You need simple basic dog walking gear, regardless if you are just walking your dog around town or are stating a dog walking business. Don’t over think the essentials and get buy a designer dog walking bag or utility belt.
My system for the past 10 years of walking dogs is simple: comfortable boots, foul-weather gear, and dog bags. And that is just for walking my dog. And on hot days you’ll need water and a collapsible bowl.
If you are starting a dog walking business, you’ll also want carabiners and cargo pants or shorts that have belt loops.
Let’s review what is considered dog walking essentials
Keep in mind that my opinions on essential gear for dog walking is for short dog walks. If you plan on doing a day hike with your dog, then you will need additional gear. But if you are a hiker, you know all about gear.
You’ll see products like designer bags & fanny packs, utility belts, leather dog waste (poo) bag holders, and pet waste (poo) pickup tools. Really? Let’s take a look at these “Essential” dog walking items.
Dog walking bag
There isn’t much to say here. I’m not sure why you would need a bag. How much stuff do you need to carry with when you are walking dogs?
I assume having some kind of bag would only apply to someone walking a dog who does not have pockets. Or maybe you left home without your pants. But in that case, not having a dog walking bag is not your biggest problem.
Bags are mostly for female dog walkers or dog owners. I haven’t seen yoga pants or yoga shorts with pockets, so in this case, you’ll need a bag. Many of the female dog walkers I see have fanny packs.
Dog walking fanny pack (waist pack)
This I suppose is another female only dog walking essential. You need to carry your phone, poo bags, keys, and dog treats somewhere.
Fanny bags used to be a joke but they seem to be coming back. You won’t see me wearing one, but they do have a practical application.
I’m into bushcraft and wilderness survival. Everyone in the bushcraft world knows about Otzi the Iceman and the gear he carried. He is the 5000-year-old human found in the Swiss Alps.
He had a fire starting kit in a belt pouch. I suppose a fanny pack is a modern day equivalent to a belt pouch. So I give this one a thumbs up for Otzi, though it’s not for me personally.
Dog walking utility belt
Unless you are Luke Skywalker or Batman (or wish you were), then why would you ever walk around with a utility belt? Why don’t you have pockets?
If you are a dog walker who does pack walks then I suppose the belts that have leash connections are useful. But the fancy dog walking belts with all the trimmings just look ridiculous. I can’t comment further on utility belts since I’ve never used them while dog walking.
However, there is one aspect of these belts that are a problem. And that is that you tend to not have your hands on the leash when it is connected to a belt.
Take a look at my article Dog Walking Safety Tips, but there are times you need to yank your dog out of harm’s way. That’s not so easy if the leash is slack and your hands aren’t on it.
My breakdown of dog walking essentials
Let’s keep it simple. I need to take care of my money makers: my feet. Here is my list of essentials for professional dog walking:
1. Comfortable sneakers or hiking boots are a must for dog walkers
I’ve tried many hiking boots, but they tend to leave my feet aching. Keen Targhee II hiking boots are my most essential dog walking gear. If my feet hurt after a day of dog walking, it’s not because of the boots.
2. Poop bags and a rubber band
That’s all I need. Just a roll of poo bags held together with a rubber band. I keep them in my right cargo pocket.
3. Cargo pants or shorts (extra pockets)
You need lots of pockets. Six pockets are the bare minimum for me.
Here is my setup: my phone is my left pocket, money in my right. A pen and the cards I leave for my clients are in my left front cargo pocket. My right cargo pocket has a roll of dog bags and dog treats. My wallet is in my back left pocket and I try to keep 1 dog bag in my right back pocket.
4. Belt loops and carabiners
I use carabiners clipped onto my belt loops for the keys of all my clients. I’ve only had keys fall off of the carabiner a few times. Usually, I hear them fall, but once I did not. I backtracked and found them. It would probably be better to have the screw-locking type of carabiner than the spring swing gate types.
5. Foul weather gear
This one is about as important as quality footwear. From bitter cold to deluges from the sky, you need to stay dry and warm. Otherwise, you’ll be miserable or end up getting sick.
6. Collapsible water bowl and water
This one is a personal piece of gear for my dog. He is a black Staffordshire Terrier and he overheats easily.
Now you are probably wondering how I carry the water and bowl. Well, I could stuff the collapsible bowl in my cargo pocket and just carry the water in my hand. But I don’t. I carry both in a small backpack or a carrier sling bag. I only carry that stuff when I am taking him for a long walk which is not far off a day hike.
7. Dog treats
What else needs to be said here. You have to give the dogs a treat for being good. I always give my dogs a treat as I’m leaving. They are always eager to see me the next day.
Keep it simple: you don’t need a dog walking bag or utility belt or anything like that. Take care of your feet first. Secondly, take care of the dog. If you feel you need top of the line gear for you and the dog(s) you walk, then buy it. But you do not need any of that gear to walk dogs.
If you are a dog walker, take a look at my article Starting a Dog Walking Business Part 4: Tips and Tricks for some insights that may help you.