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By now, you may have read quite a handful of articles that tell you how hiking is only suitable for some dog breeds and not the others. You may also have noticed a pattern in them. Most of those dogs are big. Dogs like Siberian Huskies, Australian Shepherds, and Rhodesian Ridgebacks are often considered the most suitable breeds for hiking.
So what about those who do not own any of these? What if you have an adorable chihuahua that longs for adventure as much as any other dog? Or what if you have a pug that needs quality time out with its owner? While it’s true that not every dog is built to handle the roughness of certain outdoor adventures, it’s also true that with the right measures taken, any dog can embark on a hiking adventure. Hence, here are 7 reasons why hiking with small dogs is actually better.
Here’s the deal about hiking with a dog. There’s a greater probability that your hiking buddy will end up getting exuberant and excited the moment they step outdoors. Hence, being on rough terrains with them can put you in a pickle, especially when they start pulling on their leash.
This is where you have the edge over everyone else with big dogs. Not only will you be able to control them easily, but you also won’t have to play tug of war all day because let’s accept it: they are, in fact, small.
One of the greatest necessities to carry with you while hiking is water. However, the bigger your dog, the more resources you’ll have to carry for them. This means more water, more food, and of course, bigger bowls to lug around on the hike when you’re already stressing your body out during the adventure. With a smaller dog, on the other hand, not only will you have to pack less, but they can also easily drink water from your hands.
It’s very likely for a dog to get tired, especially if the terrains are too steep and uneven. However, frequent breaks can unnecessarily prolong the journey, and even make it seem boring. Hence, to avoid it, you may have to pick your dog up at several points during the journey and continue walking along the trail. Which dogs are easier to pick up? Of course, small ones.
They Get a Much-Needed Workout Too
Small dogs often don’t get enough opportunities to go out or experience the world the way bigger dogs do. This means their bodies often don’t get the kind of workout they require. Therefore, hiking allows them to get that much-needed physical activity. However, make sure to expose them to some form of exercise before you take them for something as strenuous as a hike.
Even though it’s recommended for dogs of all breeds to be exposed to some form of training or socialization, you can never know what type of training other dogs on the trail may have had. This means that there’s always a chance of unnecessary confrontations or fights on the way. Moreover, since trails are regarded as confined spaces, it’s pretty common for all types of dogs to act out as a result of nervousness or if they feel “cornered.”
Hence, it’s always better to take certain measures beforehand and avoid confrontations completely. All you have to do is pick your dog up the moment you see any oncoming chances of trouble.
While environmental damage has more to do with people breaking the rules, animals can also leave an impact, especially if they’re big in size. A smaller dog means a smaller pawprint, which also means that even if they go off-trail, they’ll trample much less vegetation as compared to a bigger animal.
Another factor to take into account is that smaller dogs dig smaller holes. Moreover, even if they poop somewhere, it hardly comes into sight, thanks to their size that allows them to leave less water contaminating bacteria behind.
Have you ever made conversation with a total stranger only because you found their dog cute? There are way too many instances of people socializing due to the one thing they share in common, owning a dog. However, a small dog on a trail isn’t a usual sight for most people, which means that there’s a greater chance that they’ll be deemed as unique and hence, help you socialize with fellow hikers.
For the most part, people are amazed to see how your dog made it this far despite its size. Again, the idea isn’t to take a small dog with you only so you get enough chances of making conversation or socializing, but instead see it as an added benefit of taking your Shih Tzu or chihuahua along.
There are so many other perks you get to enjoy with a small dog, and they often go unnoticed, such as:
While most people prefer taking stronger breeds for an activity as tiring and physically demanding as hiking, it’s not entirely forbidden to take your smaller breed along. Again, make sure to have your dog evaluated by a veterinarian beforehand and take all the necessary steps to ensure that they’re fit to embark on a hiking adventure with you. Also, be mindful of the fact that some dog breeds are actually not suitable for hiking due to their small noses, and the lack of oxygen can be fatal for them.