Hiking Or Walking With Your Dog | Free Apps For Active Pet Parents
By Rachele Baker, DVM – Hiking or walking with your dog is a great way to relieve stress, burn calories, and get in shape. Dogs love to go for walks. They love to explore new places, sniff all the great smells they find, and see squirrels, birds, and other animals. Hiking and walking are good for the psychological, emotional, and physical well-being of both pet parents and dogs.
When hiking or walking with your dog, be sure to take plenty of water for both you and your dog. I found a water bottle with attached water bowl for my dog at a local pet store that I really like. I just flip the water bowl away from the bottle and squeeze water out of the water bottle into the bowl. It works great and travels well. I found a similar dog water bottle with attached water bowl on Amazon. You can click the links below to learn more or to purchase them on Amazon. The link on the left is for a 10-ounce bottle and the link on the right is for a 20-ounce bottle.
I have spent many hours on the internet over the years searching for good hiking and walking trails near my home. There are many state parks nearby, but state parks usually charge a parking fee and sometimes a dog fee. I do not want to have to spend money every time I want to walk my dog.
I was delighted when I recently found a really good free app for finding local hiking and walking trails. The app is called AllTrails and it can be downloaded to iPhones or Android phones.
With the AllTrails app, you can search for hiking and walking trails near a city in the United States. The app will then display a list with photos of all of the nearby trails and information about each trail including the difficulty of the trail (easy, moderate, hard), rating (number of stars based on reviews), and the length of the trail in miles. Another nice feature of AllTrails is that you can use filters to display trails that are “dog friendly” and to sort the trails by level of difficulty or rating.
When you click on a trail for more information, there is a paragraph that describes the highlights of the trail and a link to get driving directions from your location to the trail. AllTrails also provides the elevation of the trail, a map of the trail, photos of the trail, and reviews by people who have walked the trail.
The free version of the app has everything that I need. You can purchase the Pro version to download and print trail maps.
Runkeeper can be downloaded to iPhones and Android phones. The Runkeeper GPS tracks your hike or walk and displays a map of your walk, the number of miles (or percentage of a mile) walked, the length of time spent walking, your pace (number of minutes to walk or run a mile), and the total calories you burned during the walk. Runkeeper also allows you to set weight loss or distance goals.
All of the stats for each walk are recorded and weekly totals are also displayed.
There are a number of options available in Settings. You can play around with them and see which options you like. I disabled the Audio Cues because I found them annoying, but you may like having Audio Cues. I also disabled Auto-Pause because the app kept pausing even when I did not.
If you want more features, Runkeeper has a paid version called Runkeeper Go which allows you to get premium training plans and prescribed workouts.
For free music while hiking or walking with your dog, I like the free iHeartRadio app. iHeartRadio can be downloaded to iPhones and Android phones.
iHeartRadio lets you create your own commercial-free custom stations from a catalog of 20 million songs. This is my favorite aspect of iHeartRadio. I like to create Artist Radio Stations based on artists that I like.
iHeartRadio also gives you the option to listen to your favorite live radio stations or find radio stations by genre such as alternative, soft rock, or Top 40. You can also listen to podcasts.
If I am hiking in a beautiful wilderness area, I prefer not to listen to music and just listen to the sounds of nature. But when I am walking around the block in my neighborhood, I like to listen to music with a lively beat that keeps me motivated and makes walking more fun.
Do you have a favorite app that you use when hiking or walking with your dog? If so, please share it with all of us in the comments section below this post.