Good pet owners know it’s important to plan ahead for your pet’s needs on any trip, but even more so when heading out to the back country. Aside from the basics of water and dog food, it’s always a good idea to pack a few extras in the event of an accident or inclement weather. Packing your pooch a bag of necessities can make a big difference in your pup’s comfort and wellness when out in the park land or local camp site.

1. Doggie Seat Belt

Remember your dogs safety while traveling to a hiking destination. There are a variety of ways you can secure your dog in your vehicle, from crates, to baskets to a traditional seatbelt.

2. Car Seat Covers

You’ll probably be getting muddy, sandy, wet etc., keep your car clean without having to worry. A small investment in a waterproof car cover can make all the difference in keeping the vehicle tidy. Heres a car seat cover for dogs we’ve found quite handy.

3. Food and Treats

Don’t leave it all in the car. Pack puppy snacks in your backpack for the trails. This is important while hiking, not only to keep up your dogs energy level while walking, but also taking into consideration the possibility of becoming stranded or, worst case scenario, lost.  Treats for your dog can also reward good behavior on the trail such as a successful response to trail etiquette. Heres some snacks we love:

3. Water

Same as food, your dog will become thirsty while on the trail. Remember to bring adequate water for your pups activity level, size, age and the weather. Cesar Millan, the “dog whisperer” says an average dog needs to drink between 8.5 to 17 ounces of water per 10 pounds per day. To translate: A 50 pound dog needs between 42 and 84 ounces of liquid refreshment to stay happy and hydrated . During times of extreme heat of activity, he will need more.  So plan accordingly. There are some handy doggie bottles to transport water. Here’s a 12 oz. we love.

4. Leash, Collar and Harness

Most places will require your dog to be on a leash, even if for part of the area. Always remember to bring it along, as well as your dogs collar and/or harness with tags. Ruffwear offers a great variety of gear that will hold up to the places you’ll be exploring! Make sure all the information on the dog tags is up-to-date with current contact information in the event you are separated. Petsmart offers a quick machine to help you get started with your dog’s tag!

5. Cool Vest or Heat Coat

Depending on the time of year, its important to ensure your dog is the right temperature. Cool vests are a great tool when in hot climates. Likewise, remember to keep your pup warm with waterproof jackets

6. Boots

With a little bit of training, your dog’s paws can have the ultimate protection. Just like humans, hot asphalt can burn your pups paws, while ice and snow can cause frost bite. Take paw protection into consideration before setting off on a hike. Check out these booties to help get you started!

7. First Aid Kit

This might be one of the most important items to pack. The essentials of a first aid kit can save your dogs life – and possibly yours! 

8. Waste Bags

Remember to leave no trace while on the trail! We have a separate article and interview on the importance of keeping parks clean of animal and dog waste. PLEASE do your part. Take a moment to pick up after your pet, biodegradable bags like these are a great option!

9. Plan Ahead

Know where you’re headed when you go on your trip to the great outdoors. Take some time to review maps and plan your route, whether you’re traveling the fastest or the most scenic route to your destination. National Park Paws has helpful guides, including pet rules and park regulations for all your favorite nationally protected lands.

While we’ve included a few links for pet products, they are provided as ideas only – to consider for your dog’s travel bag. National Park Paws is a non-profit and does not endorse any company or products.