Exploring The Great Outdoors With Your Dog: Tips for a Safe and Enjoyable Adventure
As the weather warms up, nothing beats hitting the trails with your dog by your side. However, before you embark on your adventure, it's essential to keep some key tips in mind to make sure your outing is both safe and enjoyable. We're thrilled to share expert knowledge and experience from our Fort William store manager, Lily Fearne and professional dog handlers at Milo’s Dog Club. Their experienced team provide doggy daycare, walking and running services, so they know exactly how to keep pups happy, whatever the weather.
From ensuring your dog stays hydrated to following the countryside code, we'll cover everything you need to know to make the most of your time together in the great outdoors. Whether you're going for a run, hiking up a mountain, or just taking a leisurely stroll, these tips will help keep your dog safe and happy throughout your adventure.
How To Keep Your Dog Safe & Happy In Warmer Months:
Bring plenty of water and a portable bowl for your four-legged friend. Don't let them get parched on your walks/runs or they'll lose focus and not want to continue the walk. A happy and hydrated dog will make your ramble so much better.
Hot pavement is like lava
Just like humans avoid walking on a hot, sandy beaches – stay clear from walking on hot tarmac during the day as it can burn your dog's paws. Take your walks during cooler hours, like the morning or evening, when the sun isn't trying to roast your toes.
Heat stroke is no joke
Watch out for signs of heat stroke, like excessive panting and drooling, and act fast. Take a water break or seek help from your vet if needed.
Protect against pests
Warmer months often mean more pests like fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes. Make sure your dog is up-to-date on their flea and tick prevention medication, and consider using a dog-safe mosquito repellent if needed. Regular grooming can also help keep pests at bay.
Don't be a wild child
Try to avoid letting your dog chase after or disturb wildlife. Let’s look after nature by keeping your dog on a lead near livestock or wooded areas that are more likely to have dear.
"To beat the heat, we schedule our runs and long walks early in the morning for the boys to get exercise. Once it warms up, we love taking short walks in the forest. Our dogs enjoy frozen ice cream as a treat when we get back home. We bring a collapsible bowl for water on the way. During lambing season in Scotland, it's important to keep dogs on leads for everyone's safety on the hill." Lily Fearne, Fort William Store Manager for Cotswold Outdoor
With this advice in mind, you and your furry companion will have a blast exploring the great outdoors together. Just remember, stay hydrated, avoid hot surfaces, watch out for heat stroke, keep pests at bay, and keep your dog's inner wild child in check.
How To Keep Your Furry Friend Comfy in Colder Weather:
Dress to impress
Consider a coat or water-resistant fleece-lined jacket for your dog on chilly days and socks to protect their paws from icy roads. It sounds like a doggy fashion show, but these small adjustments could help your dog feel safe with you out in nature.
Watch for warning signs
Keep an eye out for shivering or paw lifting - your dog may need a shorter walk or a quick break to warm up. Listen to their cues and make sure they're comfortable.
Check the forecast
Don't get caught in a snowstorm. Plan your route accordingly and be prepared for any weather changes that come your way.
Set the scene
Create a cosy nook for your furry friend to snuggle up in after a chilly walk. Add a hot water bottle or heating pad to make it extra toasty - they'll be wagging their tails in no time.
Show off your dog's style with a flashy lead or collar or add some fun patches to their coat. Not only will they look dapper, but it'll also keep them visible and safe during your walks.
Mix it up
Try out a new route or explore a new area. It's like a mini adventure for your pup, with new smells and sights to discover.
"It's our time to shine! Equipped with Ruffwear harnesses and leads, we ensure our boys are comfortable and ready to go. During winter, we cover a lot of miles, so we prioritise their well-being and happiness. While temperature isn't an issue, our dogs aren't fond of gritty pavements, so we have boots to protect their paws in such situations.
In colder weather, our dogs burn more energy, so we always carry extra treats to keep them content. If temperatures drop below freezing, we bring water along to keep them hydrated. If your dog seems chilly or dislikes the rain, consider getting them a coat—it'll make them much happier!
