It’s cold outside! Before you curl up on the couch with a cup of hot chocolate, head out into the woods for a brisk walk with your best bud.
Walks in the woods have inspired painters, poets, and dog owners alike for centuries, especially during autumn. And while a few turns around the neighborhood blocks suffice for daily exercise, there’s nothing quite like a stroll through the forest to clear your mind and give your dog the exercise they need. And if you have a puppy on your hands, there’s definitely no better time than now to expose them to the great outdoors.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind to help you both feel safe and secure out there.
Tip #1: Orange is the new orange
Most states require either 400 or 500 square inches of florescent orange color to make you visible in the forest. Florescent orange is sometimes called ‘blaze’ or ‘hunter’ orange. The bright familiar color provides an element of safety that hunters already use and are aware of, and wearing the color conveys to anyone in the woods – “Hey, I’m here!”
You might find a hat, a vest, bandana or a pack cover – for you and your pooch – and, who knows, you just might be making a fashion statement. After all, even the leaves are turning orange!
Tip #2: Pack that kit!
Your hiking/first-aid kit can take a variety of shapes and sizes. Don’t forget a few essentials that, if properly packed, won’t take up too much room or weigh too much.
- Water! Don’t forget to stay hydrated, both of you! At minimum, dogs should consume 1 oz of water per pound of body weight daily.
- Sheet or towel. Just in case there’s an injury and you need to transport your canine walking buddy over a longer distance, a sheet really would make a difference.
- Bear-repellant. Seems excessive? Not at all. During the colder months, food sources become scarcer and animals in the wild will be hungry. Be ready to protect yourself with some spray, a walking stick, and make lots of noise if you see a bear.
Tip #3: Bring the leash!
Just because you’re in the great outdoors doesn’t mean your dog is ready to become a wild animal. In fact, if you have a more recent four-legged addition to your life, you’ve both already discovered that the leash provides safety and security - for you, your dog and others.
When you’re back home and feeling refreshed, don’t forget to wipe your paws before going inside! Take a little extra time to check for ticks or extra ‘forest friends’ that might have stuck to your best friend’s fur. Now could be the perfect time, in fact, to sit down and brush that lustrous coat, be proud of yourselves for really going out into nature, and finally enjoy that hot chocolate– you’ve earned it!
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