Please note that I am NOT sponsored by any of these brands. They are products my dogs have used for years and we truly love.
I wanted to share with you a few of the best products that Bailey, Roxy & I can't live without. By clicking the links I provide, you'll be helping my website earn a small commission to go towards the cost of website fees & hosting. As an Amazon Associate I earn a commission from qualifying purchases. I have spent thousands of hours on this website to bring you detailed hiking & adventure information for free, so I really appreciate any amount going to the expense of website fees and hosting. Thank you.
Tick Remover If you or your dog have ever had a tick and tried removing it with tweezers or some other method, you know how difficult it can be. They're slippery, you have to be careful not to break the head, and if it's on your dog you risk pulling out some fur. If you've never had a tick in you or your dog, you're very lucky, but I still recommend having this on hand. This $10 tool has been a life safer. It's easy to carry on hikes and makes removing ticks nearly foolproof. Ticks can carry Lyme Disease and other illnesses, so it's very important to remove them immediately, and correctly.
Breathable dog muzzle (for preventing foxtails!) Roxy loves to sniff and eat grass. She used to get foxtails up her nose or in her mouth constantly, and it is very dangerous and can lead to very expensive vet bills. The seed heads have barbed bristles which you've probably seen stuck in your clothing or shoes. The bristles can penetrate a dog's skin, fur or ears, and when inhaled, they can get stuck in the nose or migrate through a dog's body. This can lead to infections, abscesses and even punctured internal organs.
During spring and summer trails are covered in foxtails and it's impossible to keep her away from them. Even when we go on neighborhood walks she is able to find garbage and eat it in the blink of an eye. I've tried several things to help with no luck, but finally found this breathable dog muzzle. It's mesh and larger than her muzzle so she can even open her mouth to fully pant and sniff the ground, but the mesh barrier prevents her from eating anything or getting foxtails sniffed up her nose. We've had it for years and she wears it on multiple walks every day for at least 50% of the year. The first week I gave her a treat before and after wearing it each time, and she got used to it and doesn't mind it anymore. It stays on well because there are multiple adjustable straps as well as a velcro muzzle adjustment. Roxy is a size medium and our larger Pitbull is a large. For less than $15 it's the cheapest, best solution I could find and solves all our foxtail problems. Depending on the size of your dog's muzzle, this may or may not work for you. Please size correctly so that your dog has room to open his or her mouth to pant. I remove it periodically in safe areas to give her a break, especially if it’s warm out, and we do not hike with it on in very hot weather. If this is not a good solution for your dog, I encourage you to find something that works. I realize this has some bad reviews, but I think it may be due to owners trying to use this to protect aggressive dogs. Please note that this is very flexible and soft, so it will not work to protect a dog from biting or chewing. If you have an aggressive or reactive dog, you will need something stronger for protection.
Dog Life Jacket If you spend anytime with your dog on a boat, in the lake, ocean or a pool, a life jacket is a must. My dogs are all great swimmers, but anything can happen if they get tired or are caught in a wave or strong current. My oldest dog loves to swim so much that we can barely keep her out of the water, but she would swim until exhaustion. So this life vest gives me peace of mind. I originally bought this for Bailey many years ago (size XL) but it has held up perfectly over the years and I use it for Roxy and Keisha as well. It comes in many colors.
Pet Car Restraints If you're traveling with you dog, I cannot stress the importance of having your pet restrained. It's not just for your dog's safety, but also your own safety. A 60-pound projectile flying at you is going to cause some serious injuries. If you had a child, you would have a car seat, so you need a restraint for your dog as well. Don't risk both of your lives. or Roxy, I use a harness we have had for years and a clip-on seat belt that clicks into our car's seat belt. Unfortunately these are old and not made anymore. All restraints are not created equal, and you cannot pick one based on Amazon reviews. Subaru sponsored crash tests conducted by the Center for Pet Safety and found that some brands lack quality control. You do not want your cheap harness failing during an accident, or your crate to fly apart upon impact. I have linked the top performers below:
Pet Light I purchased one of these lights years ago, and it's one of the best pup products I've ever used. It's inexpensive, it lasts a long time, and we receive a lot of compliments on the light and its changing colors. It changes to red, blue, green, yellow, white and purple. It's bright enough to use for night walks, and it's even saved me while camping, as Bailey follows me around and works as a personal hands-free light around the campsite. It clips directly onto your dog's collar and is less than $7:
Pet Waste Bags You probably go through pet waste bags pretty fast like I do. I try to re-use bread bags and produce bags, but I always need more. I received a huge box of rolls of bags as a gift, and they’re the best bags I’ve ever used. These bags are strong, leak-proof, and you can buy up to 1,400 at a time. This is the lowest price for bag I could find.
