Ultimate pet care involves doing everything possible to make sure that your four-legged companion is healthy and happy. Being a good pet parent involves taking care of the physical and emotional needs of the dog as well as maintaining a strong relationship with him. One of the best ways of creating a bond between the two of you is to spend quality time together. You can do this by engaging in physical exercise and other fun activities with your dog. However, in order to enjoy the benefits associated with these activities, you must make sure that the qualities of your breed of dog, as well as the individual’s personality, are a good fit for your lifestyle and interests.
Hiking with your dog presents a great opportunity to explore the outdoors and reap the benefits of being physically active. Going on an adventure together will give the dog mental stimulation and encourage him to use his sense of smell. As the pet owner, spending time with nature will help to reduce your stress levels and offer you amazing medical benefits. Below is what you need to know if you are to ensure that both you and your dog enjoy the adventure.
Are greyhounds good hiking dogs?
The first thing you should consider is whether your greyhound is right for trail hiking. This is because hiking is an intense sport that requires adequate preparation and motivation. Generally, providing greyhounds with proper exercise is not always easy, considering their personalities and physical characteristics. Too much strain on the dog’s bones and exposure to extreme conditions can lead to pain and future health issues. While most people limit activities to daily walks, free running, and fetching, going hiking with your greyhound can be amazing.
While these dogs are good hiking partners, the fact that they can sprint extremely fast does not necessarily mean that they can walk long distances. Most of these dogs can only run at 40 miles per hour over short distances and will not walk longer than two miles. This means that not all greyhounds are suitable for or likely to enjoy the activity. As such, you should look at the hiking capacity of an individual dog based on their energy level, personality, and the yearning to exercise. You should monitor the greyhound for signs of fatigue to avoid over-exercising him and allow him enough rest after the intense activity.
Greyhounds are relatively energetic and can keep up with your active lifestyle when required. However, they tend to be fragile and do not have a lot of stamina, factors that can limit their ability to engage in long-distance hiking safely. The good news is that these dogs can take part in small hikes, and their stamina can be improved over time.
In addition to personality and energy levels, the exercise needs of your greyhound also depend on age and overall health. A healthy and active greyhound needs about 45 to 60 minutes of physical activity daily. These activities can include playtime, short walks, and other dog sports. It is important to ensure that your greyhound is in good shape to hike before venturing outdoors. Regardless of the health and athletic qualities your pet has, you will also have to consider the distance which you plan to hike with your greyhound.
In the end, making sure that your greyhound likes hiking will ensure he does not develop a negative attitude towards hitting the trails and physical exercise in general. The best way to find out if your dog is able and likes to hike is to give it a try. Make sure you understand the signals that your dog uses to communicate so that you make the right assessment. This is because the main aim of going hiking with the dog is to have fun and reap the associated benefits while at it.
Safety Tips for Hiking with Greyhounds
Protecting your greyhound and keeping him safe should be your priority even as you explore the great outdoors. Here are some greyhound hiking tips to help you.
Do not start too young.
If your greyhound is too young, you should not bring it along with you when going hiking. Since puppies are still growing, they are more likely to suffer serious injuries under such conditions, a factor that makes them unsuitable for vigorous sports such as hiking. You may want to start short hikes with your furry friend from the time he turns 18 months old.
Consider how fragile your dog is
Although greyhounds are not weak dogs, some are more fragile than others. Couch potatoes may also not have the eagerness to take part in such vigorous activities. If your dog is unhealthy, injured, overweight, or old, it is prone to get hurt on the hiking trails. Make sure you consider the dog’s limits and conditions when creating the exercise routine.
Avoid extreme weather conditions.
Greyhounds have a thin skin coat and very little fur. In addition, this breed of dog should not be exposed to environments with extreme temperatures as they cannot withstand such harsh weather conditions. You should be very careful not to go with your greyhound on a hike when it is too hot or too cold.
Build stamina and strength
It takes time for any dog to be a good hiker. This means that you will need to start with lighter exercises and increase the intensity gradually when encouraging your greyhound to build stamina and strength. During the early stages, you can consider short walks on level surfaces and move to longer hikes after some practice and physical conditioning.
Control your greyhound
Although greyhounds will not usually get themselves into trouble, they have a hunting instinct and love chasing after small moving objects and animals. You will need to train your dog on acceptable social behavior before venturing outdoor. Before hitting the trails, you may want to practice your off-leash and recall cues at home.
