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Know Before You Go
Before you duck out the door for a run through your neighborhood or trail, take these things into consideration (and don’t forget to grab the leash)!
Know the Terrain
It’s generally always a good idea to take Rover out for a romp around outside. But if you’re taking your pup out on the trails, you should read about terrain and trail conditions on AllTrails.com. While a trail might be considered dog-friendly, it may not actually be suitable for your pooch. Factors like age, injuries, and breed type can impact your furry friend’s ability to tackle a trail.
Check the Weather
If you’re headed out on a day-long excursion, make sure you check the weather. This way you’ll be well-prepared and know ahead of time if you need to bring along a rain jacket, dog socks, extra water, or layers for your pooch.
Bring Plenty of Water and Treats
Foods like carrots are great snacks that are not only dog- and people-friendly but also won’t get squashed in your backpack. And don’t forget to bring enough water for both you and Fido—always double-check and see if where you’re headed will have a water source in case your pup needs more water on the go.
Get Fido a Collar and a Harness
Collars and harnesses are great safety items and provide a more comfortable walking experience for dogs. There are different types and styles for small and big dogs alike, and some even come with handles if you need to pick your dog up and move them out of harm’s way. I prefer to use a harness since my little dog’s head is small and she slips out of her collar easily, and they’re great for my bigger dog who pulls a little when we walk.
If It Poops, You Scoop
Nobody likes stepping in a pile of dog dookie—so pack those poop bags, people! Not only that, but dog poop can impact plant and animal life in outdoor areas.
When in Doubt, Leash ‘Em Up
A lot of open areas have leash laws. But if you’re unsure whether or not your dog can romp around unleashed, you should keep them leashed. You never know what kind of revegetation or conservation efforts are happening in the area.
Before we tackle all the rest of the top dog gear, we’ll help you find the right collar for your pooch.
Most suitable for dogs that don’t pull when walking, the Ruffwear Knot-a-Collar is subtle, sleek, and definitively outdoorsy. The materials are inspired by climbing rope, and reflective details enhance your dog’s visibility in low-light conditions. It’s fully adjustable, too, and available in a variety of colors.
Hurtta’s Padded Collar
With a padded design and quick-drying neoprene, Hurtta’s Padded Collar is simple and comfortable. It also has a safety device that safeguards your pooch’s throat in case they get a little frisky and yank on the leash. An adjustable design provides a personalized fit, and the reflective elements bring attention to your dog at dusk or dawn.
Ollydog’s MTN Reflective Collar
Sometimes you just want to keep things simple. We love the overall unpretentious vibe of the Ollydog MTN Reflective Collar. The soft webbing is complemented by reflective details and a comfortable buckle, so not only does your dog remain visible, but they stay comfy all day long.
Kurgo’s Muck Dog Collar
The Kurgo Muck Dog Collar has a variety of fun color options and features a totally waterproof yet flexible design. And since the Muck Dog Collar is waterproof, it won’t absorb water—meaning it won’t stink! This collar is ideal for dogs who roll in smelly things frequently or swim on the regular.
Backpacking with Dogs
Barring any injuries or age-related limitations, there’s no reason your beloved pooch can’t wander the mountains with you on a backpacking trip. Just don’t forget to make sure you’re on dog-friendly hiking trails, practice proper Leave No Trace etiquette, and keep your snacks and dog food securely away from bears.
Ruffwear Palisades Pack
Built specifically for long, multi-day hikes, the Palisade Pack lets your dog carry their weight. The cross-loaded compression system maintains a comfortable carrying experience, much like your backpacking pack does. Two removable saddlebags allow you to customize your furry friend’s load, and the included collapsible water reservoirs keep hydration close at hand.
Collapsible Dog Bowl
The next time you and Fido need to take a water break on the trail, make sure you’ve packed the Mash n Stash Collapsible Dog Bowl. This bowl features an accordion-style design, so it takes up little to no space in your backpack, and the silicone material is food-grade certified and dishwasher safe.
Keep your furry friend’s paws happy and injury free with a little help from Musher’s Secret. This paw balm was originally designed for sledding dogs to protect them from harsh Canadian winter conditions, but it can be used in any extreme weather. A blend of food-grade waxes form a shield around their pads, safeguarding them from snow or hot sand and pavement. The wax still allows them to perspire and breathe, which prevents them from overheating and getting sick.
Pro Tip: Don’t Get Ticked Off: How to Remove a Tick
If you’re headed into tick territory, make sure you pack a pair of needle nose or fine-tipped tweezers and alcohol wipes. To properly remove a tick from your pup, do the following:
With the tweezers, pinch the tick as close to the surface of the skin as you can.
