Winter is here, but that doesn’t mean you and your dog need to stay inside. A dog needs both physical and mental daily exercise. Hiking with your dog in the winter can be a lot of fun. But, before you walk out the front door with your dog in tow, you and your dog need to be prepared for your winter hike. Below are some suggestions to get you and your dog ready for your Arctic adventure.
- Physical Abilities– Before setting up to climb Mount Everest, you want to truly understand both your limits and the limits of our dog. Winter hikes can be much more extreme and taxing than summer hikes. Plan small and increase your hikes over time. Hiking a flat winter path can be just as much fun as scaling a mountain.
- Backup Plan– If you are planning a weekend getaway with your dog and when you arrive the weather is just too treacherous for a hike, have a plan B or even C. Even if that means taking your dog to a pet store for some fun shopping and sniffing, then cuddle time in the hotel. The important part is that you are spending quality time with your dog.
- Bring an Experienced Friend or Guide– If you’re new to hiking, take an experienced hiker to show you the ropes. Not only will you have good company, but you will also learn a lot of helpful tips for your solo hike. Make sure you tell a friend or family your hiking plans and location, so they can check on your progress.
- Pack Safety Equipment– Safety first. Your safety equipment may vary depending on your hiking location. Some equipment to consider include a flashlight, knife, compass, flare, air horn, first aid kit, and lighter.
- Wear Proper Gear– The right gear is essential for you and your dog. Staying warm and dry is crucial if you want to be safe and have a good time. Think layers from your head to your toes. This goes for your dog, too. Your and your dog’s outer jackets should be water and windproof. Invest in a good pair of dog boots and even a winter hat for your dog. Pack a blanket or mat so that when you and your dog rest, he has something to sit on besides the snow.
- Stay Hydrated and Nourished– According to Dr. Thomas Ball, in cold weather, the body’s thirst response is diminished (by up to 40%). So, your body may not be signaling that you need to drink more. Add to that all the extra clothes and the excursion your body is having is increasing sweat, which decreases our fluids and energy. It’s important for you and your dog to stay fully hydrated and nourished to handle your hike. If your dog isn’t much for drinking, you can add bone broth to his water. Bone broth not only nourishes the body, but it also boosts the immune system and aids in joint health. It’s a perfect winter boost for any dog.
- Take Frequent Breaks– Your winter dog hike isn’t a race. Take your time and take lots of breaks and rests. This is a great time to enjoy your environment and really look at what nature has to offer.
- Stay Away– Stay away from lakes, streams, or edges of cliffs. This isn’t the time to make bad choices. You may think the ice is thick and won’t break, or the snow is compact and won’t move, but the risk is too great. Stay on solid footing when traveling in the winter, especially when you are traveling with your dog.
- Be Prepared To Turn Around– If you find you and your dog in a situation that looks dangerous, turn around. Or if you or your dog are just too tired to continue, take a break and head back.
- Enjoy the Ride– Your winter hike with your dog is about fun and bonding. The only two rules are staying safe and have fun.
For more articles by Tonya Wilhelm visit: http://www.raisingyourpetsnaturally.com