Tails from the trail and tips on training your human

Must-Have Items in a Hiking Backpack for Dogs

Hiking Backpack for Dogs - Happy Breath

Hiking Backpack for Dogs | Hiking is a challenging activity that requires planning and preparation, especially if you want to make it a fun experience. For people who hike alone, planning might not be as extensive as they’re only responsible for themselves. However, if you have a partner, specifically a canine partner, there should be absolutely no lag in preparation.

Although dogs can be excellent hiking companions, they still need to be trained, so they don’t create a ruckus on the hiking trail or taint your experience. Thus, apart from physical training and stamina build-up, it’s important to take note of some must-have items that should be in a dog backpack.

10 Must-Haves Items in a Dog Backpack

Water, Food & Collapsible Bowl

These items are a no-brainer, but it’s important to reiterate. Try to bring your dog’s food and water with you on the hike. The food could be either canned or cooked, depending on the duration of the hike and weather. This is to make sure you don’t have to light a fire to make food or heat it as it could be dangerous. Moreover, give your dog food in a collapsible bowl so it can fit easily into your dog’s backpack. Along with food, make sure you carry enough water for your dog, so there’s no chance of dehydration.

Dog First-Aid

A high chance of your dog getting injured as hiking is a bit of a risky activity. However, even if the trail you choose is dog-friendly, make sure you have the necessary first aid items if your canine gets hurt. Ideally, it should have gauze, antiseptic, bandages, cold compress, and tweezers. You can buy a first-aid kit with all the above components, or you can make one on your own, depending on what you will need.

Dog Leash

Hiking with dogs may be seen as a threat to other hikers or animals present on the trail. Even though your dog may be trained efficiently, it’s still a good idea to have some control over it so others can feel at ease. This is why a dog leash is a must-have, even on dog-friendly hiking trails. You may take a leash that can be fastened around your pet’s waist. But try not to take an extendable leash as it does not provide immediate control and may cause you trouble.

Cooling Coats

A cooling coat is a great idea if you’re hiking in the summer season. Even though you can stop under shady areas and have frequent water breaks, your dog may feel extremely hot because of its fur. A cooling coat can easily fit in your dog’s backpack and is a fool-proof way to relax your pet if they overheat. All you need is water to dip the cooling coat in so it may provide a soothing effect when your canine wears it.

Fleece Jacket

Just like a cooling coat is necessary for the summer season, a fleece jacket is a must-have item if you’re fond of hiking in the winter season. Even though your dog’s fur coat insulates its body, it’s always a good idea to have some sort of winter clothing. This is especially true when temperatures drop at night, putting your dog at risk for pneumonia.


Even though your dog may be tired during hiking, you should have a fallback plan if they get bored when you plan to rest or pause your hike at nighttime. A good way to divert your canine’s attention is to pack some toys in their hiking backpack. Ensure these toys are safe, so there’s less chance of choking on them.

Poop Bags

Some people avoid dog-friendly hikes because of this particular reason. Leaving your dog’s poop on a hiking trail is against the Leave No Trace ethic. Not only this, it’s not a pretty sight to step onto dog poo while hiking on a scenic trail. Therefore, make sure you carry poop bags or ziplock bags so you can dispose of your pet’s waste without causing anyone any issue. If you want to be more environmentally friendly, look for biodegradable bags you can dispose of easily without causing harm to the environment.

Dog Treats

It’s always a good idea to carry dog treats no matter where you are. It could be a great way to calm down your canine if it gets rowdy. Or you may want to reward them for listening to your commands while hiking. Moreover, this is a lightweight item your pet can easily carry, especially since you don’t have to bring a whole bag of dog treats. A little quantity would do just fine.

Collar or Harness

It’s always a good idea to be prepared for anything during a hiking trip. Your pet may get distracted or curious and might get lost on the hiking trail. To make sure you are prepared for this, make sure your furry friend has a collar or a harness on them. Make sure their collar or harness fits them perfectly, and there’s little chance of it slipping out. Ultimately, these items will help identify your dog in case they get lost.

Reflective Light

You may install a reflective light on your dog’s hiking backpack or their collar/harness so your pet can see clearly, especially at night. This also acts as an alert for other hikers and animals so they know of your pet’s presence on the hiking trail.

The Bottom Line

Hiking is a great way to relieve stress. It’s a chance to forget all your worries by absorbing the sights and sounds of nature while having your best friend by your side. However, make sure you and your best friend are strapped with all the necessary items that both of you may need on the hiking trail. But most importantly, make sure you check off everything you need for a hiking backpack for dogs.