course, your dog will need fuel in order to keep up. It is a good idea to bring a bit more food than usual because your dog will be burning much more calories than laying around the sofa all day. Treats are helpful to give an energy boost when your dog starts looking tired.


While your dog may mostly walk off leash when hiking, keep your dog's collar on and bring a leash. You never know, a situation may arise where you want to keep your dog close by. Also consider that some parks and trails require you to keep your dog on leash.

-Water/water bowl

In the summer most rivers may be dry and sources of water may be scarce.A collapsable water bowl may work great. Make sure you bring enough drinking water for you and your companion. Also consider that some sources of water may contain poisonous algae that may be even potentially lethal. Ensure your dog stays away from stagnant water and sources of water that have algae in them.

Lixit Hand Held Foldable Travel Hiking Outdoor Watering Bottle Bowl for Dogs (Pack of 1, Granite)
Lixit Hand Held Foldable Travel Hiking Outdoor Watering Bottle Bowl for Dogs (Pack of 1, Granite)
Great for watering your dog on hikes, camping, traveling in the car and more. No squeezing is required, simply unplug the bottle and the bowl fills. Water can be returned to bottle after pet drinks for conservation or emptied. Insert ice cubes for hot days to keep water cool. Can be carried on belt or waistband while walking or hiking.

Tips before the trip

  • It is always a good idea to have your dog checked up by your vet before hiking, just as you would inspect a car before a long trip
  • Make sure your dog is well conditioned to exercise before the hiking trip. You do not want your dog to have trouble keeping up with you or getting sore muscles.
  • Invest in topical products to prevent fleas and ticks on your dog. Frontline is great for this. Advantix may repel mosquitoes as well, but should not be applied in dogs that share the home with cats.
  • Make sure your dog wears ID tags all the time, or better have your dog microchipped. Each year countless animals are lost in parks and on trails and ID tags can make the difference between a happy reunion or a pet dropped off at the shelter and never claimed.

Hiking with your dog can turn out to be a great adventure that will intensify your bond. On your next hiking/camping trip therefore, consider bringing Fido along, you will both get the enjoy together the great outdoors.

Great dog hiking gear for the great outdoors

Mountainsmith Dog Pack, Heritage Red, Medium
Mountainsmith Dog Pack, Heritage Red, Medium
Keep everything stowed for an all-day outing or extended trip to town in these streamlined packs. Small pack fits dogs 20-40 pounds (example breeds include: Cocker Spaniel, Terriers). Medium pack fits dogs 40-80 pounds (example breeds include: Golden and Labrador Retrievers. Large pack fits dogs 80 pounds and over (example breeds include: St. Bernard and Great Pyrenees).

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