Tips for Great Fall Hikes With Your Dog

Fall can be a great time to set out on outdoor adventures with your dog.  The weather is crisp and cool to keep you and your dog comfortable, and all that beautiful fall foliage is definitely an added benefit.

We’ve gathered some of the best fall hiking tips for dog owners.  Keep in mind that many experts recommend keeping your dog on leash at all times for her safety, so go off leash with caution.

Check out these helpful tips and enjoy the great outdoors with your best friend!

  • A walk in the woods, even in fall, means that your dog could be vulnerable to flea and tick bites. Use a deterrent and check your dog for ticks after a hike.
  • Consider using a harness specifically designed for hiking or running. Experts report that v-neck harnesses distribute force evenly to keep you and your dog steady.  Some also have a handle on the back so you can quickly grab your dog in an emergency.

  • While it may not be as hot as summer, your dog still needs plenty of fresh clean water to stay hydrated on a fall hike. Bring water and a collapsible bowl along with you on hikes.
  • Challenging uphill trails can lead to some great views of fall foliage, but long distance/high elevation hikes are not for all dogs…or all people. Know the level of difficulty before you set off on a hike.

  • Sometimes the weather can change quickly in the fall. Dress in layers and consider a jacket and booties for your dog in case the weather gets nasty.  Booties or paw pad balm are always a good idea for rugged trail hikes.

 

It’s National Walk Your Dog Week!

October 1-7 is National Walk Your Dog Week, an event designed to raise awareness about the importance of regular exercise for your dog’s health.

According to the official website, many dogs (and their humans) do not get enough exercise, which can lead to health problems like obesity as well as behavioral problems that arise from boredom and separation anxiety.

You can take the pledge to walk your dog for at least 30 minutes every day for one week.  The folks at National Walk Your Dog Week want to hear from dog owners who have taken up this challenge.  Chances are both you and your dog will be feeling better!

 

How Walking Your Dog Improves Health and Well-Being

Many dog owners enjoy daily walks with their dogs, and for good reason.  Walking your dog is a great way for you and your dog to get exercise, enjoy your time together, and meet up with other people and their dogs.

But did you know that nearly 40% of all dog owners rarely or never walk their dogs?  There are lots of reasons for this.  Many owners simply let their dogs out in the yard.  People who work long hours often hire dog walkers.  Some owners of small dogs have trained them to do their business inside.

An exercise physiologist was interested to see if she could “trick” dog owners into walking their dogs.  The New York Times summarized her interesting study.

She invited a group of dog owners who said they seldom walked their dogs to a special dog obedience class.  They were told the class was designed to improve their dogs’ on-leash behavior, but it was really done to monitor the humans’ activity!

Half of the participants were enrolled in the class and half were wait-listed.  The people taking the class were asked to record their dogs’ activity outside of class, but the researchers were really monitoring the people.

Results showed that the class participants did end up walking their dogs for a few minutes more per week than those not in the class, but not as much as the researchers were hoping to see.

The class participants did report feeling closer to their dogs and happier about their dogs’ behavior, confirming that going for walks is a great way to improve the bond with your dog.