8 Dog Backpacking Items Essential for Hiking

Taking your best pal along for the adventure can be a fun and rewarding experience for both of you by burning some fats and finding mental peace.

However, you must be careful to carry essential items along the way to ensure your furry friend is always comfortable.

When planning your hike with your canine, it is vital to pack essential items, including dog packs, collar and leash, food and water, bowl, sun protection, safety kit, poop bags, and booties to keep your dog safe, comfortable, and happy on hiking.

If you are unsure of what to carry, read through this guide to prepare, find the best items, and keep your canine safe and happy.

List of Dog Backpacking Items Essential for Hiking

According to research,

93% of dog owners reported that dog walking or hiking made their dogs less stressed.

Dogs are vulnerable to hiking hazards, including weather, wildlife, plants, waterborne pathogens, and other unforeseeable dangers that can ruin a pleasant day.

Here are eight essential backpacking items for dogs that you should carry for hiking.

1. Dog Pack

A dog pack is a type of backpack designed specifically for dogs.

Whether you need to carry water and waste bags on a long walk or a first aid kit and sleeping mat, dog backpacks give you the space you need.

Remember, your dog must carry no more than 25% of its body weight.

They can be trained to carry gear, but do not put packs on dogs younger than a year old to avoid development problems.

You can find different-sized dog packs that will work for your dog.

Ruffwear Singletrak Dog Pack can be the best backpack designed for canines. It allows your pup to carry extra gear and essentials comfortably.

It is constructed with breathable mesh and adjustable straps to keep your dog comfortable and relaxed on the trail.


  • Low-profile day pack with two pockets for doggy storage.
  • Five adjustments hug foam-padded straps anatomically.
  • Two 0.6L hydration bladders are included.
  • Oversized handle and light loop for the Beacon.
  • Two leash attachment points, alloy V-ring and webbing loop

Moreover, it is also recommended to get a dog pack that is bright and colorful.

You can ease your dog into it by taking a short trip and keeping the bag light with treats, toys, etc.

2. Collar and Leash

After fitting your dog with a comfortable dog pack, ensure to pair that pack with a quality collar and leash.

A collar and leash are critical in maintaining control of your dog on the trail. Many wilderness areas, such as national parks, require your dog to be leased.

Keeping your dog on a leash will allow you and your dog to enjoy the time on the trail while also ensuring the safety of yourself, your dog, other hikers, and the local flora and fauna.

Getting a collar and leash from Urban Pet Supply is an excellent option for hiking as it will not pull or choke your dog.

How to Choose a Collar and Leash

  • 100% handmade hemp material and eco-friendly
  • Strong and durable
  • Adjustable according to your dog’s neck size
  • Contains D-ring

Try this durable, lightweight leash that clips easily around your pack waistband and is super good.

3. Food and Water

When hiking trails and mountains, your dog needs an additional calorie of 25 to 50%.

Being on the trail all day requires you to provide more food and water than your dog typically consumes.

The food composition should be more than 30% protein, more than 20% fat, and restricting carbohydrates to 30% or lower

However, consider talking to your vet about how much you should feed your dog when doing extra activity or hiking.

Backpacking burns many calories in dogs, too, and they will need extra nutrition for energy.

  • Pack extra and high-calorie foods like butter, meat, and treats to reward their efforts and maintain their energy level for your dog.
  • Besides, if you are thirsty or tired, then chances are that your dog is too. Take a trail break to chow down, drink up and catch your breath together.
  • Ensure to provide your dog with clean drinking water.

Though a severe infection is rare, dogs are vulnerable to many of the same water-borne illnesses as humans, including Giardia and Cryptosporidium.

They, too, can become ill as a result of contaminated water.

4. Poop Bags

When your dog does his business outside your house, it is your responsibility to clean up after his mess.

Carrying poop bags with you is the most sensible thing you can do when you hike with your furry friend. Otherwise, you can be fined up to $1000 for not picking up the feces.

