Hiking with your dog

Today’s post was supposed to be about a hike to Horsetooth Rock but I’m just recovering from being sick and didn’t have the energy to climb 6 miles through the foothills. So instead I’m going to tell you about the hiking supplies we take to keep ZuZu a happy, healthy hiker.

Most of our hikes are between 3-8 miles so I tend to take extra things along for the “just in case” moment. If we were doing longer hikes I’d pare down to the essentials. Carrying 10 lbs for a couple hours is a lot easier to do than carrying 10 lbs for 15 hours.

Hiking gear

The green bag is the main bag and carries the essentials. It’s slightly bigger and has a chest strap and a stomach strap to help secure the bag. The purple bag is for extra supplies…it usually becomes ZuZu’s bag because it carries her extra water bottles, her treats/snacks for the day and her water bowl. As you can see in the picture I carry a lot of little things.

  • Water – the number of bottles depends on how many people/creatures are coming along
  • Food (human & dog) – I always keep a stash of granola bars in the bags and we usually pack trail mix and PB sandwiches (almond butter for me 🙂 )
  • Knives
  • Survival kit/rattlesnake kit
  • Matches
  • Twine
  • Poop bags
  • Headlamp
  • Bug spray
  • Emergency blanket
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Baby aspirin – I carry this for ZuZu and Excedrin for the humans.
  • Duct tape
  • Compass
  • Bandana

Whether we take both bags or just one depends on a few things. If it’s a really short hike we take one bag and call it good. If we’re going to take a picnic lunch we’ll take both. If I’m taking my Nikon we’ll usually take both bags because it fits awkwardly with everything else so the extra room is just easier. I actually really like carrying a bag; I’m so used to it that without it I feel lost.

I need to go through a update a few things and get a rattlesnake kit for the other bag. I have been researching homeopathic remedies for bites and am trying to put together a dog snake bite kit since one of our biggest dangers here in the West is rattlesnakes. So far we’ve been lucky to have never met one. (Knock on wood!) Our biggest foe to date has been a mountain lion that stalked us on a night hike. I wrote about it for Zu’s Halloween challenge and you can read about it here.

We’ve got 2 really neat hiking sticks that my mom had made for us. The taller one has a carved ram on top and the smaller one has a wizard’s face carved into it with a compass in the top of the stick.

Hiking sticks

Below I’ve listed a few of the important essentials for hiking with your dog.


The main thing to remember when hiking with your dog is WATER! Always carry water even if the trail says there is water along the way. It’s good for them to have fresh drinking water. It’s a good idea to have a plastic water dish or collapsible bowl packed as well. I usually pick up new ones at the pet expo’s after our yearly pet 5K’s.



I pack a freeze-dried dinner in the bag just in case we ever get stuck on the hill and need sustenance for Zu. Since the weather is usually warm/hot that means Zu is a picky eater on hikes and will usually only eat jerky sticks, peanut butter or bits of cheese.  I always make sure she ate dinner the night before and gets her breakfast in. As long as she’s eaten I don’t feel so bad about her not eating during the trek.

Dry food


What you carry in, you carry out…even if it started out in your dog. I usually take Zu around the parking lot before we get started, hoping to get most of it out but inevitably she starts pooping along the way. I tie the bag to a strap on my hiking bag or the carabiner. The Cascadian Nomads went snowshoeing a couple weeks ago and in the post talked about their supplies. Bethany has a pack it out container for dog poop that looks really nice so I’m looking into buying one.

Even if we weren’t hiking on National Park property I would still pick up after Zu. I don’t want to step in it on my way back out and I’m sure the people behind us wouldn’t appreciate stepping in it either.

Doggie bags


For any aches that ZuZu may get. She pulled a muscle during an 8 mile hike a few years ago. Luckily it was on the hike out with only a couple miles to go but I felt so bad because I didn’t have anything to give her. She limped through like a trooper though and ever since I’ve carried the aspirin.

Baby aspirin


Twine: In case Zu’s leash ever breaks which it has before. It wasn’t on a hike but we were exploring the canyon and it got caught on a rock.
Bandana: This or a towel in case I need to wipe her down or if she gets a cut. I also carry antiseptic in the survival kit.
Duct Tape: In case of a serious injury duct tape is handy to hold things together. Or make an impromptu cone of shame. It’s really just handy all together so everyone should carry it with them.



Those are my hiking with dogs tips. I’ve rescheduled the actual hike and will post about it when the challenge is over!

Do you hike with your dog? What tips do you have for those wanting to hike with their dogs?


8 thoughts on “Hiking with your dog

  1. I hike quite a lot and you can check out our latest one on the blog but I’m not as prepared as you. Probably because it is highly unlikely to be stuck out somewhere with no way out because in our hills there is a village pretty much every mile or two with some sort of bus service. However, I will be adding some things after this post- thanks!

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