Getting ready for your dog’s first hike can be like sending the kids off to school for the first time. Both nervous and exciting, it is a memorable and novel experience. While dogs might have the four-leg advantage over humans when it comes to exercise, that doesn’t mean they should be any less prepared for hiking than us. Getting your dog ready for their first hike can be simple and easy, and allowing them time to recoup afterward can be a relaxing experience for both of you.
Before the Hike
You wouldn’t go on a hike without water or some protein-rich snacks, so why wouldn’t you pack the same for your pup? Orijen makes great freeze-dried snacks that are made of 100% meat and easy to pack. Outward Hound makes a dog backpack that we love, lightweight and tight-fitting so your dog can move easily without feeling like there’s a lumpy sack on their back. Brands like Popware for Pets make collapsible water bowls that fit easily into day packs. A proper pack will ensure you and your dog can enjoy that beautiful vista at the end of your hike.
During the Hike
It’s important to be aware of your dog’s hiking ability while you’re on the trail. All dogs exercise at their own pace. If your dog is looking thirsty or lagging behind, take generous breaks to ensure you can both enjoy the hike! Additionally, it’s important to remember hike etiquette and be mindful of other dogs, bikes and humans especially on dog-friendly trails in Los Angeles. Once you reach the end of the trail, kick back and enjoy a water break and snack. You will both be grateful and energized for the hike back home.
After the Hike
It is perfectly normal for your dog to be sleepy, hungry, and sore after a hike, especially if they are new to the activity. Just as with humans, a lack of sleep and over-exercising can lead to a depleted immune system. At Fitdog, we make sure all our members who return to daycare after their hikes get a substantial resting period. It’s also wise to give your dog protein-rich foods after the hike in order to help their muscles develop. If your dog is older, chances are their joints aren’t what they used to be, so we recommend NuJoint supplements to help ease soreness and increase longevity in your dog’s active life!
Hiking should be a rewarding experience for you and your dog. Great for bonding, exercise, and socialization, hiking provides residents of Los Angeles reprieve from the hectic city. The bonding doesn’t have to stop at the trailhead or the car ride home, though. End your day with some Netflix and chill so you and your fur baby can be rested and renewed for the week to follow!
Don’t have time to take your dog hiking? No worries. Sign them up for a Canyon Hike at Fitdog.
What did you notice after your dog’s first hike? Comment below!