Labrador retrievers are the number one most popular dog in the United States. They are affectionate, friendly and great with children. This makes them the ideal dog for those who live alone or with a large family.
Whether you have one American Lab or a few, you know (or should know) that they require daily exercise. Running, playing, and anything that gets them up and moving is important for keeping American Labs from getting out of shape. Many American Labs tend to gain weight as they age when they aren’t exercised efficiently.
Dog lovers everywhere are always curious about ways to keep their American Labs from becoming too fat. So you may ask, can I hike with my American Lab as a way to get them their daily exercise?
Let’s all say this together, yes! Hiking is the perfect exercise for American Labs. Not only will hiking wear them out (eventually), but it also helps keep them at a healthy weight.
American Labs have a very high amount of energy, so hiking is an ideal solution for helping them release some of it. Read along in the article to learn more about hiking with your American Lab!
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Do American Labs Like Being Outdoors?
While many American lab owners think their lovable pals are strictly indoor pets, many would be quite surprised to know that these dogs are nature lovers!
American Labradors were bred for fishing and hunting, being out in nature is in their DNA! They enjoy exploring and wandering around finding new smells and things to find. And they will always be interested in chasing around whatever wants to lead the way!
Many years of breeding Labradors have shifted the breed that we recognize today as the American Lab, into an elite athlete and into man’s best friend. But, this doesn’t mean that your American Lab still can’t perform what it was intended for and enjoy all that nature has to offer.
Since American Labs are such friendly pets, going on hikes with their favorite human companion can be very special to them! If you allow them, they will lead the way on hikes anywhere you wish to go!
Do American Labs Like Hiking?
Since American Labs are extremely outdoorsy animals, you may wonder if they also enjoy going on hikes. While it does depend on your specific dog, most of the time the answer is yes!
American labs are a strong breed with a lot of intelligence. Their energy levels can be quite high and almost feel like they are non-stop, which makes hiking the perfect outing for the two of you to do together.
Not only will your American Lab be a great companion, they will easily be able to keep up with you! Always keep them on a leash though, so that they won’t try to run away or go too far ahead of you.
American Labs are easy to train, which is perfect for hiking. You would never want to take an untrained dog hiking in places that could be dangerous or unsafe. Having your dog trained to follow simple commands can be the difference between life and death on hikes with steep drops or cliffs.
Your American Lab is most likely a people pleaser, so wherever you want to explore they will be right there with you, ready for the adventure.
Can American Labs Hike In All Weather?
American labs are quite durable when it comes to handling various weather types. They have a double coat of water-resistant fur which helps repel water. This is great for hiking in snow or rain or splashing through shallow creeks or puddles.
Their double coat also helps them adapt to cold weather. American Labs can withstand weather as cold as 20 degrees Fahrenheit. But, always take precautions when hiking in colder weather with your American Lab, for example, you will want to make sure that your dog isn’t showing signs of hypothermia or frostbite.
Be aware that just because your dog may be able to tolerate cold weather, does not mean that they can’t be harmed by cold weather. If you plan to take hikes in the winter, limit the hikes into short increments and check your dog’s paws, fur, gums, and nose in between hikes.
How Long Can American Labs Hike?
American Labs have good stamina and can be full of energy, while it is not quite as long as other high energy breeds, it is still high.
American Labs need to be exercised daily, and it is recommended that they get at least an hour of exercise per day. If they are a very high energy dog, or younger in age you may want to aim for at least an hour and a half of daily exercise.
If you plan on taking your American Lab on a hike, you should plan to break the hike up into one-hour sections with ample time in between. You do not want to over-exhaust your dog, this could cause problems such as dehydration, overheating, or stroke.
Always be aware of the signs of these three life threatening conditions.
Immediate care can be the difference between life and death for your dog. If you need a quick understanding of the signs or symptoms of dehydration, overheating, or stroke, and what to do if your dog falls victim to any of them, please read here.
Things To Remember When Hiking With An American Lab
American labs are great companions, and great dogs to take along on your next hike. While it ultimately depends on your specific dog’s temperament and personality, hiking can be a fun way to exercise your Lab and keep them from getting overweight. It also helps keep their body conditioned and agile.
Always remember to talk with your vet first before planning hikes longer than a standard 15-minute walk. Your vet will advise you if your American Lab is healthy enough for such an outing and help you with a plan for such an event.
Be sure to bring along plenty of water while hiking. If at any point on the hike your dog shows signs of dehydration such as panting, dry mouth, white gums, or lethargy, stop the hike and provide them with water. A portable water bowl is an absolute must when you’re out on the trail.
Don’t forget to create an emergency kit and carry it in a backpack.
You never know what may happen during your hike, emergencies happen every day and you want to always be prepared to keep you and your dog safe. Your emergency kit should include Food for both you and your dog, a first aid kit, flares, and/or a flashlight with fresh batteries, paperwork confirming that your dog belongs to you, and a charged cellphone.
While you may never need to use your emergency kit while out on your hike, it is always best to be prepared.
My Final Thoughts
Hiking is a fun way to get exercise and explore the outdoors. Hiking with your American Lab is an even better way because you have your best friend with you along the way. While hiking is a great activity, always make sure you and your dog are up for the challenge, and never venture off if either of you is sick or injured.
Prior to hiking, always pack an emergency kit and plenty of water for unexpected situations.
Knowing all the important things is the best thing to do to be as prepared as you can be for a fun adventurous hike with your American Lab. Now more people can enjoy hiking with their furry companions.