Raincoat I know, I know, a raincoat? Ridiculous, right? No. I purchased one of these for a winter hike on a road trip, just hoping it would help keep Bailey somewhat dry and keep some of the mud off of her and so that my car wouldn't get destroyed. I figured for $10 I couldn't lose, but it's one of the best $10 I've spent. It's lightweight and folds up into a small, compact square, so I just keep it in my trunk in case of unexpected rain. It keeps Bailey's entire back dry, which is where her thickest and hardest-to-dry fur is located. The hood does not stay up, but it covers the rest of her and straps securely on. Bailey also doesn't mind wearing it once we're out on the trails, which is surprising, because she usually doesn't like to wear anything. Bailey wears an XXL:
Dog Food I mentioned in the "about us" section that when I first adopted Bailey, she had a lot of stomach problems. I started by making her chicken and rice based stews for every meal, which proved to be very time consuming. I then spent about a year slowing integrating different dry dog foods into her diet, combined with rice, but a lot of them did not agree with her. I tried just about every expensive grain-free dog food on the market: Blue Buffalo, Avoderm, Taste of the Wild, Orijen...you name it). Prescription Science Diet worked for her, but was very expensive. I stumbled upon some reviews for Purina Pro Plan, and I didn't initially think much of Purina, but I tried it and am never going back to those other dog foods. Bailey no longer has diarrhea or spits up, so it's given me peace of mind and it's been easier on my wallet. Amazon has it at a great price (often less expensive than even the pet store sale price), and free shipping with Amazon Prime, so it couldn't be easier for us. All dogs are different, but if your dog has similar stomach problems, I hope this works for you too.
Paw Protectors I originally purchased these because Bailey cut her foot and had an open sore. We both still wanted to go hiking, so I bandaged it up and put one of these booties on to protect the bandage. At first Bailey walked awkwardly and didn't like it, but once she got out on the hiking trails she forgot she was wearing it. These came in very handy during another hike, when I underestimated the distance and weather conditions. We left at 5 A.M. but were not able to get back to the car before the sun began heating up the trails. Bailey started doing a "dance" on the trails because they were so hot that they were burning her paws. I put these on her and we were able to safely get back to the car. I like that these booties stay on well, they have a thick pad to protect the paw, they're easy to put on, and they can also be used in the snow. Although they're not the cheapest option, they also won't fall apart like other booties, so in my opinion, they're worth the price tag.
Inflatable Solar Lantern I was gifted this by a good friend, and it's become a permanent fixture on my backpack. It weighs virtually nothing, so you can leave it on your backpack (attached by a carabiner) all day to charge in the sun. It inflates quickly to create a large lantern that you can hang from your tent, lasts for hours, and has settings to adjust brightness, and even to blink red. This has saved me many times when I end up stuck on a trail at dusk, and I even use it when I'm walking Bailey late at night.
I know this isn't dog-related, but you need good shoes to take your pup on hikes, and I get a lot of questions about shoes. I favor orthopedic shoes (that don't look like orthopedic shoes) to protect my feet. If I wear bad shoes, my feet are in terrible pain the next day. I know I may be too young for orthopedic shoes, but it doesn't matter to me. These are my two go-to pairs. They are like walking on clouds and they are cute (you cannot tell they are orthopedic shoes):
Walking Shoes These are my favorite shoes that I wear everyday, but I only recommend them for walks, as unfortunately the bottoms don't have a lot of traction. I definitely wouldn't recommend them for steep hills or mud, but they are super comfortable for everyday wear. They come with insoles and adjusters that you can cut and add to adjust comfort. I even recommended the male version to my father, who has foot issues, and he says these are the best and most comfortable shoes he has ever worn. Occasionally Orthofeet offers discount codes (during holidays, etc.) if you order directly through them.
Hiking Shoes For hiking, I definitely need something more robust. These shoes have lots of traction, ankle support and Gore-Tex, so they will keep your feet dry when hiking in wet or muddy conditions. The traction is outstanding, and they have saved numerous potential slip and falls. They are also extremely comfortable, and I can hike in them for 10+ miles without pain the next day. I bought my husband the male version of these, and he agrees they are the best. These are a little pricey, but they have lasted longer than other brands and are definitely superior in my opinion. They are also quite stylish, and blue is my favorite color. They are not sold on Amazon, and you may need to find a newer model because I've had mine for so long, but they are made by Hoka Shoes and the model is "Sky Toa."