Tails from the trail and tips on training your human

What to Pack When Hiking With a Dog

Hiking with a dog - Happy Breath

Hiking with a dog | Having a dog as a companion is one of the best ways to enjoy hiking along different trails, especially if your fur baby has the right amount of energy and endurance.

Hiking with a dog means you also means packing extra gear. Unlike other activities, hiking requires you to bring limited supplies. This is because rugged terrains will only allow you to carry enough essentials with you.

Therefore the real challenge as a dog owner is to figure out what your dog needs the most. It may take many trips before you are finally able to make a perfect list of the hiking gear your dog needs.

Generally speaking, it doesn’t require much to know that both you and your dog require essentials such as food, water, space to sleep, and a collar. However, if you’re wondering what more to include in the hiking gear for dogs, don’t stop reading yet.

Snacks and Food

Food always tops the list no matter where you are going. Moreover, it tastes even better when you’re out and about enjoying nature. While a nutritional meal is a must-have for any hiker, the same rule also applies to your dog.

Don’t hesitate to take a bigger than usual portion of your dog’s food along, as their needs will see a spike, especially if the trail is long and difficult. Also, take their fitness levels into account if you want to determine what the right amount of food for them should be.

Usually, if your pets are playful, they’re likely to expend more energy on the trail, which means taking more food and snacks is essential to keep them charged.

A First-Aid Kit

The next item to make it to the list is a first-aid kit. It’s not only a must-have essential for your pets but also you. Make sure to have an antiseptic for any possible wounds, gauze to provide extra protection and padding around the covered wound, and liquid bandages in case of hurt paws.

Insect Repellent

If you’re expecting your trail location to have biting bugs and mosquitoes, don’t forget to take an insect repellent along. It should be a part of hiking gear for dogs because they are more likely to come across mosquitoes and other biting bugs on the way.

However, be wary of DEET-based products as they’re toxic and can induce severe reactions in dogs and humans. Your best bet is to find an organic repellent and if you’re unable to find one, try dabbing a bit of DEET-based product on your pet at least a few days before you go hiking. This way, you can see if it induces any adverse reactions.

Dog Sweaters

As opposed to a popular misconception, dogs are not better at dealing with harsh conditions than humans. Lower temperatures can be just as uncomfortable for your pets as they are for you. Hence, make sure to have a poncho or sweater for your dog to protect them from harsh weather conditions.

It’s better to carry as much protective gear for yourself and your dog as possible. Don’t risk going without sleeping bags and sweaters, especially if you’re going to a cold spot.

A Collar or Leash

While we do not recommend using a collar or leash to control your dogs, it may be important to carry it on a long trail. As a dog owner, there’s only so much supervision you can have over your dog. Therefore, you must take a leash along to avoid losing your precious hiking buddy. Make sure not to take extendable leashes as they can get entangled on the way.

Hiking Packs

If your dog is well-trained, you can trust them with a small hiking pack of their own. However, do take their measurements before you buy one. Since these packs come with compartments and pockets, you can fill them based on your dog’s needs.

Once you have found the right pack, let your pet wear it in the house for a few days, so they become accustomed to carrying weight while hiking. Moreover, make sure not to overburden them and give them a pack of no more than one-third of their own weight. If you see them struggling, consider taking a few unnecessary things out and match the weight to your pet’s carrying abilities.

ID Tags

No matter how well-trained your dog is, never trust them to be on their own, especially during a hike. Therefore make sure that your hiking gear for dogs is not without ID tags. You can have two different types of tags, regular ones on the collar and microchips implanted under their skin.

Most veterinarians recommend going for microchip implantations, but if you’re not comfortable with the idea, regular ID tags with your contact details on their collar can also help. You can also carry their pictures if you lose your dog.


It’s never too late to invest in dog boots, no matter how silly they look on your dog’s paws. They can protect your buddy’s paws from heat, splinters and rock edges, etc. If your dog is playful, you may want to check a few sizes until you find a tight pair that won’t fall off when they’re running.

In the end, your packing list depends on the journey you’re embarking on. If it’s an extensive one, your hiking gear should include essentials you may need. It’s also good to keep your dog’s needs in mind as they will be exposed to the same conditions as you are.

Make sure to start packing a few days before your journey so you can have enough time to consider every little essential you and your hiking buddy may need. Remember that as a dog owner, taking your buddy along for a hike is the same as taking your child hence, it requires you to have a good sense of responsibility.