Pay attention to your furry friend.
Just like with any other activity, you should remember to pay attention to your companion. You will want to make sure that your pet is comfortable and safe before, during, and after the hike. While the dog will make signs or show symptoms when something is wrong, each greyhound has its own way of communicating. I would recommend that you learn your pet’s body language and way of communication in order to identify discomfort and pain early enough.
Preparing your Greyhound for a Hike
While these dogs make for great companions and can accompany you on the hiking trails, there are several factors you will have to consider to determine whether they are suitable for hiking. With their relatively low stamina and hiking capabilities, sufficient conditioning will be important in helping them withstand the strenuous activity. Preparing your greyhound adequately for a hike will go a long way in ensuring the success of the outdoor adventure.
Build up your greyhound’s stamina
Before taking part in strenuous activity, dogs, and humans that have been lounging on couches will need to build endurance in order to avoid soreness and injury. Greyhounds are known to have low stamina and can be couch potatoes. In order to ensure that their lean bodies and thin legs are ready for the long adventure, you will have to start building up their stamina early. The best way to do it is, to begin with an easy hike with a small incline for at most one hour. Monitor your greyhound during and after the activity and adjust the exercise regimen accordingly. Whenever the dog stops to catch a breath, give them time to rest and make sure they drink plenty of water.
Get the dog’s paws ready for hiking.
When thinking of ways to prepare your greyhound for a hike, you will have to consider proper protection for their paws. Depending on the type of terrain you intend to hike, it would be important to build up the toughness of the paws in readiness for the activity. In case your dog has sensitive paw pads that are likely to get burned when they come into contact with a hot surface or suffer injuries when exposed to rough environments, you may want to buy the greyhound some dog booties. However, since dogs are not used to wearing boots, some practice will come in handy in helping them learn how to walk in the boots.
Practice polite trail etiquette.
When preparing your greyhound for a hike, you should remember that other people will be on the trail as well. Both you and your dog have the responsibility of ensuring that your pet is on his best behavior so that everyone in the public space can have a good time. You should take time to teach your dog and practice good behavior since there is a good chance that there will be people or other animals around. While it may take time for your greyhound to learn how to behave in distracting environments, starting the training program early will help you to prepare adequately. As you do this, try to make training fun and positive for the animal.
Part of enjoying the great outdoors will involve allowing the dog to run free and off-leash. Remember that greyhounds have hunting instincts and like to chase small moving objects and animals. While investing in a hands-free leash or long leash are options that you can consider, off-leash training will be essential for when you want to let the greyhound explore the space on their own. However, the dog should not get out of sight and should be trained to come back when you call them. As much as your dog may be friendly, you cannot assume the same of other dogs and people. This is why you should have your pet sit or walk next to you whenever other hikers walk by.
Get the gear for your dog.
It takes time for greyhounds to learn important lessons during training. Getting your dog a dog backpack and allowing them to wear it during regular walks will offer numerous benefits. Apart from helping to lighten your load during the actual hike, a backpack will put the dog in working mode and may have a calming effect on the animal. The gear also helps your dog to focus, a factor that goes a long way in teaching him leash manners. By getting your pet to wear a backpack, you will provide them with an extra physical challenge so they can exercise more. Greyhound backpacking will also make the dog more visible and provide some added protection when outdoors.
Protect against critters and other dangers
Greyhounds are prone to suffer from certain health problems. Considering that taking your greyhound outdoors will expose them to more risks, you will want to ensure that they are up to date on all their vaccinations. You should also take the necessary actions to ensure proper flea, tick, and heartworm prevention. In case there is no rabies tag on the dog’s collar, make sure you have a copy of the greyhound’s vaccination record. Lastly, consider trimming your dog’s nails to minimize the chances of foot problems and blisters during and after the long hike.
Calorie-dense foods and treats
Proper diet and nutrition are important parts of preparing your dog for a hike. Both when preparing and hiking, you will want foods that provide the fuel you need for the adventure while allowing you to remain light and mobile. You may want to bring along high-calorie foods and treats that have easily digestible ingredients. It is important that you include the foods your dog loves to ensure that he enjoys and has the energy required for the activity. In addition to the right foods, make sure your greyhound gets used to drinking plenty of water during the sessions.
