Hiking with Man’s Best Friend (Guest Blog)

Does this look like fun?

Spring reconnaissance between upper Cook Inlet and Fairbanks, circa 1923. Source: NOAA Photolibrary, NOAA’s Historic Coast & Geodetic Survey (C&GS) Collection

The guy and dogs in this historic photo are obviously hiking pros. I’m not, although I wish my current existence allowed more time for hitting the wilderness with a dog or three in tow. Today’s guest post is about hiking with your dog and what supplies you may want to take with you.

Hiking with Man’s Best Friend

Going on a camping trip to do some hiking? Bring man’s best friend along. Not only is hiking good exercise for you, it’s good for your dog too!

To make sure these adventures are fun for both owner and dog, there are certain items that a pet will need to ensure its comfort and well-being while out on a trek.

A portable water bowl is a must, even on short trips. Many experienced travelers prefer compact, soft-sided nylon versions that fold down when not in use and can be stored in their vehicles. These nylon bowls also typically feature a drawstring at the top, so that water or food can be carried with little or no spillage.


Here’s Charlie Machete with his collapsible water bowl.

There are several nice portable water bowl versions available from brands such as REI. Although REI has great prices, wise shoppers should always check for an REI coupon code that can help them save even more money.

While some backpackers may think that it is perfectly natural for their dogs to drink water from a lake or creek while out hiking, it can actually have deadly consequences. There are certain bacteria and parasites that live in what looks like pristine water that can kill a dog if it ingests them. It is always advisable when out camping to carry fresh water or sterilize any water a pet drinks.

Owners who plan on doing a lot of camping with their pooches should consider investing in a doggie backpack. With these nifty little devices, Fido can pack in and out his own needs.

Featured in a previous post, Sandy the golden shar helps lead dog-friendly hikes with the Sierra Club.

If a hike is going to be long or is going to cover rough terrain, some owners will outfit their canines in dog boots. If an owner is unsure of the terrain or of the dog’s ability to handle long treks, he may want to carry a set of doggie boots in his backpack just in case a need arises for them.

Pet owners who will plan on camping overnight in chilly conditions may want to consider packing in a dog tent, especially if they own a particularly large or restless animal. Another thing your dog may need is an inflatable dog bed, especially if the ground is rocky.  Depending on how cold the conditions are, some dogs may require a small sleeping bag, although some campers prefer to pack in a two-person bag and let their dogs sleep with them.

No matter how well mannered a dog is, it should always stay on a leash while on a hike or during a camping trip. While this may seem to go against the natural feeling of a camping trip, a loose dog can end up chasing a wild animal or get hurt, or end up killing or injuring the other creature. In addition, a dog may not be able to find its way back to its owner.

If a trail is particularly technical, it may even be best to have the dog in a harness. It is often easier to hoist a dog up and over obstacles or through difficult situations by picking it up by the harness.

Camping and hiking are great ways to bond with your dog. Being prepared with the right equipment to take on all that nature has to throw at you and your furry friend will ensure that your hike is not only a fun one, but a safe one, as well.

Guest blogger Lisa enjoys the outdoors with her pooch, Ralph. When she gets spare time she also likes to volunteer with the local no-kill animal shelter.

Readers: Do you hike or camp with your dog? What are your must-have supplies when heading into the back country?

The KC Pittie Pack tends to do more walking than hiking, but at least twice a month we do take a group of dogs for an on-leash adventure in nature (or at least nature in the city). If you live in Kansas City and want to join us, head to our Meetup page.


About crystalwayward

I live with two formerly wayward dogs. I care deeply about the environment, and I think gardening is a revolutionary act.

Posted on August 11, 2012, in Dogs, Dogtography, Random Life and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. Great info, we’re not hikers here, I really wish we were, it seems like it would be so much fun. And, I must add that REI has the best stuff, even for us non-hikers!

  2. Hello!!
    Don’t freak out and think I am crazy, trying to make you buy into a pyramid scheme or am an imprisoned prince looking for bail money!
    My name is Lisa Hutchison and I have a blog called ‘Forcing myself happy’ –Basically I will be doing one thing to make me happy every day for 6 months. Today the challenge was ‘Make new friends with the same interests as you’! I noticed that you had one of the same interests as me and so am asking you to be my friend! 😀 I know this sounds bonkers. But it would be lovely if you could go to my blog and leave a wee comment saying hello.
    Thanks. Your potential new friend Lisa! 😀 hehe

  3. Thanks for the info. We go hiking but only local.

  4. Some great advice, especially about keeping the dog on a leash. There can be lots of danger in unfamiliar territory. I like the idea of a doggie backpack.

  5. I really want to go hiking with our dogs soon! And just looking at that photo from our first Pittie Pack walk makes me cold. That walk was insane!

  6. Thanks for the tips. We want to take our dogs hiking. We considering this weekend, but our day was too jammed and the only time we had available was midday – too hot. So they got a long walk in the morning.

    I think they’d love a hike. I’ll have to look into getting those bowls.

  7. My portable doggy water bowl/bottle combo is always in my car. Never go anywhere without it, just in case.

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