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The Do's and Dont's of Backpacking with Your Dog (Updated 2021)

Posted by Joseph Watson on
The Do's and Dont's of Backpacking with Your Dog (Updated 2021)

Can you think of any adventure that wouldn’t be better with your best furry friend by your side? We can’t! If you’re an adventurer and are considering a backpacking trip, the good news is that you don’t have to leave your pup at home.

Backpacking with your dog can take the experience to a whole new level! Here are some do’s and don’ts to make your trip easy and memorable. 


Do: Check Regulations and Laws 



Make sure the areas through which you’ll be backpacking are dog-friendly. Regulations vary by state and park, so it’s a good idea to do your research on this in advance. Make sure you know exactly where you and your pooch can and can’t go. Don’t assume that because you’ll be outdoors, it’s all dog-friendly! 

National parks and privately owned land can come with some strict rules and regs, and it will put a bit of a black mark on your trip if you get into trouble for trespassing. 


Do: Kit Your Dog Out 



I’m willing to bet that if you’re going on a backpacking trip, you have a fancy pack and gear to keep you safe and spritely on the go. If you’re taking your dog, you should make sure they’re well kitted out too! 

Some things you should consider adding to your dog’s backpacking kit include: 

  • Dog booties to protect their paws - our top choice is XSY&G Waterproof Dog Shoes. They’re adorable, non-slip, and breathable on your pup’s feet!
  • A decent harness and leash, like the matilor step-in dog harness with leash. It’s sturdy but the mesh construction makes it cool and breathable so your pup won’t overheat. 
  • A pack of treats for the road. 
  • Travel water and food bowls, like our favorite SLSON Collapsible Bowls. They’re BPA-free and odorless, very durable, and a huge space-saver! 
  • Their favorite kibble (enough for the duration of your trip). 
  • A dog bed; something soft and squishy is best, like the DOGHELIOS 'Trail-Barker'. It will keep your pooch warm when it’s cold, cool then down when it's hot, and is padded enough for them to sleep comfortably. It also folds down nice and small to carry! 

You most likely won’t be able to take things like your dog crate, or a full bag of kibble. You’ll need to get creative! 

Another thing you’ll need to be aware of is that your pup will tire out quicker than you will. To avoid having to carry an exhausted pup in your arms, it’s a great idea to invest in something like a doggy backpack!  

The K9 Sport Sack is well-ventilated, spacious enough to be comfy for a pup, and padded so they have some cushioning. Best of all, they’re made with love and the safety of our furry friends in mind. The Rover 2 even doubles as as backpacking pack when not being used by your dog. 

A backpack gets the nod over a sling or harness as it’s sturdy and rugged, and built for adventure! They’re also more comfortable and safer for both humans and dogs, so you can both enjoy the scenery without feeling discomfort or worrying that your pup is squished, chafing, or going to wriggle free and give you the slip.


Do: Stock Up On First Aid Supplies 



Accidents and illness can happen, although none of us want to think about it. First aid supplies are worthy of space in your pack. Rather have them and don’t use them than need them and not have them! 


  • Tweezers to remove splinters or ticks 
  • Gauze and saline solution 
  • Bandages in various sizes 
  • Antiseptic wipes and cream 
  • Eye wash and clean cotton wool 
  • Your dog’s vaccination records (just in case) 

Don’t: Let Your Dog Run Wild 



Although you know where you are and what to expect, your dog doesn’t. All they know is that they’re in new territory, with new things to sniff, strange animals, people, and other dogs all around. They’re bound to get excited! 
It’s advisable to keep your dog on leash. Even if they’re friendly and well-trained, you don’t want to find yourself in a position where your dog disappears into the wilderness chasing a squirrel or bowls over an irate stranger out of excitement.


Don’t: Forget To Clean Up After Them! 



Yes… You still need to clean up after your dog even if you’re out in the wild. You have two options: bag it or bury it

Remember, if you choose to bag your dog’s waste, you’ll need to carry it around with you until you find somewhere to dispose of it properly. 

Don’t be that person who leaves waste bags lying around, ruining the beautiful scenery! 




Backpacking with your dog doesn’t have to be stressful or intimidating! Just a bit of simple planning can lay the foundation for a fantastic trip. Prepare for some exciting bonding time with your pup! 

Photo by Vladimir Kudinov from Pexels

Photo by Eric Ward on Unsplash 

Image by Sven Lachmann from Pixabay 

Photo by Chewy on Unsplash 

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