Hiking is a great way to relax and also interact with nature. Have you ever wondered if you could take your dog with you on a hike? Yes! It is possible. In fact, that’s a great idea. Just like other forms of exercise, hiking comes with lots of health benefits, not just for you but also for your furry friend.
Here, I’ll take you through the various ways hiking, just like other alternative forms of exercise, can help keep your dog healthy. Also, if you’re looking for some tips for hiking with dogs, then this article is exactly what you need!
We’ll begin by looking at some of the health benefits of dog hiking.
Let’s get started!
Benefits for your dog
Exposes your dog to new things such as animals and various other stimuli.
Dogs in cities have fewer opportunities to interact with other animals. Yes, there are lots of facilities that pose a great danger to dogs, so they are always tied, and we don’t allow them to move too far from us. But then, her relationship with the environment is also brief.
Hiking is a great opportunity for your dog to improve its relationship with other animals that are in the countryside or the mountain as it has more freedom to run and track without worrying about the dangers that the city poses. Hiking allows your dog to smell, hear, and even see animals. This also helps your dog to discover new stimuli.
However, you need to keep in mind that our dog can be considered a predator by certain wild animals. So, there is the need to exercise extreme caution in the presence of animals that can hurt your pet when trying to defend their young (such as boar or even cattle).
One of the ways to do it is to tie your pet the first few times you go hiking, and only let go when you’re sure you know how she will react to the danger.
I also recommend that your dog has a minimum a good recall a professional trainer can help provide reliable recalls regardless of the distractions that are present.
Improves your dog’s health
Currently, diseases related to lack of exercise in our dogs are a widespread problem. Being able to walk the mountain at ease prevents obesity and other health issues such as cardiovascular, joint problems, osteoarthritis, etc.).
Hiking also helps to prevent anxiety. Going to the countryside or the mountains help to prevent hyperactivity or anxiety since such physical activity helps to improve blood circulation as well as other metabolic activities.
Also, hiking helps to keep your dog in shape since it offers dogs the opportunity to walk at a pace appropriate for their species.
Improves your dog’s mental balance
Hiking causes an increase in serotonin. This neurotransmitter is considered the chemical responsible for keeping our mood in balance. So, an increase in serotonin level decreases hyperactivity, stress, and anxiety of your pet. It also increases their capacity to pay attention and learn.
Hiking is ideal for dogs with certain behavioral problems.
Helps to strengthen your bond
In addition to the general health improvement, hiking is one exercise that gets you to spend time with your furry friend. Engaging in such activities together reinforces the relationship you have with our dogs and also builds mutual trust.
Improves your dog’s strength and physical condition
Just like other forms of exercise, hiking gradually improves your dog’s physical condition making her stronger and more agile than a sedentary dog.
Can all dogs go hiking?
Generally, while all dogs can benefit from exercise you have to understand your breed. Obviously certain breeds aren’t made for long trails and s a dog owner, you need to take some necessary preventive measures while considering the limits of your pet’s body and mind. Therefore, it is always recommended that you consult your trusted veterinarian before engaging your furry friend in a new physical activity.
Senior dogs and puppies cannot perform intense exercises and should receive main attention from their owners. Older dogs suffer from wear and tear on their joints and lose muscle mass, which decreases their physical strength. Their activities must be of low impact, always carried out moderately.
On the other hand, puppies still undergo some levels of development both in their body and mind, so they need soft and moderate exercises. Also, they can only engage in outdoor activities after completing their first cycle of vaccines and anti-parasitic treatment.
Tips for a successful dog hike
Taking the time to prepare for your hike is the best way to make sure you and your dog are coming home healthy!
We often think that our dogs have unlimited energy, but the reality is that just like us, they also have their limits. A dog training session may be necessary before a hike, which exposes it to short outings and long walks.
A prior dog training session will harden your dog’s legs, build up their stamina, and make sure they do not carry excessive weight.
Have enough food and water
Hiking takes a lot of energy. So, for a day hiking, you can give your dog some extra food during his last meal. During extreme activity days feed small multiple meals throughout the day in order to prevent bloat.
If you’re planning an overnight hike, you should take at least as much food as you normally would at home, and probably a little more to compensate for long walks you’ll make with your dog. Don’t forget to pack a small light bowl too!
Hiking in safety
While it is unlikely that anything will go wrong, when it comes to your dog’s health, it’s always best to plan for every possible eventuality. A small first aid kit can be helpful and should contain at least anti-ticks and sunscreen.
A consultation with your veterinarian before your outing would be a great idea. They can advise more on other essential equipment to include in the kit.
It is also recommended to have the contact of a nearby veterinarian so you can attend to your dog during emergency cases.
As always have fun as life is better with our four legged friends!