Lady hiking with her dog

11 Must-Have Pieces of Dog Hiking Gear

If you love hiking with your dog, then you know the importance of having the right gear to make sure your furry friend stays safe and comfortable during your adventure. From a dog water bottle to a dog carrier backpack, there are several pieces of gear you should consider bringing along on your next hike with your dog. In this blog post, we'll discuss 11 essential items to ensure you and your dog have a successful hiking experience.

Bringing the right gear for your furry friend on a hike is like packing a little backpack of love and care, so let's dive in!

11 Dog Hiking Gear Essentials

  • We've hiked all over America and these are our official top picks
  • Ranging from dog water bottles to flea medication, we're covering ALL of the essentials
  • Read more about the 11 dog hiking gear essentials below

1. Dog Water Bottle to Keep Your Dog Hydrated

lewellin setter named cooper enjoying a drink from his dog water bottle

Hydro Hound - Dog Water Bottle, $20 including free biodegradable poop bags!

Carrying a dog water bottle with you while hiking is not only extremely useful, but a necessity. Dogs need water just as much as humans, so it's very important to keep them hydrated during long walks or hikes. By carrying a water bottle specifically designed for dogs you can easily keep your pup hydrated and you won't have to rely on streams or other sketchy water sources.

Personally, I've tried more than a few dog water bottles and ended up settling on our very-own design (I swear I'm not biased!). I like ours because you can squirt small amounts of water out at a time, so it really prevents you from wasting water, which is the last thing you want to do while out in nature. It's also super convenient to carry with you, as it comes with a free carabiner so you can easily attach it to your belt or pants.

2. Basic First-Aid Kit

Man holding first aid kit while hiking

Orvis - Field Dog First-Aid Kit, $169 is the current price

Bringing a first-aid kit along when hiking is an absolute must-have. You never know when you or your dog might sustain an injury and having the necessary supplies on hand can make all the difference in an emergency. When it comes to hiking with your dog, you have two options:

  1. Bring a human first-aid kit and add supplies that are specifically useful for dogs, such as vet wrap.
  2. Or you can just buy a canine-specific kit, which can be very useful. This makes it easy to ensure you have all the supplies your dog needs, but is typically more expensive than a standard first-aid kit.

The most common critical issue when it comes to injuries on the trail, is bleeding; so make sure your kit includes gauze, disinfectant and bandages. I recommend this canine-specific kit because it also comes with a quick reference guide on how to treat most dog-related injuries.

3. Secure and Comfortable Harness

Comfortable and secure harness for dogs

Ruffwear - No Pull Dog Harness, starting at $49.95

When hiking, getting a secure and comfortable harness for your dog is essential. Our favorite option is the Ruffwear Front Range Harness. We chose this harness because not only is it both comfortable and secure, but it features two leash attachment points: one on the back and one on the front, which can help with both training and control on the trail. This harness also comes in a wide variety of sizes and colors, so you can get the perfect one for you and your dog! Additionally, it had a padded chest and belly panel to help evenly distribute weight and reduce pressure points.

This harness is crafted from high quality, soft polyester. It also features four points of adjustment for an optimal fit.

4. Doggy Backpack to Carry Supplies

Man hiking with his dog that is wearing a dog backpack

Baxter - Dog Backpack, starting at $59.95

If you're looking to give your furry friend a job while out on a hike, the Baxter Dog Backpack is a fantastic option. This little backpack is not only stylish and cute, but it also makes your pup feel like they're contributing to the adventure, which they are! It's extremely useful for carrying supplies like water bottles, treats, first-aid, etc. It's lightweight and durable design features ergonomic spine support and evenly distributed weight which makes it a great option for longer hikes and ensures your dog's comfort and wellness. When purchasing gear like this for your dog, it's important to do your research and make sure you get something that both fits your dog's size and personality.

5. Retractable Leash

Retractable leash for dogs

Flexi - Classic Retractable Cord Leash for Dogs, starting at $21.99

Some swear by them and some swear at them - I understand retractable leashes have been a topic of controversy among dog owners for years. As an avid hiker and dog owner, I understand both sides of the argument. While I don't think retractable leashes are necessary for your average dog walk, they can be extremely useful when you're hiking. Depending on the terrain/trail, you may need your dog to stay close by or have more freedom to roam. That's where a retractable leash comes in handy as it sure beats carrying around multiple leashes. 

We chose the Flexi Classic Retractable Cord Leash - it offers a customizable length of up to 16 feet (they have variations that go longer), giving your dog the freedom to explore while still being under control. The Flexi Classic is made with high quality materials and also has a locking mechanism that ensures your dog stays at a safe distance.

