Ruffin’ It: Top 12 Items to Pack for Hiking with Your Dog

Hiking Gear For Dogs

Are you willing to go on a hike with your pet? Then you should consider the unique equipment you’ll require for a dog-friendly hike. If you were a seasoned hiker, you wouldn’t even think about setting out on the trail without your safety and comfort in mind. Check out our list of the items to pack when hiking with your dog.

Check out the recommendations in Hiking with Dogs: Becoming a Wilderness-Wise Dog Owner by Linda B. Mullally and Canine Field Medicine: First Aid for Your Active Dog by Sid Gustafson, DVM before heading out on the trail with your dog. These books provide details on a wide range of pertinent subjects, such as selecting a dog for the trail, bonding, obedience, training your dog, necessary equipment, wildlife conflicts, medical emergencies, trail etiquette, accident prevention, dog CPR, and more. Even an experienced dog owner can learn something from these publications. The following gear list for hiking with your dog was modified slightly from Linda Mullally’s book’s chapter on Day Hike Gear, and it is reprinted here with permission from FalconGuides.

Gear For Hiking With A Dog

dog Boots

Dog Boots

Paw protection is particularly crucial when you first take your dog hiking. Boots can shield your dog’s paws from inclement weather, road salt, and scorching asphalt. When taking your dog outside during extreme weather, boots are practically necessary.

Dog Backpack

Dog Backpack

If you’re taking your dog on a hike or somewhere else where you’d like them to carry some of their own gear (in addition to possibly some of your own), a dog backpack can be a great idea. Giving your dog a job or a sense of purpose can also improve their mood.

Collapsible bowl

Collapsible bowl

Giving your dog food and water will be simple with the help of a foldable bowl. These compact nylon bowls frequently have a loop so you can attach it to your pack or your dog’s leash. This makes it simple to use the bowl without having to rummage through your other belongings.

Reflective Items

Reflective Items

If you want to keep your dog safe at nighttime, consider purchasing reflective clothing and accessories or a small light.


Water for Dogs when Hiking

Per hour of hiking, each dog should have 8 ounces of water with them. Avoid letting your dog drink from puddles and ponds because they may contain bacteria and parasites.

Bringing water on hikes is crucial when Hiking With Dogs In Hot Weather


Food When Hiking With A Dog

To keep your dog’s energy level high, always have healthy snacks on hand and offer them frequently. In order to avoid the discomfort of exercising on an empty stomach, it is preferable to feed your dog smaller amounts more frequently.

Plastic bags

Plastic bags

You can deal with your dog’s waste effectively if you have these items. Plastic bags can be used to carry the trash out with you, and you can use a carabiner to fasten them to the outside of your pack rather than stowing them inside. Using a small plastic spade to bury your dog’s waste is an alternative strategy.

Dog first aid kit

Dog first aid kit

Bring along some basic medical supplies, either in your personal first aid kit or a dog first aid kit, to help you handle any injuries your dog may sustain while out on the trail. You should bring supplies like hydrogen peroxide to treat cuts, rounded-tipped scissors to trim hair around wounds, bandages and gauze pads, tweezers to remove foreign objects from wounds, and a small sock or bootie to cover a hurt foot.

Identification tag

Identification tag and/or microchip

A microchip is a great way to guarantee that you will be reunited with your dog if she ever gets lost. Make sure to register the microchip with an online registration service, like the one run by the American Kennel Club. Additionally, it is helpful to have an identification tag with your dog’s name and your phone number engraved so that anyone who finds your dog can read it without the need for a specialized microchip scanner.

Warmies In Layers

Warmies In Layers

Make sure your dogs have access to warm clothing if you plan to go hiking or backpacking in cold climates. You must think in layers, just like you would dress. I concentrate on three things for my dogs. a base layer made of lightweight fleece, a layer of insulating down, and a shell layer that is weatherproof. They can stay warm and cozy wherever the trails take us with the help of these three options.


Dog Leash

The leash needs to be tough enough to withstand the trail’s challenges. Both leather and nylon are effective. Use an expandable leash to give your dog more mobility, but make sure to keep it short enough to maintain good control.

A harness or a collar

A harness or a collar

A collar or harness will aid in identifying your dog from distance. Make sure the collar or harness is just loose enough to allow you to slide your finger underneath it. We advise using a harness rather than a collar. The reason is that it is safer and more comfortable for your dog.

Dog hiking accessories for weather and terrain

The items in one’s backpack are frequently determined by the trip’s specifics, and dogs’ backpacks are no exception. Depending on where you’re going, take into consideration the following hiking gear for dogs:

Dog snow gear

If you’re prepared for a snowy hike, check to see if your dog is as well. You should bring a cold-weather jacket with you to keep him warm, especially if he is not a breed that is adapted to cold climates. You can choose a rain jacket if it is predicted to rain as well! If your dog doesn’t mind wearing winter boots, these are a great investment.

Dog snow gear

For warmer adventures with your dog

As important as keeping paws safe from the cold is keeping them from the heat. Your dog will benefit greatly from a pair of comfortable shoes. It’s also a good idea to apply some paw balm if your dog doesn’t like wearing shoes. Dog sunscreen will be essential for shielding noses and ears from the sun. Keep your best friend well-hydrated during the hot weather, especially on longer and more strenuous hikes.

