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7 Benefits of Hiking With Your Dog: Science-Backed Reasons & Tips

Written by: Visnja Radosavljevic

Last Updated on June 21, 2024 by Dogster Team

dalmatian dog on a leash walking with the owner

7 Benefits of Hiking With Your Dog: Science-Backed Reasons & Tips

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REVIEWED & FACT-CHECKED BY

Dr. Lorna Whittemore

BVMS, MRCVS (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Hiking is a great exercise that allows you to experience nature, relax, and unwind. It’s a perfect activity for dog parents who want to go outside and spend time with their dogs.

While there are some things you should know to hike safely with your dog, this activity is not complicated or expensive, and it will be fun for both parties. It also has a lot of benefits for humans and dogs, which is what makes it an excellent choice for spending one-on-one time with your canine.

Read on to learn more about the benefits of hiking with your dog.

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The 7 Benefits of Hiking With Your Dog

1. Staying in Good Shape

pet owner hiking with a dog
Image By: Martin dalsgaard, Pixabay

Hiking with your dog has many positive sides, one of which is staying in good shape. It’s a great activity for staying fit, preventing obesity, and maintaining good health—for you and your dog.

Regular walks and hikes will provide you and your canine with the required exercise for the day while allowing you to have a fun workout. A lack of exercise can lead to health problems, and hiking can help prevent them.

Activities like hiking are especially beneficial for dog breeds that like to be constantly active and have a lot of energy, including:


2. Mentally Stimulating

Like humans, dogs require mental stimulation to properly experience the world around them. Out in nature there are so many sights, sounds and smells for your dog to investigate. Mental stimulation also allows your dog to be less bored, which typically helps to prevent negative, destructive behavior.

Without enough mental simulation, your canine could become anxious and bored and may start acting up at home. That can result in unwanted digging, chewing, and similar behaviors. If you notice your dog following these patterns, a regular hike could be highly beneficial to resolve the problem.

Spending time outside with your dog will also positively impact your overall well-being. People who spend more time outside are genuinely happier and calmer than people who spend most of their time indoors.


3. Bonding With Your Dog

Man with dog on hiking trip
Image Credit: furry_portraits, Pixabay

The more time you dedicate to your dog, the more the bond between you and your canine will strengthen. Because of this, hiking is the perfect activity to spend fun time with your dog, bond, and play.

The natural environment you often experience while hiking will encourage your dog to play and run around, and you’ll be able to connect better. A strong bond between you and your beloved pup will add trust to your relationship and help you with your training sessions.


4. Improving Your Health

You all know that humans and dogs need to be active in order to remain healthy and it’s common for dogs to suffer from various health conditions due to inactivity. They need daily physical stimulation, and hiking is a great option. It can help prevent dog obesity, which represents a problem for approximately 56% of US dogs.

Obesity can result in:
  • Joint problems
  • Cardiovascular problems
  • Diabetes

Hiking also improves our health and allows us to become more mentally and physically capable. Here’s how hiking affects our health:

  • Improves sense of balance
  • Decreases possible respiratory problems
  • Decreases possible cardiovascular problems
  • Builds stronger muscles
  • Strengthens our bones
  • Boosts mental health


5. Training in a Peaceful Environment

woman hiking with a dog
Image By: Petra, Pixabay

Training is essential as it allows you to teach your dog to respond to specific cues that will make your daily activities and communication much more manageable. It’s a crucial part of your dog’s socialization, and it will have a huge effect on how your dog reacts to specific situations and people.

Every canine should undergo thorough training and hiking gives you the perfect opportunity to train in a peaceful, calming environment. The peaceful atmosphere around you will allow your dog to focus on you and your commands and memorize them easier.


6. Reducing Stress

Like us, dogs experience stress and anxiety and can even suffer from depression. Because of this, they need activities that will help them become calmer, unwind, and get rid of anxious energy.

Less stress means you and your canine friend will be happier, more fulfilled, and sleep better.


7. Helping Your Dog With Socializing

two dogs hiking with the pet owner
Image By: Thirdman, Pexels

Hiking can also help your dog socialize, which is extremely important so that dogs learn how to behave around other people and animals. When hiking, you’ll likely run into other people, and you might meet other dogs along the way too.

Overall, hiking will allow your canine to get a sense of how things are in real life and experience everyday situations that can happen when walking or playing outside.

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Tips for Hiking Safely With Your Dog

While hiking is highly beneficial for both you and your dog, there are some things you should know to make your hike safe for both of you.

  • Keep your dog on a leash to ensure safety
  • Bring enough food, water, and treats
  • While hiking, remember to clean up after your canine
  • If needed, get protective gear for your dog’s paws
  • Never hike during extreme heat/cold
  • After the hike, always check your dog for ticks

Are There Dogs That Shouldn’t Go Hiking?

Hiking is not the best activity for some dog breeds, especially for brachycephalic dogs that aren’t capable of regulating their body temperature like other canines. They have short nasal passages, so overheating represents a huge potential problem they could experience.

These breeds can enjoy hikes, but they should be short in duration to prevent possible overheating in your canine.

Besides these breeds, you should also avoid hiking with senior dogs and puppies. Hiking can be tiring for senior dogs and lead to joint issues, discomfort, and injuries. Even if your senior canine looks full of energy, activities like hiking typically put too much pressure on them, which is why you should look for engaging, yet less challenging, activities, or keep the hikes short.

Hiking is also not recommended for puppies as it requires a lot of physical strength and could lead to overexertion on their body. During puppyhood bones and joints are developing rapidly and over-exercise at this time can add to the risk of joint disorders. Because of that, it’s best to wait for your puppy to mature before hiking.

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Conclusion

If you’re looking for an exciting activity to help you bond with your dog, improve your health, and stimulate both of you mentally and physically, hiking should be at the top of your list. It provides numerous benefits that will have a positive impact on you and your canine friend.

See Also: 


Featured Image Credit: absolutimages, Shutterstock

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