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Hiking and Camping Checklist for Dogs

In a recent post, we talked about what you should know if you decide to go hiking with your dog this year.  Many parks throughout Canada allow dogs on trails, so long as you observe proper trail etiquette.  That means your dog needs to be under control and well-behaved.  Before you head out, here is a checklist of everything that you need for your dog to stay safe and happy:


  • Paperwork and tags. When you go on a trip with your dog, even just for a couple of days, bring along all of your paperwork: your ownership license, immunization papers, prescription medication documents, etc.  Also make sure your dog has a proper permanent ID tag.  Consider a temporary ID as well that lists your campground and the dates you will stay.


  • Current vaccinations. Before you go hiking, make sure your dog’s immunizations are up-to-date.  A rabies immunization is a must, and the standard DHLPP inoculation is smart as well.  You may also want to immunize against Lyme. 


  • First aid. Bring a first aid kid with medications especially for your dog, as well as wound dressing supplies, tick sprays, and other necessities.  Bring along your dog’s brush or a standard human comb to check for ticks and remove burrs and other things that get stuck in your dog’s fur.


  • Collars and leashes. You’ll need two.  If you have a dog with behavioral problems, make sure you look into leashes for dogs that pull.  A short retractable or nonretractable leash will work on the trail, and for the campsite, look into a long dog lead.  Bring a stake with you which you can push into the ground.  That way you can attach your dog lead anywhere you go, even if there are no tables or trees around.  While we are on this topic, also ensure that your dog is properly trained before you head out.  If your pet is a jumper or a puller or tends toward aggression, take extra care.


  • Extra dog food. It’s always a wise idea to pack more dog food than you think that you’ll need.  Have fresh water with you too; you shouldn’t let your dog drink from a lake or stream, since it could be contaminated.  Wondering what to serve your dog out of?  Collapsible dog bowls are perfect since they fit easily into a pack.


  • A dog hiking pack. This is an awesome supply for hiking with your dog because it gives your dog something to do.  Dogs that walk with backpacks are typically more focused and easier to control.  This is great for a dog that usually pulls on the leash or runs off after squirrels.  As a bonus, your dog can carry her own supplies, freeing up your own load a little!


  • Dog toys. While your dog will have plenty of interesting new sights, sounds, and smells to pay attention to on the trails, the distractions at the campsite may not be so welcome.  To prevent your dog from running after other guests or after animals, make sure she has something to do.  Bring along some toys so she doesn’t get bored!


  • Dog clothes and boots. While the summer months are the warmer ones, at elevation it can still be cool, especially in the mornings and evenings.  Plus, if you plan to keep hiking into the fall, a jacket for your dog will be necessary.  A sweater is perfect for days when a jacket would be too heavy, but it’s still chilly out.  Whether you opt for a jacket or a sweater or not, definitely make sure you consider dog boots!  These will keep your dog’s foot pads safe from injury from rocks and thorns.


Now you know what you need to bring with you when you go backpacking or camping this summer with your furry companion.  Pack with care for the trip and you will both stay safe and happy on the trails!

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