During the midst of the pandemic, people turned to the great outdoors to seek entertainment, exercise, and a safe way to get outside. Hiking was one of the activities that skyrocketed in popularity, and where people go, so do dogs! We want to bring our four-legged friends with us whenever we can, and hiking is a great way to get outside with your pets.
Check out these awesome pieces of hiking gear made for your furry companion!
Gear That All Outdoorsy Pups Need
When heading out for a hike, you typically get all your gear gathered up and ready to go, then load the vehicle and hit the trailhead. When taking your dog, that process involves packing a few extra pieces of gear so that your four-legged friend can be comfortable on the trail with you!
When taking your furry friend to the trailhead, you’ll need walking essentials without a doubt. Most hiking trails do allow dogs on them, but they require that the dog be walked properly and leashed. Good leash behavior is imperative here, and without it, your pup will not be suitable for hiking with you. Here are the walking essentials you’ll need to hike with your dog:
- Harness - A good harness is a crucial apparel when hiking with your pup. Harnesses lend themselves to better leash manners, which are vital on the trail for dog owners.
- Leash - Durable, easy to clean, high quality leashes are best when out and hiking with your pup. You don’t want to bring back too much dirt from the woods.
- Waste Bags - Be sure to pick up after your four-legged friend! No one wants to step in something unpleasant when they’re out hiking.
- Toys- If you are walking to a large open space, your dog may enjoy some fetch with their favorite tennis ball. After a long hike, maybe your pooch would like to lick some frozen peanut butter out of their favorite Twist Toss (dishwasher safe!).
Snacks and Water
Being properly fueled and hydrated is one of the keys to having a good hike for both people and pets. When you’re headed to the trail for a longer hike, make sure that you pack the following items so that you and your pooch can have the best time possible:
- Collapsible Water Bowl - A good collapsible water bowl can mean all the difference when trying to keep your pup happy and hydrated.
- Small Snacks - Keeping a handful of small snacks or treats with you while hiking is a recipe for success. We all need to stop and refuel from time to time! Try for ones with healthy ingredients.
- Water Filter - Having a water filter on longer hikes is a great idea when living an active lifestyle. Water filters are small pieces of gear, easily carried with you on any hike. Keep one on hand, just in case water gets a little low.
In addition to the gear worn while walking, there are other items that should be worn while hiking with your pup. Check out a few of those items below!
- Doggie Backpacks - In addition to a harness, there are small, dog-sized backpacks (varying degrees of tactical gear) designed with your furry friend in mind! Wearing one to carry their snacks and water in their own adorable pockets or jackets. Some of these
- Doggie Boots - If the trail is rough or hot, or if your pup has sensitive paws, consider getting a pair of dog boots for your furry friend. They’ll protect your pup’s feet from any rough terrain!
- Cooling Vests - Hiking in the peak of summer can be a real scorcher. Keep your dog cool by getting them a cooling vest. The cooling properties are activated by water, making them very easy to use!
- Lights - The time of day that you plan on hiking can help make your decision on bringing a light. If you’re hiking in the early morning or late evening, consider bringing one for safety.
- Doggie Goggles - Eye protection is just as important for your pup as it is for you! There are goggles designed for pups that allow them to shade their eyes from the harsh light of the sun and any debris that may be kicked up in dry areas.
First Aid and Pest Protection
Safety is of the utmost importance and should be taken very seriously when hiking with your dog. When out on the trail, you have the chance to encounter many things that you’d not commonly come across when in the city or in your own backyard. Keep the following items on hand when you hike with your pup:
- Flea and Tick Spray - More of an item that should be applied prior to hiking, flea and tick spray for your pup can help keep unwanted pests from terrorizing your pooch, making hiking a much better experience for them.
- Dog Sunscreen - Dogs with short coats, or coats of a light color, can be prone to sunburn just like people. For hikes that are highly exposed, keeping dog sunscreen in your first aid kit is a good idea.
- Paw Balm - For the pup whose paws have been damaged by a long day of hiking, putting on paw balm when you’re back at the car can really help soothe their aches and pains.
- Hiking First Aid Kit - Keeping a full first aid kit with you while hiking with your pooch is imperative. A first aid kit for your pup should include the following at the very least: gauze, non-stick bandages or tape, cotton balls, antiseptic, scissors, tweezers, and a towel. These items will cover most of the possible injuries you could face on the trail.
Hiking Etiquette for You and Your K9
If you’ve decided that hiking is going to be you and your pup’s new hobby, be sure to take into consideration some of the etiquette surrounding hiking with a pooch. Following these rules will make sure that you’re able to have a good time with your dog, and so will the other hikers you may encounter.
- Hike on dog-friendly trails. It’s safe to assume that if hiking with a dog isn’t mentioned, it’s not dog-friendly.
- Follow leash rules. If a leash is required, leash your pup. If a leash isn’t required, make sure your dog is prepared to hike off-leash and responds well to commands. Make sure all your furry friends have their dog collars on in the outdoor world in case they run after a squirrel and are separated from you.
- Give other hikers the right of way. Not all people are comfortable around puppies and dogs, even if they are well-behaved. Let other hikers hike around you, or stop to let them pass when coming your way.
- Stay on the trail. Most hiking trails ask that hikers stay on the trail, and the same is true for dogs. Ecosystems can be delicate, and interference from humans or dogs can interfere with and possibly damage them.
- Clean up after your pup. It’s been mentioned before, but it’s worth mentioning again; clean up your dog’s waste. It’s important to Leave No Trace.
Leave No Trace
Leave No Trace is a set of principles and beliefs that helps to minimize the impact on the environment around you. It’s important to keep these places as natural as possible, and we can do so by making sure that we keep ourselves and our dogs on the trail. If your dog is an escape artist, look for a harness with more than one attachment point.
Best Friend Adventure
After a day full of fun and new discoveries, watch your pups relax in their dog beds with pride at all they accomplished.
There are plenty of options on the market for dog gear related to hiking. Always keep in mind that keeping your pup safe is the number one concern, and to hike within your limits when you’re first starting out. There are some exclusions: remember, if you have a new puppy, make sure you wait until they have all their vaccinations before they can have more of an active participation in outdoor sports.
Get your pup outfitted and ready for the trail today!