Overnight trips with your dog

Your dog may feel more secure if you bring along a favorite toy or blanket from home if you plan to spend the night in the wilderness. Numerous outdoor retailers sell dog sleeping bags, though you are best placed to judge your dog’s sleeping preferences. Planning a hike with your furry friend may seem like a lot of work at first, but it will guarantee a fun experience for you both. Knowing that you have everything you require will allow you to unwind and savor every moment. A happy journey!

How to go hiking with your dog

  • Check the trail or park website for dog restrictions. Dogs are not allowed in many national and state parks due to strict regulations. While some only permit dogs on paved roads, in campsites, or in parking lots, others have designated dog-friendly trails. Even if your dog is trained, the majority of dog-friendly trails have a six-foot leash requirement, so don’t show up without one or with a long line.
  • Check the weather and prepare accordingly. Plan to bring dog boots if the temperature will be above 85 degrees Fahrenheit. In the summer, almost any surface, including dirt, can cause your dog’s paws to burn because the ground gets much hotter than the surrounding air. Additionally, you should bring enough water for both you and your dog to stay hydrated, as well as sunscreen for both of you if you plan to spend time in the sun. Dogs can also develop sunburns!
  • Bring plenty of water, treats, and food if you’ll be out for a long time. This one should go without saying, but make sure to pack plenty of dog treats, food, and water to keep your hiking companion hydrated throughout the entire hike.
  • Get your furry friend accustomed to their hiking gear for dogs ahead of time. In the weeks before your hike, get your dog used to any new gear you plan to use, such as boots, a harness, or a dog backpack. Play games of positive association with tasty rewards to teach them to appreciate their boots and backpack.
  • Start out slow. If this is your dog’s first time hiking, aim to go on a simple, short hike. As you hike more frequently, you’ll be able to increase the distance and difficulty; however, be careful not to push your furry friend too far the first time, as you might have to carry a worn-out dog back to the car.

Does my dog need boots to go hiking?

Even though your dog doesn’t need boots to hike, they can significantly lower the risk of paw injuries and improve traction in slick spots. If you have a dog and want to go hiking in the summer, keep in mind that most surfaces, including dirt, will be too hot for your dog’s paw pads if the air temperature is over 85 degrees Fahrenheit. If exposed for a prolonged period of time, hot ground temperatures can lead to blisters on a dog’s paws, so be safe and choose a pair of dog boots.

A pair of boots will also guard against paw injuries, which are frequent in dogs who enjoy the outdoors. In order to avoid the stress of dealing with a paw injury later on, protect your dog’s feet with boots. Puppies can rip paw pads, step on sharp sticks, rocks, or stray glass, and can even break their nails while hiking.

However, avoid breaking out the dog boots for the first time before a strenuous hike. Not all dogs adapt to boots quickly, so the first time you try them on, your dog might not want to walk or even try to remove the boots. Prior to your first outdoor excursion, practice wearing the boots. Also, be sure to bribe—er, I mean, desensitize—your dog to boots by providing lots of delectable treats

Does my dog need boots to go hiking?

Leave no trace when hiking with a dog

It may seem obvious, but when you’re outdoors with a dog, following the leave no trace guidelines is crucial. Every dog owner must keep in mind that dogs can obstruct the course of nature. As a result, it is important to pick up all dog waste, keep your dog away from wildlife, and forbid them from digging anywhere on the trail. Leave no trace principles and responsible pet ownership maintain the beauty and accessibility of outdoor recreation areas for upcoming generations of pets and hikers.

Can I take my dog to a national park?

Dogs are permitted in almost all national parks in the United States, but many of them have rules about where they are allowed to go. Most parks only permit leashed dogs on paved roads, unpaved dirt roads, and campgrounds, with the exception of task-trained service animals. However, a small number of parks, like Acadia National Park, have miles of trails and carriage roads that dogs are allowed on.

Examine the pet policies of each national park before planning to take your dog hiking there. In order to avoid having to reschedule your entire trip, make sure your dog is able to accompany you on any long hikes you intend to take.

Can I take my dog to a national park?

How to Measure a dog?

  1. Neck Size (N): In most cases, the base of the neck is the widest part of your dog’s neck, so measure there. Although not too loose, the measuring tape should be snug.
  2. Chest Size (C): Take a measurement around the chest at its widest point. Depending on the breed, it may be slightly different, but it’s typically right behind the front legs.
  3. Body Length (L): Measure from the center of the dog’s shoulder blades (called the withers) to the base of the tail. Be sure to take this measurement when the dog is standing upright on all fours to get the most accurate measurement.
Illustration: Pet Planet

Before shopping for collars, harnesses, and dog clothing, you’ll need to take a few quick measurements to ensure that the equipment you buy fits your dog comfortably. Three of the most typical measurements for purchasing dog clothing are shown on the right. A flexible tailor’s tape, which should be available at most fabric and hobby stores, is all you need to take these measurements.

If you’re having trouble getting your dog to remain still long enough, you might try taking measurements while they’re contentedly eating (maybe even give him something extra-delicious as a distraction). Don’t forget to take measurements and save them in case you need to purchase additional dog equipment in the future. Of course, you’ll need to remeasure if your puppy is still growing.