This Fall Hit the Trail with Your Kids and Pets

Wednesday, November 6, 2013 - 4:45pm
Family sits on rock next to dog

There are still a few weeks left to enjoy the beautiful autumn weather! Before the winter cold sets in, one of the best ways to take advantage of the season is to load your family in the car (including your pets!) and hit the trail for an afternoon hike. As you plan your next outdoor adventure, be sure to sit down with your kids to go over some important pet safety tips.

Pack a leash:  Extension leashes are great for wide open spaces, but if your romp is taking you through wooded areas, it's best to leave the flexi-leads at home so your dog won’t find herself tangled in the brush. Unless the trail allows off-leash dogs and your dog knows to come when called, it’s best to keep your dog’s leash on at all times.

IDs, please: Always make sure that your current contact information, including your cell phone number, is attached to your dog's collar or body harness.

Leave no trace: Bring baggies along so you can scoop up after your dog when she uses the bathroom. It’s courteous to clean up after your dog in the woods as you would in your neighborhood or local park.

Stay hydrated: Be sure to pack enough water for your whole family, including your furry friends! Don’t allow your dog to drink from ponds, streams or puddles—they may contain nasty parasites or toxins that could cause her harm.

It’s also a good idea to check your pet’s veterinary records to ensure that all of her vaccinations are up-to-date. Pack our printable PDF of hiking safety tips for quick reference while you’re on the trail. Enjoy the great outdoors!

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Lollie Ragana

Also, depending where you live, if you have rattlesnakes, it's really important to keep your dog on a leash and on the trail with you. Snakes love to sleep in bushes and dogs love to go dashing through them and dogs do get bitten by doing that. Squirrels dig holes, then move out of them and snakes move in. Dogs smell the squirrels and stick their noses in the holes and then get bitten if they've invaded a snake's den.

Jeffrey Fritts

I live in Alaska and there are moose and bear out there on those trails. It could not be more important in a situation like that to be able to keep your dog under control. I am fortunate that my dog is not prone to barking at wild animals and raising their (the wild animal's) sense of being threatened. So please for all of these reasons unless you have absolute control and are SURE your dog will obey your commands under ANY situation keep them and yourself safe.