Dog Care: 6 Easy Steps for a Terrific (and safe) Romp in the Woods
Leaves are falling and paws are crunching in the parks….
What a beautiful time of the year to get out with your canine companion and enjoy the crisp, cool air, frolic in the falling leaves and take in the visual splendor of nature. A walk in the woods can be an exhilarating experience for you and your dog, especially if you’ll take a moment for some basic dog care preparations. Minimize surprises and emergencies by following these simple steps.
I don’t know about you, but I will drive hours to find a place where the dogs can run free in nature. We all love it and often spend the whole day in the mountains together. I’ve developed a list of easy dog care to-do’s to ensure we have a great time and arrive and leave together safely.
I recommend the following items for your outdoor adventures:
1. Orange vests for you and your dog
This may sound like overkill, but I recently had an experience with my dogs that scared me. I was out in the woods with my dogs when I heard shots fired not far from me. I couldn’t see my dogs and terror ran through me. Immediately I realized we were not prepared for the hunters. Bright colored vests would have helped the hunters know we were not deer, and please don’t shoot us. Every year you hear the stories of accidental shootings. Don’t be the next casualty — don your orange vests!
2. Current dog tags on collars
Keeping a collar and current dog tags on your dog helps others get him home if you get separated. One thing I have recently done is change the dog tags to read “I must be lost. Please call Mom. (xxx) xxx-xxxx”. This gives all the pertinent information, yet doesn’t provide information for an easy abduction. I don’t want someone to know my babies’ names, which might lead the dogs to believe the stranger is a friend.
3. Foot and body check during and after the outing
I check my dogs’ paws and body frequently to remove the debris from the fall season — gum balls, seeds, burrs, rocks, thorns, pine needles, and leaves can add up to irritation or lameness.
4. Fresh water and a bowl
If I can help it, I don’t let my dogs drink standing water. I carry fresh water instead. I have had to deal with stomach problems in the past from bacteria in standing water. Carrying your own water is a small thing, but doing it can prevent lots of pain and suffering, a vet bill, and a 10-day supply of antibiotics.
I love towels, lots and lots of towels. To me, dropping dirty towels in the washer is much easier and less smelly than detailing a car or working to get that horrible wet, dirty dog smell out of fabric and carpet in my truck.
6. Whistle — long range
Lastly, I whistle-trained my dogs. If we do separate, a blow on the whistle has them running to me. Chances are, they don’t like not being able to see me and will be happy to have me back in their sights. I highly recommend the ACME whistle that sounds from 2-5 miles. Get it on a lanyard and carry it with you.
These 6 simple steps can make your outdoor trip so much more enjoyable, for you and your dogs. And paying attention to the basics in dog care shows your dog just how much you love her.
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