The Great Outdoors: Fitness for You and Your Dog

The Great Outdoors: Fitness for You and Your Dog

Posted by Sharon Elber on 7th May 2019

The summer is fast around the corner and your New Year’s resolution to get more active hasn’t really gone according to plan. Luckily, if you have a dog, you can still make getting more active a priority this year by choosing to spend some time together in the Great Outdoors.

Book a cabin or pack up the tent and get moving! Meeting your dog’s exercise needs doesn’t get much better than this. Here are some tips to make sure you have the right gear to make the most of your outdoor adventure with your dog.

PACK UP!

The secret to any adventure vacation with your pooch is making sure to think through her needs and pack accordingly. The last thing you need is to face the hassle of driving into town (and paying premium tourist prices) for some gear you forgot to pack.

Include your dog when you create your packing checklist. Don’t forget these important items:

Dog Bed: After a long day on the trail, you want a nice soft place to recline and relax, and so does Fido. The Loft Wander Dog Bed is easy to pack: Just roll it up and it will tuck in to your trunk or pack with ease. The fabric is a durable and water-resistant Microtomic ripstop material for long lasting comfort in the car, the tent, or beside the picnic table.

Dog First Aid: Put together with doggy needs in mind, this first aid kit is just what you need to make sure your pooch is covered in case of a bee sting, accidental poisoning, or injury on the trail. It comes with a first aid guide for dogs so you will know what to do in an emergency situation.

Food and Water Dishes: Space is always at a premium when you are packing for any outdoor adventure. Cutting down on bulk is always a good idea. These collapsible dog dishes take up less space than a book, allowing your dog to have fresh clean water at all times while camping or hiking.

WALK ON!

Hiking is one of the easiest ways to get some great exercise for both you and your canine companion while enjoying the splendor of nature. Whether you are planning a day trip, or a multiple day hike, your dog will help keep you motivated each step of the way.

Check out Kurgo’s comprehensive hiking guides for ideas. If you do a little research beforehand, most state and national parks rate the difficulty of each trail so that you can know in advance if you and Fido will be up to the challenge. As you gain some experience and confidence, raise the bar and try more difficult hikes.

If hiking is on your to-do list for your next outdoor vacation, be sure you have the right gear so that your dog can make the most of the journey.

Dog Backpack: Why not let your dog help with carrying supplies for longer hikes? This saddlebag style harness is well balanced and features two large pockets to fill with kibble, first aid gear, extra water, and whatever else you want to bring for your hike.

This harness also has a control grip handle on the top in case you need to help your pooch over an obstacle. Although it is made with a mesh lining to keep it cool on a warm day, make sure to take it off during your breaks to help keep your dog from overheating on the trail.

Running Belt: If jogging or biking is more your speed, you are likely looking to pack light for a few hours on the trail. This running belt has a pouch and water bottle holder, so you have what you need for a shorter run or walk. Pack treats, a protein bar, and a cool drink for a quick refreshment break on the trail.

DIVE IN!

Whether you plan to enjoy a lake, a river, or the ocean, the water offers both people and dogs excellent opportunities to get active. Of course, many dogs take naturally to the water, while others are a bit more hesitant. To keep things fun and safe, consider this gear:

Life jacket: Great for boating and swimming, a life jacket made just for dogs is an essential safety item to have on a camping or hiking trip that will include large bodies of water. While many dogs are natural swimmers, the truth is that they can sometimes over estimate their swimming skills and go further out than they can safely swim back in.

If your dog isn’t a fan of the water, a life jacket could make the difference. Many dogs know they can’t swim normally, but if they are gently introduced to this life jacket, they may change their tune. Either way, a life jacket gives you peace of mind to know your pet is safe.

Skipping stones: A game of fetch over the water is a sure fired way to wear your canine companion out in a hurry. Unlike many balls, these skipping stone toys are made to float so your furry friend is sure to be able to retrieve them. Plus, they have an innovative design with flat areas to skip over the surface of the water, just like river rocks, so they do double duty by getting both human and canine involved in the challenge.

WARM UP!

Planning on enjoying a northern escape from the heat this summer? It’s best to be prepared for colder climates with some of these tools to make the most of snowy mountainous terrain:

Dog Boots: You wouldn’t want to run around barefoot in the cold ice and snow, and neither does your dog. These doggy boots protect against the cold, wet, and rough terrain. A special bonus are the lights which make it easy to keep track of your pup around camp after dark. (Dog boots are also great for protecting paws in hot weather!).

Joring Harness: To really add some fun fitness to your winter outdoor adventure, give joring sports a try. This family of sports involves having your dog pull you while you slide along the snow. A popular example is Canicross, a running sport that allows your dog to pull you while you run on special skis made just for this fun activity.

If you think a regular dog harness will work for this activity, think again. This specially designed harness distributes weight evenly to keep this activity safe for your dog.

Do you have a favorite place outdoors to spend time with your dog?

Sharon Elber is a professional writer and received her M.S. in Science and Technology Studies from Virginia Tech and has worked as a professional dog trainer for over 10 years.