When we camp in winter, we make sure to bring a foam roll mat for our dogs to lay on, keeping them warm and cosy." Lily Fearne, Fort William Store Manager for Cotswold Outdoor
Seamless Travel With Your Dog
"Our dogs have experienced various accommodations during our travels, including tents, Airbnb rentals, hotel rooms, and even ferries!
One important tip we've learned is to give them enough time to explore their new surroundings. We let them off their leads and remove their harnesses or collars, signaling that this is their home for the night. Allowing them to freely explore helps them settle in at their own pace and establishes a sense of safety in the new environment.
To provide additional comfort and familiarity, we bring along blankets and food bowls from home. These familiar items offer a sense of security and help create a cosy atmosphere wherever we go." Lily Fearne, Fort William Store Manager for Cotswold Outdoor
Tips For Safe And Enjoyable Runs With Your Dog
Running with your dog can be a fun way to keep you both healthy and active. But before you hit the pavement, there are a few things to keep in mind:
Firstly, make sure your dog is healthy enough to run by getting them checked by a vet. Then, start slowly and gradually increase the distance and intensity over time, just like you would for yourself. Choosing the right kit is also important. A well-fitted harness is essential for better control and reducing the risk of injury. And, if you plan to run on trails, consider protecting your dog's paws with boots or wax.
Pay attention to your dog's behaviour during runs, watching out for signs of fatigue, overheating, or discomfort. Take breaks as needed and carry water for your furry companion to stay hydrated.
Lastly, consider your dog's age and breed before running with them. Elderly or growing dogs, as well as those with certain health conditions, may not be suitable for running. And some breeds may be better suited to running than others. So, keep all these factors in mind and happy running!
Following The Countryside Code With Your Dog
When you're out and about in the countryside, it's important to be a responsible pup parent. That means following the countryside code - a set of guidelines to help you and your dog be respectful and courteous to the environment and other creatures around you.
When you're around wildlife or livestock, make sure your dog is under control - especially by keeping them on a lead. This will prevent any accidents or damage to the area. Always remember to pick up your dog's poo and dispose of it properly. Trust us, leaving it on the ground is a no-no, as it can spread diseases and harm the environment.
To avoid damaging vegetation and disturbing wildlife, stick to designated paths and trails. This will ensure that the area's natural beauty is preserved for generations to come.
And please, do not let your dog chase or bother wildlife - this can be harmful to the animals and disrupt their natural behaviour. Plus, you wouldn't want to upset any farmers who are authorised to act if they feel their livestock is threatened.
Finally, be considerate of other visitors and their dog. Keep your pup under control, and try to minimise any noise or disturbances. Follow these guidelines, and you and your dog will have a great time exploring the countryside.
"There’s no reason why you can’t be super respectful of the outdoor even with dogs! Pick up their poop (biodegradable bags are great if possible) and dispose of in a bin. If you're a long way from a bin, double bag and tie to the back of a rucksack. If there’s livestock around, keep your dogs on a lead regardless of how great you think they might be with other animals. It’s fair to the livestock and doesn’t take a moment to clip your dog back on the lead.
Finally, respect other outdoor users - we love our dogs but others might not be so keen and it's important to remember this. Make sure they’re under control and not running directly at other hikers, bikers or runners. I’d hate for someone to have their day ruined by a misunderstanding on my part." Lily Fearne, Fort William Store Manager for Cotswold Outdoor
Taking your dog on outdoor adventures can be fun and beneficial for both of you. Thanks to Milo's Dog Club and Lily Fearne for sharing their expertise to ensure the safety and happiness of you and your dog. Remember that every dog is unique, and their individual abilities, preferences, and limitations should be taken into account. It's essential to adapt to your dog's specific needs to help them lead healthy, happy, and safe lives.
Check out Milo’s Dog Club Instagram and Website for more valuable dog walking tips and advice on how you can adapt your outdoor clothing and kit to match all-weather conditions in the UK.
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