Move over summer! Fall is officially here and with fall comes cooler nights, brisk breezes, pumpkin patches, hayrides, and walks in the woods to admire the beautiful fall colors that surround us. It is the perfect time to get out and enjoy a nice walk with your fur-babies. State parks are wonderful places to bring your pets to enjoy nature and spend time walking, hiking, boating, picnicking, or just kicking back and relaxing. But before you hit the trails with your walking buddies, you will want to make sure that you have everything necessary to keep your dog safe when it comes to being in the great outdoors.
- Make sure that you bring plenty of water. You will want to make sure that you have plenty of water for everyone on the trip. A great thing to carry is a water bottle that has a bowl attached to it to make it easier for your dog to drink.
- Watch where they sniff. Dogs are naturally curious, and love to sniff whatever they can. Remember that Leaves of 3- Let it be. Dogs are susceptible to plant-based toxins and can pass them to you! Make sure that you can recognize poison ivy, poison oak, and sumac.
- Be aware of your surroundings. While there may be other travelers along the way, some wildlife creatures are not so easily scarred off and can potentially harm you and your pet. Snakes are known for their camouflage ability and often will be right on the walking path you and your dog are on. Be sure to not only keep a sharp eye out for these hidden dangers. Keeping a first aid kit with you can be a good idea as well. Generally, a human first-aid kit will do the trick since you’re both likely to get the same types of cuts, bruises and abrasions. Be sure to know what is in your kit and how to use it before you need it.
- Let people know where you are hiking. Be sure to notify someone when you go for a walk or hike with your pup. In the event that you do not have cell reception, letting someone know where you and your pup are walking or hiking can give people a general idea of where to look if you run into trouble.
- Have a collar and tags on your dog. In the event that your dog runs off or gets lost, make sure that they have an ID tag that is properly secured to a collar that will not slip off. You can even sign up to places such as PetHub, which allows users to store multiple emergency contact numbers and emails into a database, along with any medical information of your dog including microchip data that will help in the event that they get lost. Simple, customized dog tags are also available on Amazon for a few dollars. This is a very inexpensive way to ensure that your furry friend can find his or her way home if you get separated.
- Pack plenty of poop-bags with you on the trip. You can even purchase a backpack for your dog to have them “help you” with carrying some of the load. Be sure not to overload their backpack, and to evenly distribute the weight on both sides to balance it out. This is great for working dogs, as they are doing a “job” as well as getting exercise. Keep in mind that many areas in our community enforce a fine for dog litter that has not been removed. Most areas will supply pick-up bags so be sure to clean up after your pet.
- When you are done walking with your dog, be sure to check for any ticks that may have attached themselves to you or your pet during your adventure. Ticks can cause severe medical problems such as Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. We have some great ways you can alleviate ticks with essential oils on our Pinterest page, or you could check with your local veterinarian to discuss appropriate tick prevention for them.
- Keep your dog on a leash. We know it brings joy to your heart to see your pup frolicking through the woods or down the trail…but leaving your dog off of his or her leash can not only put you at risk for a city-imposed fine, it can also be a liability exposure. Not all pups are friendly with other dogs. If your dog is off their leash and approaches another dog and gets in a fight, you may be held liable for the injuries caused to other people or other dogs. This liability exposure can result in hefty claims. Play it safe and let your pup run free in your backyard at home or in a free-run doggy park but keep them on a leash when on trails or hiking.
Check out other fur-baby fall tips on our Pinterest board, Fall Safety for your Fur-Babies. Here you will find tips for hiking, traveling, camping, boating, and general safety 101 guides that will be instrumental in helping keep your dogs safe while exploring.
Happy Autumn Everyone!
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