Picture this: it’s a gorgeous Saturday. You have nothing scheduled, and you want to spend time outdoors, with your beloved Fido. You decide to go on a hike (excellent choice!), and you’re gathering the essentials for your three-mile jaunt in the wilderness. Water, First Aid Kit, etc…this isn’t your first rodeo. As you’re collecting items for your pack, you go over to their treat drawer and stare.
What’s the best thing to pack? What are the best dog treats for hiking?
Simply put, the best dog treats to take on the trail will depend on the length of your hike. Are you going on a quick three-mile, hour walk or an overnight trip? Think about your pet’s normal appetite during the amount of time allotted, then consider that they will be strenuously exercising.
Perfect dog treats for hiking involve three things:
1) They pack easily in a small container you can fit in your/your dog’s bag.
2) They won’t make a mess in your bag.
3) They’ll support your dog’s exertion level over your hike!
If you’re anxious about what to pack, always consult with your vet about your dog’s calorie intake and exercise levels. Otherwise, use the list of treats and food below as a guide that you’ll hone over a lifetime of happy trails with your dog!
Note: This list is not ranked in any particular order.
Treat Idea #1: Kibble
Do you feed your dog dry food? Their kibble is proven to be an effective hiking treat–you know they eat it! Some guides recommend mixing 20% puppy food into the kibble to increase the calorie content for the duration of the hike. So if you normally feed your dog a cup of food for a meal, pack about 3/4 cup of their regular food and 1/4 cup of puppy kibble or dehydrated meat meal toppers. Increased protein will help your dog’s muscles recover from the hike more quickly.
Treat Idea #2: Dog Food Rolls
If you feed your dog various types of wet food (raw, canned, etc.) you might look into dog food rolls as perfect dog treats for hiking. Many of these rolls are formulated to be a complete meal (per AAFCO regulations) and are easy for travel. Just slice into small cubes, and then pack as a perfect “on-the-go” treat. Many different varieties of dog food rolls all have high levels of meat-based protein, ideal for both long and day hikes.
Treat Idea #3: Training Treats
Training Treats are defined as small, pea-sized treats that are soft and easily digestible. For quick walks, these quick bites are the perfect accompaniment to reward good trail behavior. Redbarn’s Turkey Flavored Protein Puffs, with less than one calorie per treat and 75 percent protein, are a great choice!
Pro Tip: To help your dog’s energy levels stay high, choose a treat with a large amount of meat (make sure it is one of the first items on the ingredient list!), then give them a treat and water at rest stops.
Treat Idea #4: Dog Biscuits
Dog biscuits or dog cookies are another easy-to-pack, ideal treat for short hikes. Dog biscuits tend to have higher amounts of sugar and are quickly digested, making them one of the best dog treats for hiking.
Treat Idea #5: Bars
Familiar with energy bars? Dog bars are a very similar concept. Each bar is formulated to work as either a meal replacement or meal supplement. Better yet, there are recipes made with ingredients to fuel up both you and your dog so that you can pack less. As we mentioned earlier, the most important thing to remember when choosing the type of bar you want to pack is the duration of your trip!
Treat Idea #6: Jerky Treats
Jerky treats for dogs are dehydrated meat treats, perfect for hiking trips. Pick your dog’s favorite protein (mine loves beef) and look for a jerky treat free from artificial preservatives or additives. Jerky treats are usually high in protein and chewy, so make sure your dog is finished chewing before you resume walking. Otherwise, they could have trouble digesting.
We believe these six dog treats will help your dog keep their energy up and have a fantastic time hiking. As with any activity involving your dog, make sure to consult your vet if you have any questions. Lastly, make sure to bring some poop bags along, so you don’t “litter!”
If we’re missing your dog’s favorite type of treat to take hiking, feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org or leave it in the comments below! Happy Trails!