One of the best ways to spend time with your dog is to go for a walk. Not only is it good exercise for both of you, but it’s also a woofderful bonding activity! Sure, walking your pooch gives them a chance to relieve themselves, but the benefits go far beyond that. Taking a stroll is good for your pup’s physical, mental, and emotional health! Some of the benefits include:
- A healthy body weight. Roughly 50 percent of American dogs are overweight and 25-30 percent are obese. Obese canines have more health problems and shorter life expectancies.
- Mental stimulation. Your pupper experiences a variety of sights, sounds, and smells on a walk, which is great for their brain. Going for a walk with their favorite human keeps boredom at bay, which in turn prevents destructive behavior.
- A deeper bond. Spending time together improves your relationship with your dog, as well as reduces attention-seeking behaviors such as excessive barking, whining, and begging.
Ready to take your pup for a walk? Here’s what you need to consider when selecting the best walking trail for your furry buddy!
Rules. First and foremost, check if the trail allows dogs! There’s a myriad of walking trails iin the US, but not all of them are dog-friendly. The last thing you want to happen is to arrive at a trail, only to find out that your four-legged companion isn’t welcome.
Location. For daily walks, you’ll want to choose a trail that’s nearby, ideally just a short walk or drive away. While exploring far-off trails with your canine pal can be fun, it’s not practical to drive long distances daily just to walk your pooch. Save faraway trails for weekend adventures, and stick close to home for your regular trail.
Difficulty. The difficulty of a trail should match your dog’s fitness and experience levels. For example, a couch puptato who’s just embarking on an exercise routine shouldn’t be on a trail with lots of steep sections and obstacles. If that’s your dog, start with a trail that’s flat, paved, and short, then gradually work your way up to more challenging paths.
Shade. When temperatures rise, our canine companions become more prone to overheating. Asphalt and concrete also become too hot for their sensitive paws. Shaded areas along a trail provide protection from the heat while you and your pooch are out on a walk. If you can’t find a well-shaded trail, limit your walks to early mornings or evenings on very hot days.
Popularity. Walking trails are great for getting some fresh air and exercise with your canine BFF, but the popular ones can get crowded. If you want to enjoy some solitude with your pup, or if your pooch isn’t used to socializing with other dogs, go during off-peak hours or pick a less popular trail.
Amenities. Amenities along a trail can make a nice walk with your furry friend even more puptastic! Some of the things that you’ll want to have access to are benches for taking breaks, drinking fountains, trash receptacles, and restrooms.Potential dangers. Possible dangers on a trail include ticks, foxtails, bears, and coyotes. Some pathways are also located inside hunting zones or have loose terrain. Learning about a trail before you and your pup set out allows you to be prepared and know what to watch for once you’re out there.
- Water. It’s super important to keep your pup hydrated! Some dog water bottles come with a small bowl attached, or you can buy a collapsible water bowl that can be clipped to your belt loop.
- Clean-up bags. Always clean up after your dog. It’s the right thing to do and it ensures a pawsitive experience for everyone who uses the trail.
- Spare leash. It’s good to have a spare on hand in case your dog’s leash breaks while you’re out on a walk.
- Treats and snacks. Bring some yummy noms to reward your pup’s good behavior and keep their energy up, especially on long walks.
- Vaccination records. You might be asked to show your dog’s vaccination records at the entrance of some popular trails.
- First aid kit. It’s best to be prepared! You can order a canine first aid kit online or assemble one on your own.
Need help finding a pooch-friendly trail in your area? Wag! has got you covered! Our furrific guides give you the lowdown on the best dog walking trails, from Alaska to Wyoming!