Get bags on board refill bags because they are 100% biodegradable and compostable.

  • Available in blue, red, green, and yellow.
  • Robust and durable, leak-proof with ties included.
  • 100% biodegradable bags.
  • Contains 1000 units of refill bags.
  • Get 20 free units with each bag.

Besides, do not leave poop bags along the trail with the intention of picking them up on the way out.

Help do your part to leave no trace. You not only clean it up, but you also respect the environment and your fellow hikers.

5. Booties

Just like human feet, your dog’s paws can develop painful blisters and tears on their paw pads due to adverse weather conditions and rougher terrain.

You can help protect their tootsies with dog boots and paw protectors specially designed dog booties if you plan a cold-weather hike or expect rougher footing conditions.

Boots offer protection from hot rocks, cold snow, sharp stream beds, and slippery mud.

Getting a dog used to boots takes some work, but you can try putting them on a few days before the trip to get used to wearing them.

A little practice and a slow process can make a huge difference when it is time to hit the trail.

It makes your dog familiar and comfortable wearing its shoes while taking a long hike.

6. Sun Protection

Just because your dog is covered with fur does not mean dogs are immune to sunburn and skin diseases.

Like us, heat can be a huge concern and even deadly for dogs, especially in the summer, when the dog’s body temperature exceeds 103° F.

It is considered abnormal or hyperthermic leading to multiple organ failure and impending death.

Your dog has exposed skin on their nose, lips, and other hairless parts and is susceptible to sunburn.

Always plan and take specific safety measures to lower your dog’s risk of developing severe sun-related medical issues.

  • Applying water-resistant sunblock with SPF 30+ from paws to tail before every hike is a must.
  • If your dog gets wet or your hike is unusually long, you will likely need to apply another layer of sunscreen.
  • You can also consider talking to others who have made trails you want to check out and ensure there is plenty of shade to seek for breaks.
  • Moreover, cooling coats are great for keeping dogs cool on hot days. All that is needed is to soak the cooling jacket in the water. This is also something they can keep in their pack.

7. Safety Kit

Always prepare for the unexpected. A vet will not be handy when you are on the trail, so doggie safety, a first aid kit, and knowledge are essential.

Taking the necessary precautions will significantly reduce the likelihood of anything going wrong on your hike.

  • Carry a dog first aid kit and learn how to use it. Consult a vet, as they can provide good first-aid tips and an understanding of the dosage.
  • Keep the number of your vet and contacts for medication consultation in case of an emergency.
  • Have a plan for carrying your dog out if it gets injured. Carry an Outward hound poochpouch backpack dog carrier to carry your dog securely.
  • Keep your dog's ID tags updated if something scares him away or goes missing. It increases the likelihood of your dog returning home safely if another hiker or camper comes across them.

Moreover, checking your dog for fleas and ticks is always recommended as soon as you get home.

8. Water and Food Bowls

Depending on the trail and the weather, dogs need to eat and drink while hiking.

Besides, dogs are not skilled at sharing a squirt from your water bottle, so a bowl can help them stay energized and hydrated.

In fact, an average dog will need approximately one ounce of water per pound of their body weight per day’s hike.

Petmate Silicone Travel Bowl is a great way to save space and weight and can be carried around easily.


  • Folds down to less than 1/2”
  • Perfect for travel, hiking, and walks
  • Easily fits in small spaces
  • Available in various colors
  • Durability

It also has an attachment point on the rim to attach the included carabineer hook and hang it from your backpack.

When you get back home, simply hand wash it or place it in the dishwasher until your next adventure.


Hiking is an excellent opportunity to fulfill your and your dog’s dream of exploring new places, including endless smells, fresh air, and exercise.

Being prepared with the items mentioned above is what you should consider taking with you for your and your pup’s safety.

Get in touch with Urban Pet Hospital & Resort, the best pet hospital in Des Moines, to learn more.

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