When I was growing up, I had a great dog named Tiger (full name: Tiger Pirate Furious Ferocious Double-Trouble Dirty Dog Norton).
Tiger was a pretty smart dog. When he was told to stay out of a particular room, he would back into it so that it appeared he was leaving. When my parents moved from Indiana to Maryland, he somehow managed to escape from his crate on the train and hung out at a Baltimore police station until my father was alerted to his presence there.
Why the police station and not a deli or a pet supply store? Only Tiger knew, and he wasn’t talking. But it got him a write-up in the papers.
But I never took him on a long hike up a mountain, and now, reading this guest post from Sarah Jones, I regret that. Especially now that I have two cats, and they’re not going anywhere.
If you have a dog or dogs, you’re no doubt used to walking them at least twice a day. But Sarah makes the case for taking them along on serious hikes. I’ll let Sarah, who blogs for Crazy Pet Guy, explain.
By Sarah Jones
Hiking With Dogs: The Best Feeling Ever
Climbing to the top of the mountain is both a literal goal and a metaphorical goal that many of us have in our daily lives. This is probably because we know that at the top of mountains, glorious things await us.
From eternal bragging rights to the most spectacular panoramic views that truly display nature in all of its beauty, hiking up mountains offers a one of a kind window into the world.
Now you no longer have to do this alone, nor do you have to attempt to coordinate a group hike with all of your friends or family member’s schedules. Simply grab your dog and head towards a trail for some of the most unbelievable moments of your life.
Today, we are going to break down the many benefits of hiking with your pets and how you can do it, too.
Why hike with dogs
For older adults who want to go out and explore nature but don’t feel up to the challenge of doing it on their own, having a furry best friend along can be the answer.
Aside from the fact that hiking is a fantastic workout for both you and your dog, it also allows you both to reconnect with nature and, most importantly, each other.
Furthermore, hiking with dogs allows you to meet other hikers with dogs and your dog gets to engage in socialization with the other dogs along the trail.
Hiking also allows you and your dog to tone and strengthen muscles and burn fat, which is extremely essential, especially during this time when obesity and weight gain is a crisis not just affecting humans but our pets as well.
Hiking trails will also broaden your dog’s scenery and scope, helping to alleviate some of the everyday boredom or stress that he or she may be experiencing at home.
Perhaps best of all is that long hikes help to use up the excessive energy that is normally left to fester within our dogs, leading them to do annoying things like dig up the garden or chew through the shoe cupboard.
How to go about hiking with dogs
As always, before embarking on any kind of expedition with your dog you should check in with his vet to make sure that your pup is performing at the top of his game and that he will be able to efficiently and safely complete the hike with you.
Make sure that your dog is aware of basic commands and that he should not be pulling on his leash as this can lead to injuries for you.
Also ensure that you pack either in your or your dog’s backpack, a good supply of snacks, treats and clean drinking water, along with other essentials like a first-aid kit made with dogs in mind or a flashlight, if you are planning on staying out after dark on the trails.
Does your dog need hiking boots? If you’re dubious, check out this comprehensive piece on the topic from NoLongerWild.com.
Some prior knowledge of the route you will take is advised, not only to make sure that the length is appropriate for your dog and you, but also because having access to rivers or waterfalls and being kept away from harmful fauna and certain animals on the trails should be a priority.
For ideas of where to take your dog, the National Parks are always an option; National Parks Seniors Passes are available to help cut down on costs if you’ve reached age 62.
State parks are another good possibility – anywhere there’s a trail open to dogs and, preferably, a good mountain to climb.
Lower your stress levels, bond with your pet and see the great outdoors, all on a hike. The benefits are endless for this simple activity, so what’s stopping you?
Head out the door with your dog today and embrace the great outdoors.
Bio: Sarah writes for Crazy Pet Guy. She believes that pets should be treated the same way as humans – with love and care. Learn more about pets on her blog today.
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