Most dogs love a good long walk in the countryside, and that goes especially when we have lovely weather. Hiking with your dog can be a fun and rewarding experience for you and the dog, so let’s look at some of the things you’ll need before you make the trip.
What hiking gear do I need for hiking with dogs?
Going on a hike with your canine companion is a great way to get outdoors, give them vital exercise, and let them do what they’re built to do: explore all the smells! Before you head out, see if you’ve got the gear you need by exploring our list.
Equipment for Hiking with Dogs
When you do take your best friend for a hike in the mountains or hills, there are some key pieces of dog hiking gear that you should be aware of that will not only make your dog enjoy themselves in the wilderness but keep them safe and healthy too.
1. Long lead
Depending on where you’re planning to hike with your dog, you may need to consider how you will ensure your dog can’t run off on their own.
Some hikes are going to be in places that farmers are allowing their sheep to graze, for example, and at particular times of year, there are restricted areas for nesting birds or other protected wildlife. Unfortunately, dogs are likely to disturb the young animals if left to wander.
A long lead, however, will give you peace of mind that you won’t be bothering the local animals.
When thinking about the leads to use, we recommend checking that the lead is rated for the size and weight of your dog. You don’t want to risk the lead breaking! And if your pooch is one to explore further afield, consider something like a roamer leash, like this one from Ruffwear, because it will give you and your dog some give in the line.
When hiking in rougher terrain you need to make sure that your dog won’t accidentally pull you off balance. A lead that uses a bungee cord in its construction is good for this as the pull isn’t as sudden.
It’s worth considering a harness for hiking with your dogs, especially as most pet owners will use a simple neck collar because it’s convenient and most dogs aren’t fussed with them. However, for energetic pullers, a neck collar is exactly the wrong type of gear for your dog.
A neck collar puts pressure on your dog’s trachea when they pull, meaning that they will struggle to breathe.A good harness like this Ruffwear Front Range harness will give you a secure place to attach your lead without the potential to harm your dog if they pull, slip, or take a different route down a path than you!
Ruffwear also offers this Switchback Harness which is great for hiking as it has pockets, making sure you’re never without treats, doggie bags, or whatever else you might want to bring with you.
Getting the right fit is important because a poorly fitted harness can come off your dog, or cause chafing. So make sure that you can get at least two fingers underneath the harness at all points, and that there is space underneath your dog’s legs, the “armpit”, for easy movement.
3. Water bottles
Going hiking with your best buddy is a great idea, but just like we need water to fuel ourselves on long walks, our canine friends do too! There are some great water bottles made for travelling that should be part of anyone’s dog gear for hiking.
The best bottles for hiking are ones that have a clip or carabiner to attach to your backpack as this allows easy access for your pooch when they’re in need of a quick rest. Look at the Long Paws pet water bottle for a good example of a portable water bottle built for hikes.
The Long Paws bottle is designed for your dog to drink directly from the bottle itself, removing the need for a bowl.
Remember that carrying water with you reduces the chance that your dog will try and drink any standing water that can carry all kinds of bacteria harmful to pets.
Some breeds of dog are going to be perfectly happy outside, hiking through wind and rain, but there are others that would benefit from a coat to keep the damp of long grass and rain off them. This gives the added benefit of keeping your car or house cleaner, too!
Shorter hair breeds are more likely to need something to protect them from the weather or dry them off after they’ve been out in the water.
There are several types of dog coats suitable for hiking with dogs, some of them are designed to keep your dog dry as any raincoat would for a person, with waterproof material. We would recommend the Ruffwear Sun Shower coat for wet adventures.
Some others are better for drying off your dog by wicking away water after your rainy adventure is done. This Henry Wag drying coat is perfect for making sure your dog is dry and warm after a hike through the hills.
5. Car seat covers
We don’t all have the luxury of living in the hills or mountains to go for hikes with our dogs, the lucky ducks that can step out of their door and set off definitely don’t need number five on our list, but for the rest of us, we need to consider car seat covers.
A good car seat over will not only ensure that your car remains as tidy as it can after a mucky hiking adventure, but will give you access to seatbelts and the locking mechanisms to secure your pup in the car.
It’s important to make sure your dog can’t distract you whilst driving, as that’s a motoring offence.
What’s more, some seat covers are actually hammocks, and this means your dog won’t risk falling into the footwell of the back seats. This Henry Wag Car Bench Hammock is a sturdy and safe environment for your dog whilst you’re driving.
Now go and find adventure by hiking with your dogs!
Dogs love going for walks, and certain breeds absolutely love hiking in the outdoors but remember that sometimes a shorter walk where your dog gets to smell lots of interesting things is better for them mentally than a long walk where they’re just tired out.
We hope that you find some great places to hike with your dogs, and if you go out in the rain, bring a coat!