by Nancy E. Hassel, ThisFurryLife.com
Planning on taking your dog on a post-Turkey-Trot or hike after the Thanksgiving meal is over? Here are some tips to help your dog have a fun, safe, and de-stressing hike with you after the big day! Dogs can get stressed out during the holidays with new noises, crowds, traveling, and unfamiliar people coming and going. Help relieve that stress by going for a hike with your canine pal. Keep these tips in mind when out:
- Make sure you have your dog’s appropriate collar on that has his or her name tags, license, and rabies tag. Even if you are using a training collar to walk your dog, you want identification on your dog at all times. *Don’t have tags on a choke or prong collar – these are training collars that should be taken off when at home. A flat cotton, leather, or nylon collar is best for dog tags.
- Use a good leash. A sturdy leather or cotton 6-foot lead is best, especially if you don’t often walk your dog. Retractable leashes are not the best if in a heavily populated park or if you have no verbal control of your dog. Your dog should be close to you, not 15 – 30 feet ahead wandering around with no direction from you. (And people coming towards you can’t see if your dog is on a leash or not and it could be unnerving for them).
- Bring water, and treats with you if you are going on a longer walk. I love to bring our Spleash with us, so always have water on hand for Cody! (Click here to save 10% on your very own Spleash!)
- Check to make sure you can legally walk your dog in the park you plan to go to. Don’t take your dog off leash if it is not allowed, obey the park rules, and it will be a more enjoyable day for everyone.
- When approaching an oncoming dog and owner, ask if the dog is friendly and if your dog can say hello. Not all dogs are dog-friendly, if you just let your dog wander up to any dog without asking, you could be asking for trouble. If they say no, don’t be offended, just move on.
- Don’t overdo it – if your dog is primarily a yard dog, an 8-mile hike might be too much. Go for a shorter mile or two. Keep a pet first aid kit in your car also.
- Invite a friend or two with their dogs and go together, dogs like to be social and enjoy walking with their canine pals.
- If it is cold out and your dog has short hair, a dog coat will help him keep warm during the walk.
- Also, be careful what park or hiking trail you use in case you are in an area where hunting season is happening. Often areas where hunting is happening may not be marked. Or signs can be confusing, i.e. one sign may say, ‘Nature Preserve No Hunting’ and 50 feet away is a private game hunting area. Call your local town hall to find out more information on where you can safely walk or hike with your dog.
- Most of all have fun and walk your dog often, not just after Thanksgiving! Walking with your dog is a wonderful way to bond, work on training techniques, and drain some energy both physically and mentally for your dog. You know what they say, “A tired dog is a good dog!”
- Lastly, if you are hosting or leaving your dog home for the day – be sure to walk them before a crowd comes over or to drain some energy for your pup to sit home alone all day.
The content of This post originally appeared on LIPetPlace.com, but updated for 2023!