Hiking is a great way to relax and also interact with nature.
But have you ever wondered if you could take your dog with you on a hike? Yes! Of course you can!
In fact, just like other forms of exercise, hiking comes with lots of health benefits not just for you but also for your furry friend.
At Malibu Dog Hotel, we offer hiking for our guests and they just love it!
There are various ways hiking with your pet, and, 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 post what you need!
We’ll begin by looking at some of the health benefits of dog hiking.
Benefits For Your Dog
Improves Interaction with other Animals and Helps Discover New Stimuli
Dogs in cities have fewer opportunities to interact with other animals freely, as we always carry them, or they are on a leash, and we are rushing around in a hurry.
In addition, our pooches relationship with the environment is also brief.
This is because there are lots of facilities that pose a great danger to dogs, so they are always leashed and unable to move too far from us.
Hiking is a great opportunity for dogs to improve their relationship with other animals that are in the countryside, or on a mountain, as your dog has more freedom to run and track without worrying about the dangers that the city poses.
Hiking allows your pooch to smell, hear and even see animals. This also helps your dog to discover new stimuli.
However, you need to keep in mind that your 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 boars or even cattle).
One of the ways to do this is to leash your pet the first few times you go hiking.
If you have made sure you are allowed to unleash your pet while out and about on your hike, only then let go when you’re sure you know how they will react to the danger.
Improves Your Dog’s Health
Currently, diseases related to lack of exercise in our dogs are a widespread problem. Being able to walk mountains and hiking trails at ease prevent obesity, and other related issues such as cardiovascular, joint problems, anf osteoarthritis.
Hiking also helps to prevent anxiety. Going to the countryside or the mountains expose your dog to new sights and sounds, and can also 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, and that goes for animals too.
So, an increase in serotonin level decreases anxiety, stress, and hyperactivity of your pet. It also increases their capacity to learn and pay attention.
It is an ideal activity for dogs with certain behavioral problems because in the mountainous environment, they don’t only exercise physically, they also exercise their mind when they smell, listen, and search.
Improves Your Dog’s Strength and Physical Condition
Just like other forms of exercise, hiking gradually improves your dog’s physical condition making it stronger and more agile than a sedentary dog.
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 your dogs and also builds mutual trust.
Can All Dogs Go Hiking?
Generally, all dogs, regardless of breed, sex or age, can go hiking. However, as a dog owner, you need to take some necessary preventive measures while considering the limits of their 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 in a moderate way.
On the other hand, puppies still undergo some levels of development both in their body and mind, so they need soft and moderate exercises. In addition, 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 training session may be necessary before a hike, starting with short outings and long walks.
This will harden your dog’s legs, build up their stamina and make sure they do not carry too much excess 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.
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!
Hike 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 prior to 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.
Your dog doesn’t just need exercise, they also need rest as well. Check out our blog on how to give your dog an amazing massage, which is something we do at Malibu Dog Hotel as the perfect chill out treatment for your pooch.