Having a furry pal at home brings a lot of benefits. Dog owners are less likely to suffer from depression than non-dog owners; they are sick less often and the act of petting dogs also lowers your heart rate and blood pressure. Some studies even show that dog owners get better sleep at night and are more likely to survive a heart attack.
While most pets have positive effects on your health, a dog gives you the extra benefit of exercise, as they need to be walked and played with lots of times a day. This means that most dog owners get at least the recommended minimum of exercise a day (30 mins), which lowers the risks for heart diseases and also keeps them in an overall better shape than cat owners or people without pets.
Hiking with your dog can be a great way to give you and your dog that extra exercise we all need. It’s a lot of fun, but it’s also important to stay safe.
Check the trail rules – dogs aren’t always allowed! You can find dog friendly trails here.
Before you go for a hike, make sure you have your dog’s favourite toy, a canine first aid kit, poop bags, an extra lead and bedding with you. Don’t forget to check your dog’s paws often for burrs and thorns. As some dogs have sensitive pads on the bottom of their paws, it might be a good idea to get them some doggy boots.
To protect your doggy from troublesome ticks and mosquitos, apply flea and tick medication well in advance of your trip so it has time to cover the whole body. We also recommend a thorough check and brush after the hike!
Water is probably the most important thing to bring when you are on a hike! Both you and your furry friend need it, so don’t wait until your dog is panting, give him water each time you drink yourself. Heat stroke can affect our canine companions and is a very serious condition. You can find fold-able bowls and water bottles here.
Protecting Your Dog
Be extra careful if you are hiking in a new place. It’s a new environment for you and your dog and there might also be other animals in the area. The best advice is to keep your dog on a lead, and in a lot of areas it is actually the law.
Extra Hiking Gear
It might be a better experience for you (and your dog) if you are hiking with a dog harness or a gentle leader if your pooch is a bit of a puller. A collar might feel uncomfortable for them if they are pulling a lot, and you’d also avoid your pup pulling you down hills and rocky terrains with a harness!
Don’t Leave Any Trace
Bring extra poo bags! You might not be surprised to learn that exercise gets the digestive system going! Don’t forget to be a responsible doggy parent by picking up after your dog and don’t leave litter on the trail. Read more on why it’s important to scoop up after your dog on our blog.
Most importantly – have a pawsome day on the trails!
Have you taken your furry friend on a hike before? Comment below and tell us where you’ve been!