Swiftly and firmly pluck the tick out. Be careful not to break parts of the mouth or head off—and whatever you do, don’t leave them in the skin. If you can’t remove them, clean the wound thoroughly and let the wound heal.
Clean the bite with rubbing alcohol, iodine scrub, or soap and water. I recommend using Cycle Dog All Natural Dog Soap.
If you’re in the backcountry and unable to drown the tick, give it the old smash and squish with a rock.
If you’re in an area where deer ticks are prolific, keep an eye on your pup—if they become disoriented, sluggish, or have a bull’s-eye around the bite, it could be a sign that they have Lyme disease.
Camping with Dogs
Camping with dogs is always an exciting experience. It’s fun to give them the opportunity to smell new smells and see new sights. But sometimes new things can overwhelm your dog and send them into a tizzy. Instead of setting them (and you) up for disaster, things like a pet playpen, bed, and jacket can make your camping adventure all the more enjoyable.
EliteField 2-Door Soft Pet Playpen
Don’t call “lights out” just yet—in lieu of putting your dogs in the tent as you stargaze at night, you can pop them into the EliteField 2-Door Playpen. This soft-walled playpen is great for wrangling and keeping an eye on small to medium-sized dogs. It easily packs down for convenient storage at home or in the car, and a bevy of pockets lets you keep things like water bottles or leashes close at hand when the playpen’s in use. Additionally, the floor and ceiling are both removable and washable, so you can customize your pooch’s coverage and extend the life of the playpen.
Ruffwear Highlands Bed
The Ruffwear Highlands Bed can be used while backpacking and car camping, so your pup can get some well-deserved rest after a long hike. The synthetic insulation is designed to keep your dog cozy—even if they’re a bit damp from running through the river. And all sizes of the Highlands Bed fit in the Ruffwear Palisades Pack.
Hurtta Ultimate Warmer Jacket
Built for both wet and cold environments, the Hurtta Ultimate Warmer Jacket provides dependable protection for your furry, four-legged friend even through the worst conditions. A fully waterproof design fends off rain and snow, while the high collar and extended hem safeguard your pooch’s bum and neck from nasty weather. That said, the Hurtta Ultimate Warmer Jacket is more suitable for working breeds (like border collies or Australian shepherds). For other larger or smaller breeds (like a Bernese mountain dog) I’d recommend the Hurtta Casual Quilted Jacket, D-fa Moon-Walker High Visibility Jacket, or Ruffwear Cloud Chaser Jacket.
Pro Tip: Not All National Parks Are Dog-Friendly
Visit the National Parks Service site to find out if the park you’re looking to visit allows dogs. Most parks’ websites will have pet guidelines, but if you don’t see any, call the local ranger office to get a direct answer. Some national parks will have specific dog-friendly trails, so be sure to confirm which ones are.
Hiking with Dogs
Going for a hike with your dog is an easy way for both of you to get a solid dose of exercise and enjoy a leisurely outing together. The next time you hit the trails, make sure you grab a comfortable leash and pack your bag with plenty of water, a water bowl, poop bags, and a few treats.
Kurgo Quantum Leash
For a hands-free hiking experience, get your paws on the Kurgo Quantum Leash. It’s fully adjustable and is made with a durable webbing material. And, bonus point, the Quantum has a bottle opener—so you can enjoy a frosty beverage at the summit.
Ruffwear Web Master Harness
The Ruffwear Web Master Harness has a low-profile design that’s built for mobility, which is great for running, hiking, or walking. It’s also padded and has an adjustable strap, so it won’t chafe or irritate your dog’s fur or skin. Multiple attachment points create a solid fit, and a grab handle makes it easy to move your pooch out of harm’s way or haul them over an obstacle.
Olly Dog OllyBottle
The one-liter OllyBottle provides hydration for both you and Fido. The detachable bowl makes for slobber-free drinking, and the water bottle itself is both dishwasher-safe and BPA-free.
Pro Tip: Bring a First Aid Kit
You can easily make your own first aid kit for your dogs. Take an old sock and fill it with things like tape, bandages, cleansing wipes, and Benadryl. In the event that your pup gets hurt, you can properly dress the wound until you get back into town and can visit the vet.
Running and Biking with Dogs
Whether you’re hitting the single track or pounding the pavement, a little bit of help keeping your dog safe goes a long way. Items like a waist-worn leash, night-light, booties, or weather-appropriate jacket can keep Fido comfortable as the two of you cruise over rocky trails and snowy sidewalks.