6. Dog-Friendly Insect Repellant

Dog with Advantix insect repellant

Advantix - Vet Recommended Flea, Tick and Mosquito Treatment, $69.98 from Amazon

We all know how horrible bugs are and your dog doesn't like them much either! When hiking with your furry companion, it's crucial to protect them from insects such as fleas, ticks and mosquitos. It's also equally important to be cautious about the products you use. Before using any spray on your dog, it's recommended to spot test a small area to ensure your dog doesn't have any kind of allergic reaction. 

Our favorite K9-friendly insect repellant is Advantix. Even though Advantix is vet recommended it's still a good idea to talk to your veterinarian first to make sure it's the best option for your dog. Advantix contains active ingredients such as imidacloprid, permethrin and pyriproxyfen, providing a safe and effective solution to protect your dog from insects while hiking.

7. High Quality Dog Booties for Rough Terrain

Dog happily frolicking in the snow with his dog shoes on

Buddy Boots - Dog Shoes, starting at only $24.99

This isn't just about style, I swear it's practical too. Having a pair of dog shoes while hiking can be incredibly useful. First, they can protect your dog's paws after a long day of hiking or from rough/hot terrain. The other great thing about them (other than how adorable they are) is they keep your dog's paws clean. I always make sure my dog has his boots on before he gets in the tent, because I don't really like sleeping with a bunch of dirt and mud.

Our Buddy Boots are both affordable and easy to use. They're made from high quality, durable material that can withstand any terrain. They feature a non-slip sole as well as adjustable straps to ensure maximum security and comfort. They're also SUPER easy to take on and off, making the process of getting ready for a hike a breeze.

8. Biodegradable Poop Bags

 Environmental friendly dog poop bags for hiking

Biodegradable Poop Bags (75 bags per roll), starting at $7.99

Whether you're just taking your dog on a quick stroll, or an all-day hike, one of the most important items to bring along is poop bags. It's not only courteous to other hikers, but it also helps keep the area clean and sanitary for everyone. In addition to this, bringing biodegradable poop bags can help reduce your environmental impact. These bags break down much faster than traditional plastic bags making them a good choice for earth-conscious hikers. Plus, if you accidentally leave them behind, you can rest east knowing that you're not leaving behind a harmful plastic pollutant.

9. LED Light-Up Collar for After Dark

Purple LED collar for hiking dogs at night

Masbrill - LED Waterproof Dog Collar for Night Walking, $15.99 from Amazon

If you're going to be doing any overnight hiking, this one is a must-have. With an LED collar, you won't have to worry about losing sight of your dog at night. Additionally, the collar serves as a visual signal to alert drivers and other hikers to the presence of your dog, enhancing overall safety during your dog hikes.

We highly recommend the Masbrill LED collar, available on Amazon. It's durable, weather-resistant and easy to use. However, if you plan to connect your dog's leash to the collar, it's important to remember that over time the collar may begin to malfunction due to the strain and pulling of the leash. To avoid this issue, we suggest connecting your dog's leash to a harness instead of the collar while using the LED one.

10. Dog Food and Treats

Blue buffalo dog trail treats

Blue Buffalo - Dog Hiking Treats, starting at $6.99 per pack

Bringing an assortment of dog treats and food with you while on a hike is absolutely essential for keeping your pup happy and healthy throughout your adventure. Dogs, like people, need extra energy to hike and explore, so it's very important to keep them both fed and hydrated.

It is of course completely up to your preference, but we really like the Blue Buffalo Wilderness Trail Treats. They're made with high quality protein sources such as chicken, turkey and salmon. They're grain-free and have no artificial preservatives or flavors.

11. Dog Carrier Backpack for When Your Pup Gets Tired

Couple with their front dog backpack in nature

Puppy Pack - Dog Backpack, starting at $39.95

A dog carrier backpack can be a useful tool when out on the trail. It comes in handy when the terrain gets too rough or steep for your dog to safely navigate on their own. In an emergency situation, a doggy backpack can also be used to safely evacuate your dog if necessary. Additionally, if you're on a time crunch and don't want to wait for your dog to rest while they're tired, a dog backpack can be a good solution.

When choosing a dog carrier backpack, it's important to find one that is both comfortable and sturdy for both you and your dog; that's why we chose the Puppy Pack - Dog Backpack. It's designed with your dog's safety and comfort in mind, featuring adjustable straps and a padded back panel for extra support. This dog backpack is an excellent choice for pet owners who want a safe and comfortable way to carry their dog on hikes, without breaking their back or the bank.

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