As Colorado natives, there are a couple of ideas that we strongly hold to: We love being active and we love our dogs. In fact, these two staples are so important to us that the state of Colorado is often ranked in the top ten for both “Healthiest States” as well as “Most Dog-Friendly States.” So it’s not by accident that people find a way to combine these two passions. Implementing dog related activities into your exercise routine could really increase your dog’s quality of life. For most dogs, life can get no better than exploring the great outdoors with their favorite human.

Living here in the Rocky Mountain State, we are blessed with ample opportunities to experience the mountains first hand. But it can be so important to prepare properly, do research, and know your dog’s proclivities. Here are a few things to keep in mind before you take to the trails with man’s BFF.

Gear

Hiking with your dog can be a fun and relaxing way for both of you to get some fresh air, get exercise, and experience nature. But if you don’t have the right gear, it could make your “exhilarating hike” anything but enjoyable. For instance, If your dog tends to pull, consider investing in a harness that will help him avoid choking himself. On longer hikes, come prepared with water for your pup or even a small snack if needed. There are also some very practical packs that your dog can wear if you need to him to carry his own lightweight gear.

Weather

Research what the weather will be like before you leave so that you can plan accordingly. On longer hikes through snow, your dog might need some extra foot protection so that you avoid the danger of frostbite. Additionally, dogs going through deep snow might need a vest or coat that will protect their bellies from that prolonged exposure. Finally, always consider the weather changes that could be occurring at higher elevations or later times in the day during your hike. Being prepared is always the best course of action.

Wildlife

Be thoughtful about what to expect as far as critters and animals that you might encounter on your hike. It’s important to consider locations that may contain snakes, vermin, or even wild mushrooms; all of which could endanger your dog. Be mindful of the season and research what you may be dealing with in certain areas. Sticking to the trails is certainly the smartest way to avoid this, but you can never be too careful. Also, if your dog is prone to chase after smaller animals or birds, as most dogs are, plan to keep him on a leash unless you believe your dog can overcome the temptation to chase and will heel on command. However, the more you hike together, the better you’ll know how he does in all situations.

Chances are, your dog is simply excited to be in your presence. It’s an added bonus that you get to enjoy all that Colorado has to offer together. Hiking with your dog can be your favorite Saturday-morning activity. Just remember to pack accordingly, do your research, and know your dog’s impulses. Also, contact our animal hospital with any questions about your dog’s health, wellness, or if you need to schedule a check-up.