Ruffwear Flat Out Leash
The Flat Out Leash’s adjustable webbing and light weight create a comfortable running experience. The fixed length of the webbing and emergency grab handle make it easy to wrangle your pooch should an emergency or tenuous situation arise. The Flat Out Leash can be worn around your waist or carried by hand—it’s equipped with an easy-to-use, adjustable buckle that fits a variety of waist sizes and keeps your hands free to wave at neighbors or pick up dog poo. But it does have a clunky, loud clip that can sometimes startle your dog.
Nite Ize NiteHowl LED Safety Necklace
Light up your evening run with the Nite Ize NiteHowl LED Safety Necklace. Two LED lights offer bright illumination for added visibility on a dark trail or sidewalk. The universal fit can be custom cut to suit your dog and is designed to be worn with their collar. Additionally, the necklace comes with five batteries and runs for about 60 hours, while the flash and glow mode lets you choose which style of visibility you prefer. If you want a subtler light, try the Nite Ize PetLit LED Collar Light.
Ruffwear Summit Trex
With the Ruffwear Summit Trex boots, Rover gets protection when cruising through varied terrain or super cold conditions. These versatile dog booties are equipped with a rugged outsole that maintains traction and flexibility, while the weather-resistant exterior fends off light rain, sun, and snow melt. The Summit Trex are totally adjustable to fit your pooch’s paws—making them ideal for just about all breeds and weather conditions.
Ruffwear Jet Stream Cooling Vest
Unlike humans, dogs don’t sweat—they regulate their temperature through their paws and by panting. But some pooches require a little extra assistance when it comes to keeping cool. The Ruffwear Jet Stream Cooling Vest not only shades Fido from the sun’s harmful rays but also keeps your pup cool and comfortable. To keep Fido feeling real chill, saturate the vest in cold water, wring out the excess, and let the three-layer cooling panel diffuse the heat from your dog’s chest.
D-fa Ice-Barker Merino Wool Coat
On the colder end of the weather spectrum, you’ll find the D-fa Ice-Barker Merino Wool Coat. Merino wool is one of the most versatile and well-performing materials. It regulates temperature, provides subtle (yet substantial) warmth, and wicks away moisture with ease. The Ice-Barker is best for aerobic activities like running or biking in cold weather and will keep even the most short-haired of dogs cozy and warm.
Pro Tip: Keep Your Vet’s Number Handy
Be sure to save your vet’s emergency number in your phone. If your dog experiences a trauma, you’ll be able to quickly call and let them know ahead of time that your dog is injured and will require immediate care.
Boating with Dogs
Whether you’re teaching your pooch how to swim, going out for a day on the water, or tackling a multi-day boating trip, Fido needs proper safety floatation gear and protection from the sun’s harmful rays.
Astral BirdDog Life Jacket
Keep Fido afloat with the Astral BirDog Life Jacket. From day-long floats to five-day endeavors, the BirdDog Jacket offers ample floatation that’s comparable (if not better) than your very own PFD. The front chest buckle makes it easy to put on and take off, and the durable Cordura fabric maintains longevity and withstands even the most excitable of adventure dogs.
Hurtta Sun Bug Blocker
The Hurtta Sun Bug Blocker offers your pooch the best of both worlds—protection from the sun and hungry bugs. The lightweight material keeps Fido cool and comfortable, while the UPF 40 rating offers defense from the sun’s harmful rays. If you don’t want to commit to a full jacket, try using this sunscreen.
Your little furry friend needs protection against harmful UV rays just as much as you do. Thanks to the Doggles ILS, Fido stays eyes safeguarded against the sun. These Doggles feature an interchangeable lens system (ILS), and all the lenses are shatter-proof (as well as anti-fog) and offer 100% UV protection. The flexible design lends a comfortable fit and is available in a variety of sizes to ensure they stay securely on Fido’s face.
Pro Tip: Watch for Watershed Laws
Some nature spaces have watershed laws that specifically state that dogs aren’t allowed. And while it might seem discriminatory, these laws are instated to prevent dog feces or urine from contaminating water sources. If you get caught in these watershed areas, you can get a pretty hefty fine.
Honorable Mention: West Paw Toys
Based out of Montana, West Paw Toys creates durable, pet-safe toys for just about all adventures under the sun. My dogs’ two favorite toys are the Frisbee and the floating ball. They’re super durable—I always keep at least one of them in the car when we leave home.
Me with my doggy!
Written by Monique Seitz-Davis
The SafeWise Team is here to help you keep your home and family safe. Whether you’re looking to pick a security system or identify and remove common risks in your home, we’re here to help you find the best products and well-researched answers. At SafeWise we combine our years of experience in home safety and security with user reviews and feedback to help take the guesswork out of living safe. Learn more