Hiking With Your Dog
By Eileen ONeill
With Spring just a couple of days away, thoughts of Hiking in our local parks certainly comes to mind. It has been a long cold winter for most of the upper US States and Canada. We all feel the need to get back to nature and enjoy the sunshine.
Hiking can be a wonderful preventative for any number of physical and behavioral disorders. One in every three dogs is overweight and running up trails and leaping through streams is great exercise to help keep pounds off. Hiking can also relieve boredom in a dog’s routine and calm dogs prone to destructive habits. Hiking with our dogs help strengthen the overall bond between K-9 and owner. The health benefits our whole family as well as our pets.
Dogs enjoy the new scents and sights of spring along the trail. Remember that some dogs are better suited to hiking than others. Do you look forward to an entire afternoon of hiking? Is a half-hour enough walking for you? It may not be for an energetic dog like a border collie, golden or german shepherd. Remember to tailor your hiking distance and pace to your dogs abilities and size.
Getting Ready to Hike – Conditioning
Just like us our dogs need to be prepared for the task at hand. An inactive dog cannot be expected to bounce from the easy chair in the den to a hike of 3-hours the first time out. Start with small short hikes around your neighborhood and gradually increase your distance and speed. You must also be physically able to restrain your dog if confronted with distractions on the trail (like a scampering squirrel or a pack of joggers).
While the spring temperatures are not that hot, some days could certainly make us feel like it is summer and our body will begin to sweat in order to maintain body temperatures. This isnâ€™t the case for our dogs as they do not have sweat glands and the only way possible for them to disperse body heat is through panting. Our dogs are much more susceptible to heat exhaustion and stroke than we are. Unusually rapid panting and/or a bright red tongue are signs of heat exhaustion in your pet. Always carry enough water for your hike. Even days that don’t seem too warm can cause discomfort in dark-coated dogs if the sun is shining brightly. In cold weather, short-coated breeds may require additional attention.
DRINKING WATER on your Hike
Surface water, including fast-flowing streams, is likely to be infested with a microscopic protozoa called Giardia, waiting to wreak havoc on a dog’s intestinal system. The most common symptom is crippling diarrhea. Algae, pollutants and contaminants can all be in streams, ponds and puddles. A must addition to your hiking gear is efficient drinking water for both you and your pet. Iâ€™m certain that you take along a water bottle for yourself, but what about your pet. They need to replenish their body fluids as well. We have found a wonderful addition to our hiking gear that accommodates both bowl and bottle in one container just for our dogs. It works great in the car, trailer, hiking trail and just about any travel conditions we encounter
Please visit http://www.caninesource.com/giftshop/giftshop.html
to purchase yours for $16.00 US including shipping. We have found that the combination bottle and bowl work great for our hikes, car trips, family night out at the drive-in and vacations.
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