Dogs and nature go hand-in-hand. If you’re a canine owner, we probably don’t need to tell you that. Just ask your dog if they want to go “out” and wait for their tail to start wagging! The best part?
Dogs can benefit from spending time in the great outdoors just as much as humans. It’s a great way for them to stay active and boost their mood. You’ll also reap the mental and physical rewards. Spending time outside can reduce stress, boost energy levels, and even help with symptoms of anxiety or depression.
However, it’s crucial to enjoy your time outside with your dog safely and responsibly. Whether you’re heading to the local park for socialization or taking your four-legged friend hiking, hunting, or camping, safety should be a top priority.
So, how can you make sure you’re getting enough time outside with your pet while keeping yourself safe and respecting nature? Let’s cover a few helpful tips and suggestions.
Protect Your Pet
Before your dog spends a lot of time outside, it’s important to make sure they’re healthy enough to do so – that includes protecting them from potential threats. The great outdoors can be great for their health, but nature doesn’t come without risks. For dogs, some of those risks include
- Bug bites
- Poisonous plants
- Other animals
While you can’t prevent accidents from happening, you can help to ensure they don’t seriously injure your dog or make them sick by protecting them as much as possible. That starts with keeping your dog up-to-date on vaccinations and de-worming. They should also be on some kind of flea and tick repellant to keep them from getting bitten by those pests.
If you’re not sure about your dog’s health, start taking them to routine veterinary visits. You wouldn’t miss your annual check-up with your physician, and your canine companion shouldn’t, either. Their vet will be able to give you insight into their health and offer tips to keep them safe while they’re outside, including how to keep them from getting dehydrated and how to look for (and remove) ticks from their fur and skin after spending time outside.
Don’t Push Them Too Hard
Dogs need a lot of exercise, and sometimes it might seem like your four-legged friend has endless energy.
However, just like humans, they can tire out easily – and it can quickly become dangerous! If you like to challenge yourself with long hikes and rough terrain, it’s important to keep your dog’s stamina in mind. Think about how you prepare for a tough trek. You probably pack extra water and food and dress comfortably to keep your body cool. Your dog relies on you to plan ahead for them, too.
Be sure to pack plenty of water for your pet if you’re going to be involved in a lot of physical activity outside, or even if it’s just a hot day. Most importantly, pay attention to their behaviors and look for signs of exhaustion, including
- Lagging behind
- Labored breathing
- Laying down frequently
- Foaming saliva
It’s normal for dogs to want to be involved in their humans’ hobbies and interests. They’re called “man’s best friend” for a reason! However, they aren’t able to plan and prepare for those hobbies the way you are. If you want to bring them along and you know there are risks involved, do your part to keep them safe – they’re counting on you.
Protecting the Planet With Your Pet
No matter what you like to do outside with your dog, you both must enjoy your outdoor experiences responsibly. That includes respecting other people and animals and understanding things like trail etiquette when you’re hiking.
It also includes taking care of the planet.
If you enjoy spending time outside, you should be eager to “give back” to your natural surroundings so you and your furry companion can continue to go on adventures together.
What does that look like?
The easiest (and one of the most important) thing you can do is to clean up after your pet. That should go without saying, whether you’re walking through the neighborhood or going on a long camping trip. Picking up after your dog goes to the bathroom isn’t just common courtesy; it’s actually an environmental issue.
As dog waste decomposes, it can add harmful bacteria to local water systems. That’s dangerous for the planet and human health. Simply disposing of your dog’s waste properly will make a big difference in promoting health and safety for everyone.
You should also be respectful of nature no matter what you’re doing with your pet. That includes not letting them urinate on trees, scratch at plants or flowers, or disturb natural habitats or ecosystems while you’re outside. Your four-legged friend might not be able to understand why they need to respect nature and enjoy it responsibly, but they should understand basic training commands and listen to you when you tell them “no.”
No matter how you and your dog like to enjoy the great outdoors, keeping everyone safe and being a responsible pet owner should be at the top of your priority list. Put these suggestions into practice each time you head outside with your dog, and you’ll both be able to make the most of every minute.