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3 Winter Hiking Tips for You and Your Dog

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The health benefits of staying active and getting outdoors are undeniable. Exercise in any form keeps your cardiovascular system and muscles in good condition, and spending time with nature brings many a sense of peace and serenity.

Perhaps also unsurprising, spending time with a pet brings individuals many mental health benefits. In fact, 74% of those surveyed reported mental health improvements from keeping animals as companions. Taking a hike with your dog almost certainly offers great health benefits for both the mind and the body.

However, as winter rolls around, many would-be outdoor adventurers wonder if they should head indoors to escape the colder weather.

If you’re new to hiking and sad about the change of seasons, don’t fret. Colder temperatures might change how you hike, but it shouldn’t stop you from hitting the trails!

Get outdoors with your four-legged pal no matter the time of year. Use the following three tips to stay cozy and safe on winter hiking trails:

1. Stay Warm with the Right Gear

Hiking in colder weather and snow requires different equipment to ensure both you and your pup stay warm and dry. Luckily, with the tactical and service clothing industry raking in $947 million annually, you don’t have to worry about finding lots of great gear options! For you, start with a pair of waterproof snow boots with good tread, an insulating base layer made of fleece or wool, and finish with an outer “shell” layer that is water-resistant. For your pup, make sure she has protective dog booties to keep ice from lodging between her toes.

2. Take Even More Breaks (With Snacks!)

Hiking during the winter can be much more strenuous than hiking in warmer, snow-free weather. You’ll burn even more calories than unusual just to keep your body temperature up. Don’t try to do too much in one day, and take several breaks, especially if you and your pup are not used to exercising in cold weather. For longer day hikes, pack plenty of trail snacks and water to stay hydrated and energized!

3. Ensure the Trail is Dog-Friendly

Finally, make sure that the area you’re hiking in is dog-friendly. Though park rules prohibiting dogs can seem frustrating, many of these areas are focused on wildlife restoration and don’t want dogs to frighten or chase animals. Look for a dog-friendly trail so that all forest visitors can enjoy the wonders of a winter day!

Use these tips to enjoy the physical and mental health benefits of a hike with your dog, no matter the time of year. With a little preparation, you and your loyal companion can stay warm and dry on the snowiest trails!</p.

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