Essential Gear You Need to Hike with Your Dog

Young woman with her dog walking in the forest

You probably didn’t adopt your dog so you have a hiking buddy.  But that’s one of the many wonderful rewards that come with being a doggie parent.  In this beginner’s guide we talked about how to prepare for hiking adventures with your pup.  Now we want to share our favorite essential hiking gear you’ll need to go on longer treks with your furry trail buddy.

Doggie backpack

Yes, your pooch can carry his share of hiking gear in his own doggie backpack.  But it’s important to get one that’s comfortable for your pooch to wear.  Most companies that sell dog backpacks have helpful fit and size guidelines on their websites.  We like the wide range of backpacks that Mountain Smith has, such as this K9 Dog Pack.  It has an ergonomically-tapered torso shape that’s veterinarian approved.  One tip from the experts: don’t overload the backpack.  Your dog should be able to carry about a quarter of his weight, evenly distributed.

Prepare for pests

 The wonders of nature that you’ll encounter on your hike will likely include the not-so-wonderful fleas, ticks and (in some areas) mosquitoes.  Even if your furball gets a monthly flea and tick treatment, pack some natural pest control products from Vet’s Best for added layers of defense.  Vet’s Best Natural Flea & Tick Spray and and Vet’s Best Flea & Tick Wipes control and kill fleas, flea eggs and ticks on contact and repel mosquitoes.  They’re made with a unique blend of certified natural oils such as peppermint oil, clove extract and lemongrass.  We feel safer using these products on our pets because they don’t contain any chemical pyrethrins, permethrins, or cedar oil.

Hiker’s belt

If your dog pulls on her leash when you’re hiking, attaching it to a hiker’s belt will reduce the stress on your body.  The belt fits around your waist, with leg straps keeping the belt in place.  Hurrta makes a versatile hikers belt that comes with pockets for a water bottle and mobile phone, plus bright safety 3M reflectors.

Dog coat

If you’re hiking during the cooler months, protect your hound from all the elements – snow, rain, hail and wind — with a waterproof, fleece-lined coat such as this one from Kurgo.  As well as keeping your pooch warm and dry, it has reflective piping and a flashing LED light strip that provides 360 degree visibility during darker winter months.

Cooling vest

If you’re going to be hiking in warm weather, have your pup wear a cooling vest to help prevent heatstroke, exhaustion and dehydration.  This Swamp Cooler from Ruffwear provides protection from the sun and will pull heat from your dog and keep her cool.  
So now you and your trail buddy are ready for a more challenging hike.  If you’re not sure where to go, check out this Best Hikes with Dogs series.  Each regional guidebook contains dozens of dog-suitable trails for you and your four-legged companion.  Happy trails!

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