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11 Must-Have Items to Take on a Hike with Your Pup

When heading out on a hike with your dog, the items you pack will vary from trip to trip and dog to dog, but there are a few things that every hiker should have packed. Here are the top ten hiking essentials for pet parents. Don’t forget these hiking essentials.

by Dan Nelson
June 1, 2021
A German Shepherd dog wearing a red hiking backpack on a rocky trail.
Photo: Adobe St

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Being on the hiking trail with your dog is the perfect time to enjoy some nature-induced R&R, engage in thoughtful movement, and stop to smell the clover (or anything else that crosses your dog’s nose). But no hiker or dog companion should venture far up a trail without being properly prepared for the journey ahead — especially if that voyage includes treacherous conditions (weather or terrain). While the items you pack will vary from trip to trip and dog to dog, there are a few things each and every hiker — human or dog — should be equipped with, including items you may need in an emergency. Below, our essentials for a pup-accompanied hike.

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11 Hiking Essentials

1. Doggy backpack (for longer hikes)

2. Basic first aid kit

Kurgo First Aid Kit for Dogs Cats

Hopefully you’ll never need it, but stash this pet first aid kit in your pack just in case. The American Veterinary Medical Association recommends a checklist of items for your dog’s first aid kit and the Red Cross also offers classes in pet first aid. If you’re looking to cover the basics, this 50-piece set contains everything from sting-relief pads to tweezers to antiseptic to splint sticks, covering you for many common emergencies.

$27 at Chewy

3. Dog food (and trail treats)

4. Water (and water bowl)

5. Equipment (leash and collar, or harness)

6. Dog-friendly insect repellent

the insect repellent in a brown bottle

Be aware that some animals, and some people, have strong negative reactions to certain insect repellents. So, before leaving home, dab a little repellent on a patch of your dog’s fur to test your dog’s reaction to it. Look for signs of drowsiness, lethargy, or nausea. Remember to restrict repellent applications to those places the dog can’t lick — the shoulders, the back of the neck, and around the ears (staying well clear of the ears and inner ears). These areas are also near the most logical places mosquitoes will be looking for exposed skin (at the eyes, nose, and inner ears) to bite. And don’t forget to check your dog’s entire body for ticks, foxtails, and other trail troublemakers after your hike.

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7. ID tags (and a picture)

8. Dog booties

9. Poop bags (and trowel)

10. Sun protection

11. Nutrition (extra food)

This information has been adapted with permission from Dan Nelson’s Best Hikes with Dogs: Western Washington, 2nd Ed., published by The Mountaineers Books.

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Dan Nelson

Dan Nelson

Dan Nelson is the author of several guidebooks, and creator of three best-selling national series: Snowshoe Routes series, Best Hikes with Dogs series, and Day Hiking series.