One of the best parts about owning a dog? They can go with you practically everywhere! Many dog owners enjoy taking their dog on hikes and out camping. This is easy to do with a dog because they enjoy spending time outdoors, too. But, before you can take your dog with you into the great outdoors, there are a few things you’ll need to bring with you to ensure they – and you! – stay safe. Here are some of the top dog hiking essentials for your pup!
1. A collar and leash.
No matter your dog’s breed, age or size, they need a dog collar and leash set if they’re going with you on a hike. Even trained dogs can get distracted on a hike, and you’ll want a leash you can pull on to keep them from getting loose. This will ensure they stay safe while on a hike with you! A matching set ensures compatibility. There would be nothing worse than your dog getting detached from their leash because the leash and collar weren’t meant to be clipped together.
2. Compass, map and a basic GPS.
A traditional GPS can work without internet or cell phone connection. In fact, the first GPS came out in the late 1970s! That was well before anyone had a handheld cell phone. A GPS uses satellites to determine location, so a traditional GPS should work even without a cell phone connection. Having all the necessary navigational tools available will keep you and your dog safe on your hike. If you have to chase after your dog and get off the trail, you can use your map and GPS to get back on track. This could be the difference between life and death.
3. First aid for you and your dog.
Let’s face it – accidents happen, especially in the outdoors. Hiking trails, no matter how busy, are still available to loads of wildlife. From snakes to bears to mosquitoes and lots of other critters, anything can cause injury to you and your dog. Even a rogue tree branch can do some damage to either of you. That’s why a first aid kit that’s safe for both you and your pup is essential! From gauze to tape to pet-safe injury medication, it’s important that you bring those items with you to ensure that you and your dog stay safe while outside. Consider including their other medications in your first aid kit as a way to remind yourself that you need to administer them to your pup at the proper time.
4. Food and water.
If you’re bringing your dog with you on your hike, you’ll need to be sure to pack for them. Food and water for your dog is a no brainer, so make sure you pack some for them when you’re packing your own snacks! A dog’s diet is slightly different than a human’s, even though they can eat many of the same foods. Bringing a small container filled with their food and an extra water bottle or two can be a beneficial addition to your hiking preparations. This is especially important if your trip gets delayed. There are lots of reasons you might end up returning home later than expected – weather, getting lost, a long line in the drive-thru on the way home…the possibilities are endless. This way, you don’t have to worry about your dog going hungry.
5. Updated dog tags.
This is for both you and your dog. Make sure your dog’s ID tag has all the updated information: your phone number, their vaccination status, meds/diseases they have and anything else you feel is essential to their safety. Investing in a Bluetooth dog tag tracker is also a great idea, especially if you’ll be frequently taking your dog on hikes with you. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have updated information on yourself, though! Don’t forget to have something either on a bracelet, lanyard or tag inside your hiking gear that has emergency contact information and identifying information for yourself. This is essential in case you are unconscious or separated from your dog.
6. Something to repel insects.
Some insect repellents are natural-based and pet-safe. Others, not so much. It’s important that you find an insect repellent that’s safe for both you and your pet. The outdoors is full of flying and crawling insects that can do you and your dog harm, so loading up on repellent prior to going on your hike and during it can keep you both safe and healthy. As you hike, you and your dog will sweat, wearing off the insect repellent. Spraying yourselves halfway through your hike will keep you both protected for the remainder of your hike!
7. An emergency shelter.
Emergencies happen, and when they do, you’ll need a shelter. Bad weather, an injury or a variety of other things can all put a dent in your hiking plans. Having an emergency shelter available for you to set up is essential for you and your dog on a hike. In many instances, this can be the difference between life and death for you and your dog.
8. Something to start a fire with.
When you get stuck outdoors, having a fire can bring a lot of comfort. Plus, if you get stuck outside in the winter, a fire can keep you warm or cook food for you and your dog. Bring a fire starter along with you, and not just a disposable lighter. Bring an actual fire starter from your local hardware or camping goods store that comes recommended by the staff there. You’ll want something that can also help you start a fire even when wood is wet so that you don’t go without.
Hiking by yourself can be fun, but hiking with your dog is another level of joy. It’s important to have all the necessary items to ensure you and your dog stay safe on any hiking or camping trip you might find yourselves on.