Written by Jessica Stewart
If you’re like me, you’re probably spending every free moment outside enjoying everything our beautiful region has to offer! We have lakes to swim and paddle board in, mountains to climb, forests to trek through, rivers to cross and an ocean to explore. Exploring these areas with your dog by your side is even more rewarding!
Dogs have been running alongside humans since the dawn of man. They are eager to run, play and explore, just like us! Here are some tips to keep your dog included in your outdoor exercise activities to help keep them happy and healthy!
I love taking my dog hiking and mountain biking with me in all types of weather. He is a herding breed so his instinct is to run, and run FAST! What kind of breed is your dog? Check on your dog’s background and you can determine the best activity for them. Remember, dogs aim to please and would LOVE to be included in your outdoor exercise routine.
Is he a working breed? Get him a doggie backpack and have him carry some gear while you hike. Swimming breed? How about a jog along the beach or a nice swim in a lake! You and your dog will both come home tired and happy. Also, the bond that you already have will grow stronger and deeper than ever. I love the excited look on my dog’s face as I reach for my mountain bike. He knows he is coming along for fun on the trails!
Pack Your Bag
Water: My rule of thumb for packing water is however much I think I need, I double it. Remember that you are going to be active, sweating and sharing water with your pup. Bring along a travel dish for your four legged friends and give water freely, especially in the hot weather. Don’t forget to pack treats as well! They are a great caloric boost. Plus, they work great for behavioral motivation and for light training!
Safety Essentials: A small first aid kit can not only come in handy for you in case of a fall, bee sting or another minor injury. It can also help with pet injuries. Pack a small first aid kit along with your regular gear. Do you plan on being out on the water with your dog swimming or paddling? Don’t forget to bring a life vest for your dog! Your pup may be an avid swimmer but we must remember to put safety first. Dogs can get tired like us and planning for the worst can save a life!
Leash: Your dog may be a master at recall but when out in the woods or on a running path, a leash is essential. You may encounter other dogs or wildlife that can stir your dog’s excitement and lead to a stressful time in the wilderness. There have been many cases in Washington just this summer of missing dogs out on hiking trails due to falls down hillsides, or due to running off chasing a squirrel. Be aware of your surroundings at all times. Also, please pick up after your dog! You can help keep our state one of the most beautiful in the nation by following “Leave No Trace.”
Be Attentive: If you notice your dog slowing down or acting fatigued during your exercise, stop or slow down. We don’t want them to sustain an injury or become too fatigued. Make sure you’re exercising in the mornings or evenings when the heat of the day isn’t too high. If a midday hike, walk or run is your only option, be sure to take plenty of breaks and try to stick to shaded areas. Pavement can get excruciatingly hot so make sure to take care when deciding to take your pup out for a run.
You and your dog just had a wonderful time out exercising and playing in the great outdoors. You might want to take a nap right away but first, we have to make sure our pups didn’t get overworked or sustain an injury. Check their paw pads for cuts and scrapes upon arriving back home. Checking your dog for ticks is very important if you have been out in the woods. Be sure to look between their toes, behind their ears and armpits and around their tail immediately following time in the forest. Make sure your pup stays hydrated during and after exercise. Give them a few treats for being so good ☺
Have you been having fun in the sun with your pups? We would love to see your photos! Send us your pet’s photos for a chance to be highlighted on our Instagram page! You can send us your pet’s photos via email or Facebook messenger.