I love going hiking! I especially love it when I can take my dogs off-leash hiking. Most of the hikes I take with my dogs are short, just a few hours. I keep a bag packed with the essentials, so that when the mood strikes, we can load up and take off.
These are the items that I take to make sure my dogs are safe, comfortable, and we all ride back home together!
Lots of water, not just for you but for your dog(s). Even when the location has natural water, such as a creek or lake, you want to make sure you have enough clean water for everyone to drink and/or wash. Injuries happen, and a cut on your pup shouldn’t be rinsed with water that might have bacteria or parasites. I carry a water bladder (such as a CamelBak) and taught both of my dogs to drink from it; its much easier than carrying bottles and a dog bowl!
I put together a kit that covers both myself and my dogs. Pet first-aid kits tend to be pricier than human kits, and mostly have the same items in them. I discuss the contents of our kit here- Dogs’ First-Aid Kit.
An Empty backpack
Yes…empty. Fold it up and put it in the bottom of your backpack. This way if your dog is injured, you have an easier way to carry them back to the vehicle. This will even work for larger dogs, as you can wrap it under their torso to help them walk.
Aside from the obvious reasons to carry these, they can come in handy for a lot of other reasons. A poop bag can become a water bowl, trash sack, water proof cover for bandages…the list goes on.
Regular length and extra long leashes
My dogs get very excited when its time to go hiking, so I use a regular length leash to get them from my vehicle to a safe place on the trail. Along with that, sometimes its necessary to keep them tethered while hiking. An extra long leash, such as 25 or 50 feet, hooked to the dog and drug behind will keep them at a closer distance.
Canine Body Harness
I have my dogs wear a body harness while on any type of leash. This way they are never in danger of damaging their necks by pulling. Once we are at a place where the leash can be removed, I remove their harnesses as well.
Flat collar with Bear Bell
The only reason my dogs wear a flat collar is to hold their identification and, while off-leash, Bear Bells. I can easily keep track of where they are by listening for the bell, and if either one gets too far away, I simply call them back.
Animal Deterrent Spray
I prefer an animal deterrent spray, such as a citronella, which doesn’t cause pain or damage. I haven’t had to use it, yet (knock on wood), but better safe than sorry.
A whistle is so much easier than yelling for the dogs to come back!
A great “recall” and lots of treats
It’s essential that your pup has a great “Recall.” Any good trainer can help you with this!
What do think of as essential off-leash equipment? Did I miss anything? Let me know your thoughts!