Summer is in full-force. The warmth of the sun feels wonderful on your skin, the landscape is spotted with vivid flowers and lush greenery, and, with colder weather looming in the distant feature, there is an itch to explore as much of the world as possible.
Those who value time spent in solitude while taking in the textures of summer know how revitalizing hiking is as both a form of exercise and a form of meditation. While silence during a hike is optimal for taking in the scenery and clearing your head, it’s nice to have company in the form of a hiking partner. For some, that may be a friend, but for dog owners, nothing beats bring your furry companion along for the hike.
Larger dogs can handle the strenuous exertion of most hikes, however, your small dog may require a different approach to ensure the strain is not too much for their smaller frames to handle. Breeds such as corgis, Jack Russell terriers, and Shetland sheepdogs are notorious for their high levels of energy and activity. Despite their vigor, they have physical limitations that could prevent them from completing an entire with you.
Keep an eye on your dog throughout your hike. If you notice any of these signs, it’s time to intervene so as not to overwork your pet:
Signs of weariness.
Small dogs are very excitable and will often exhaust themselves by completely running through their stored energy. But their activity level at home is not an indication of how they will be on a hike. Start off small by going on short hikes on beginner trails. If you notice your dog panting excessively or stopping frequently to lay down, those are indicators of weariness. Continue these trails until your dog completes them with ease, then you can begin building up to intermediate hikes.
Be cognizant of elevation and terrain.
Once your dog works up the endurance to handle more challenging trails, it is still important that you are mindful of the elevation and terrain of every hike you go on. Dogs with shorter limbs and longer spines do not have the proper physical frame to handle the strain of constantly jumping from higher surfaces, such as boulders. Also, higher elevations make it more difficult for dogs to catch their breath, just as in humans.
Pack healthy food.
Just as you would throw a granola bar in your backpack for sustenance, it’s important to bring food and water along for your pet. They will be burning a high number of calories throughout the duration of the hike. If you keep them on their leash, plan to increase their calories between 50-100 percent. If they are well-trained enough to roam freely, the number should be closer to 100 percent.
With your dog in tow, and these support systems in place, you can explore the best hiking spots with your furry best friend all summer long!