October and November are two of the prettiest months of the year in the Midwest; the trees turn brilliant shades of red, orange and yellow, the air cools off from the summer heat and we make every effort to get outside and enjoy it before the dreaded cold of winter is here. Indiana still has heavily wooded areas as well as large city and state parks to accommodate this. For dogs this is a fun time too, so naturally we want to take them along. I would like to offer some tips for safety as you plan your outing. This is taken from a workshop that I present called Hiking and Walking with your Dog.
Growing up in the country, I used to spend hours in the woods behind our house with my dog Queenie. We had a few misadventures, like when I followed the creek the wrong way and ended up very, very far from home. This was before cell phones, so we walked back home on the road. I remember using my bandana as a leash to keep her away from cars. I also remember my dog and I being very tired and thirsty, and that no one really knew where I had been!
As an adult, I am more careful about such excursions so my first tip is: PLAN
Tell someone where you are going. Check the weather, distance, terrain and possible wildlife in the area you want to explore.
If you and your dog don’t get regular exercise, choose a hike without hills and limit your mileage/time. Know your limits and those of your dog to avoid injury and over exertion. Start training for a long hike by doing short hikes and walks to get into shape. Eagle Creek and Holliday Park are two great places for training walks.
A 12 foot leash (leather is easier on your hands and won’t break) It is recommended to keep your dog on leash to avoid encounters with wildlife, snakes or other dogs.
A backpack for you and maybe one for your dog to carry supplies (water, snacks, first aid kit, sunscreen, matches or lighter, whistle, knife, flashlight, fully charged phone, doggie bags)
Identification for you and your dog. Your dog should wear two collars: one for ID tags and one to hook the leash to.
Depending on where you go, your dog may need booties, mushers wax, safety harness, life jacket.
Dehydration can happen even on a cool day so plan to carry water with you. It is not safe for you or your dog to drink from streams, lakes, or rivers. Dehydration happens quickly so set your watch to go off every 20-30 minutes to remind you to drink. If you wait until you are thirsty, you are already getting dehydrated. Tiredness, lethargy, dry sticky gums and difficulty breathing are some signs of dehydration. Plan to carry 1/2 ounce of water per pound per hour. For a two hour hike, this is four 16oz bottles for a 60 pound dog and twelve for a 200 pound person.
Follow trail rules, heed all signs, keep your dog on leash and clean up after yourself and your dog. The hikers’ motto: Leave nothing behind but your footprints.
TAKE A FIRST AID CLASS and KNOW THE TOP 6 FIRST AID SITUATIONS FOR YOUR DOG ON A HIKE
Insect Bites and Stings
Poisonous Plants, Toxins, Parasites
Injury to Extremities
Wounds and Trauma
Autumn is a great time of the year to get out and walk or hike with your dog. Have fun and be safe. For further information please visit the following links:
This article was written by Linda Beatty of Indianapolis, Indiana. She is the owner of Ask Linda Pet Sitting and Pet First Aid 4 Indiana. Linda is a NAPPS certified pet sitter and a PetTech certified pet first aid/CPR trainer. Besides Hiking and Walking with your Dog, Linda also offers workshops on Caring for Senior Pets, Living with a Tiger, The Most Common Pet Emergencies and Pet Sitting as a Career.
You may contact Linda by email firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone 317-224-5243