Trending Topics

When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Thank you for reading and supporting our efforts.

8 investments worth every penny for K-9 officers

From quality gloves to Tecnu skin cleanser, here are some essential items to help make you more successful with your furry partner

Duck Blind (5).jpg

As the K-9 coordinator for my agency, I have purchased thousands of dollars of equipment for the K-9 teams I supervise. As with all law enforcement agencies, our budgets are usually limited.

Many K-9 units across the country (including my own) are primarily funded by donations. After continuous in-service training, food costs, endless veterinary bills and much more, my budget is depleted.

In many law enforcement specialty units, inadequate budgets leave the individual unit members responsible for buying the proper tools to help make their unit successful. In light of this reality, I sat down with my team to come up with eight essential pieces of equipment for a K-9 handler.

1. Good-quality pair of gloves

When it comes to line control during detection deployments, tracking and longline searching, you are going to want a good-quality pair of gloves to protect your hands from rub burns and blistering. Minimizing injury and discomfort will enable you and your partner to perform for longer periods.

  • Level 5 cut-resistant
  • Heavy duty material on the palms and fingers
  • Optimal dexterity, impact protection and breathable

2. Ice chest

There have been many occasions in my career as a law enforcement officer where I was stuck on a barricade or in the middle of nowhere with limited water and no food. This is a frequent occurrence for a K-9 handler. Purchasing a decent-sized, heavy-duty ice chest or cooler to keep extra water and snacks in for extended or hot weather deployments is a must. For snacks, I recommend granola bars and beef jerky.

  • Heavy-duty blow-molded construction provides advanced durability
  • Extra-thick foam walls and insulated lid provide five days of ice retention
  • Durable, rubberized lid T-latches provide a secure closure and lock in the cold
  • Triple-point grab handle features stainless steel reinforcement and rubber grip
  • Threaded drain plug gives you the option to hook up to your water hose for easy draining
  • Made with 100% beef and easy to chew
  • Meat snacks require no refrigeration
  • Buy in bulk for a great way to get protein
  • Includes a mix of 10 regular size CLIF BAR and 10 CLIF BAR minis
  • Non-GMO and are made with whole food, plant-based ingredients
  • Crafted with a mix of protein, fat and carbohydrates

3. Headlamps and flashlights

Inevitably, as a K-9 handler, you will be called on to conduct an open area search or track in the middle of the night. Having a good headlamp will come in handy as you are going to need a light and your hands need to remain free to work your partner.

I recommend spending the money to purchase an extra weapon light and mount it to a ballistic helmet. Make sure you have other light sources as well, so when your battery dies on your primary light source you can continue on.

  • Primary white LED with a 1600 lumen max that can reach over 203 yards and comes with an auxiliary red LED and high CRI neutral LED
  • Direct USB-C 2A fast rechargeable, supporting extra long run time of 100 hours on low
  • Impact resistance of 2 meters, IP68 waterproof and can withstand temperatures from -31° F to 113° F
  • Comes with a reflective strap with a built-in silicone strip for grip
  • Flexible stalk to aim the beam
  • Rotary mode selector switch
  • IR/IFF beacon
  • Push button switch for on/off intensity control
Download this Police1 flashlights buying guide to learn key steps for product selection, purchasing and implementation

4. Tactical dump pouch

K-9 handlers, as with all law enforcement officers, carry a lot of stuff. Having a tactical rollup dump pouch attached to your Sam Browne belt is essential. The pouch can be used to hold all those accessory items for deployments and training days, including extra leashes, water, flashlights, dog booties, toys and treats (for you and your partner).

  • Made of durable 500D Cordura Nylon and superior elastic rubber with water-resistant coating
  • One adjustable main drawstring opens top molle utility dump pouch pocket and one front magic sticker pocket
  • Rolled up dump pouch is designed to rolled up and stay out of the way until you need to use it
Download this Police1 duty gear buying guide to learn key steps for product selection, purchasing and implementation

5. Reward toys

Find the right toy or toys that create a high work drive in your K-9 partner to be used as a reward when they do good work. Some K9s only need one toy while others need a different toy for different performance drives, such as patrol work, detection and tracking. Once you find the toys that create the right kind of drive in your partner, buy as many of them as you can afford, as your partner will tear them up on a regular basis.

K-9 handlers participating in the recent 32nd Annual LVMPD K-9 Trials in Las Vegas took some time out backstage to share their pups’ favorite toys

6. First Aid kit for you and your partner

Minor injuries for you and your partner are part of the gig when it comes to working on K-9 deployments. Have a small first aid kit that can fit in your cargo pocket or dump pouch. Your first aid kit should include a plethora of Band-Aids, QuikClot bleeding control dressing, a tourniquet, a pair of tweezers to remove splinters and a soft muzzle or triangular bandage.

Some of the products included (plus more):
  • Tactical Nylon Molle IFAK Bag
  • Combat Application Tourniquet GEN-7
  • Pressure dressing, compressed gauze and chest seals
  • Universal bandage pack

7. Tecnu original outdoor skin cleanser

Much like being stuck in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the night, it is inevitable that your partner will track a suspect right through some poison oak or poison ivy. When that happens, it is crucial to decontaminate yourself and your equipment as soon as you possibly can. Tecnu does the trick. Then go back to the station to take a shower and wash your partner too.

  • Completely removes the rash and itch-causing oil from your skin
  • Can also be used to remove urushiol, tree sap and skunk spray from clothes, tools, gear and pets
  • Apply Tecnu to the affected skin, rub vigorously for two minutes, rinse with water and pat to dry

8. Boots with ankle support

As a K-9 handler, conducting an extended open area search or track you need a good pair of comfortable boots. You are also going to want to ensure these boots have proper ankle support to prevent injury on unforgiving ground and muddy terrain. Depending on where you live, you might want your boots to be waterproof too. In Southern California, we don’t get much rain, so this isn’t as big of a concern for our K-9 handlers.

  • Two-zone lacing system with adjustable fit and ankle protectors
  • Waterproof CROSSTECH liner
  • Anti-slip, shock-absorbing sole with resistance to fuel, oil and heat
  • Insulated soles for comfort in cold or hot weather

Bonus: Odor elimination

Odor Eliminating Spray for Body Armor Odor, Tactical Gear and K-9 Safe

Police1 reader suggestions

NEXT: Check out our curated list of 10 essential pieces of tactical gear for K-9s:

We’ve curated a list of 10 essential pieces of tactical gear for K-9s, including eye and ear protection, harnesses and more

This article, originally posted on May 3, 2021, has been updated.

Lieutenant Jarrett Morris began his career at the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office (California) in 2005. He has worked multiple assignments throughout his career, including custody operations, patrol operations, gang investigator, narcotics investigator, coroner’s detective sergeant, K9 unit coordinator, mobile field force leader, and peer support coordinator. Jarrett has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice administration from Union Institute and University.

Currently a Lieutenant, Jarrett serves as the Sheriff’s Adjutant and manages the Coroner’s Bureau. He oversees the agency’s wellness and peer support programs and works closely with the Major County Sheriff’s of America (MCSA).

Jarrett is the founder and CEO of Dose of Ethos, LLC. He is dedicated to helping law enforcement officers build a resilient lifestyle through wellness, fitness, nutrition, discipline, and a positive mindset. His ultimate goal is to be a better spouse, parent, and law enforcement officer. At, you will find content to make you a more resilient cop, along with life coaching services and classes.