Greyhound Hiking Essentials
Even with proper and adequate preparations, problems, and accidents can still happen. If you are to ensure that such incidences do not ruin your day, you should be ready to handle them by carrying a number of essentials. Here are some hiking essentials for a greyhound that will come in handy.
Extra food and water
You and your dog will both need to replenish your energy while on a hike. This is because you will be burning a lot of calories when exploring the outdoors. As such, you should remember to include the right dog foods and snacks in your backpack for extra nutrition. In addition to food, make sure you carry plenty of clean drinking water for your dog to help him stay hydrated. Do not allow your greyhound to drink from standing water, streams, and rivers as contaminated water can make him sick.
The importance of being respectful to the trails as well as other hikers cannot be emphasized enough. This is why you must bring plenty of poop bags along and a sealable container. With these essentials, you will be able to clean up after your dog. Once you pick up the dog’s poop, you can store the bags and dispose of them properly when you get a chance. Cleaning up ensures that other people in the public space can have a nice time as well.
Dog first aid supplies
There is no telling when your greyhound can suffer cuts, injuries, allergies, or other health problems. Having a well-stocked pet first aid kit will put you in a great position to handle a wide variety of health emergencies. You can either buy one or make your own first aid kit for your greyhound. Some of the supplied you should have in the kit include cotton swabs, blood clotting powder, tick removal tools, tweezers, antibiotic ointment, heavy-duty bandages, an antiseptic, saline solution, and a first aid guide.
Extra leash and collar
Ensuring that your greyhound obeys your command in an environment with so many distractions can be difficult. There are times when you will want to have the dog on a leash, considering the harm and distraction it can cause when running at high speed. For easy navigation along the trails and in case you need to tether the animal with extra leash length, you may want to include an extra leash. An extra leash and collar will also be useful in case the regular ones break.
Your dog may get wet during the hike, either as a result of rain or playing in the water as they explore their new surroundings. Carry a dog towel to help dry the greyhound off in case they get wet. The towel will also be useful when you need to cool down the dog if they suffer from heatstroke. This will help to keep your greyhound comfortable and prevent health issues.
After the hike, it is important to check that your greyhound is free of ticks, cuts, and injuries. With the bushes and grasses along the trail, a dog brush will allow you to remove any burrs and foxtails easily. It will also help you check for ticks on the dog before heading back home.
Sunscreen and dog jacket
As a pet parent, you will be looking to keep your furry friend comfortable as well as protect him from potential health problems. You will have to consider both the physical characteristics of the dog and weather conditions when choosing the essentials to carry. Since greyhounds have very little fur and thin skin, sunscreen will help to protect them from getting sunburned. During the cold season, a dog jacket will help to keep your greyhound dry and warm as well as offer protection from objects that can bruise their skin.
After hiking for long hours and being exposed to extreme temperatures, your greyhound will need a place to rest. The dog may also want to take a nap before you can go back home. Greyhounds are affectionate and gentle dogs that love to be treated gently and affectionately in return. Your dog will be looking up to you to provide protection and meet his needs. You should pack not only a comfortable mattress but also a shelter that will protect him from direct heat and light.
There are several other essentials that you will need when going with your dog on a hike. These include LED lights and an ID with up-to-date information and contacts on the greyhound’s collar. Such essentials will be important in helping to identify the dog when he wanders off. To prevent the greyhound from straying, you should pack a toy for him to play with and keep him busy. His favorite toy will also provide stress relief when in new situations.
Vet emergency numbers
Accidents happen when you least expect them. You may find yourself in a situation you cannot handle, making it necessary to contact your vet. Part of being prepared involves having the expert’s emergency number with you so you can call them in case of an emergency. Having your vet’s phone number can help save your greyhound’s life.
After the hike
Greyhounds are typically a very loyal breed of dog. Most of them are likely just to keep going until they drop from exhaustion. During the regular exercises, as well as while hiking, you should monitor your dog closely for heatstroke. After the hike, examine your dog closely to find out if he has ticks, has suffered any injuries or cuts, or has unusual signs and symptoms. You should also consider giving him time to rest and sleep after the strenuous activity.
As a greyhound owner, you will want to make your pet part of your daily life and activities as much as you can. However, it may not always be possible, especially if you enjoy taking part in rigorous and strenuous activities from time to time. While your greyhound may be able to withstand the conditions and endure the undertaking, protecting and keeping him safe should be a priority.