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Hiking With Your Dog: 7 Things to Bring


My mixed breed, rescue dog, Pip, is one of my favorite hiking companions. There is something both deeply peaceful and companionable about sharing a hike with her. Also, as a woman, having my dog at my side adds significantly to my sense of security which adds immeasurably to my overall enjoyment.

Pip, and all my dogs of my past, pack their own gear. I tend to load a fit dog with up to 20% of their body weight. Older dogs, long-backed dogs or smaller dogs with less. Larger, powerful breeds with a bit more. Here are 7 things that go on every journey with us:

Noble Pip
Pip poses on my property.
On hikes, she is leashed.

Useful ID

Your dog’s ID must have a number on it that works while you are away. No point in people phoning home in you’re 500 miles away in the backcountry somewhere. Use a friend’s number or your cell, if it works reliably and you can keep it charged. For that ID I put REWARD instead of Pip’s name. I want anyone finding her to know it is worth their while to return her.

Vet Wrap

Love this stuff. Clings to itself so is easy to use and to remove. Great for a quick cover of a ripped paw pad or other wound.

Non-Stick Wound Pads

Very lightweight and easy to pack in, these work just as well for humans and dogs. The Red Cross teaches courses on pet first aid. These are an excellent idea if you plan to hike regularly with your buddy.


My veterinarian has advised that if Pip gets stung in the mouth or has some other allergic reaction, Benadryl can help control the allergic response. Please discuss this and the right dosage with your dog’s doctor.

Local Vet Emergency Clinic Info

If something does happen, you do not want to be scrambling trying to find the right local vet. Research this ahead of time (along with closets hospital/clinic for you) and leave that info in your glove box as well as in your dog’s pack. Hope you never need it but if you do, you’ll be glad for it.

Water Bowl

Water along the trail can make your dog as sick as it can make you. Either use a bottle that can be used as a bowl as well or bring a lightweight collapsible bowl with you.

Spare Slip Leash

Life happens and sometimes leashes and/or collars break. I pack a lightweight slip lead with a “stop” that locks it in position “just in case”.

Now you have some basics. Click these links for more info about how to hike with your dog and where. Have a great time!

“Moose” in the Woods photo credit: OakleyOriginals

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