| Michaela Fisher
The warm weather is here and with it the desire to spend some time outdoors. Whether it is a casual stroll in the woods, a day hike, or camping with your pooch, there are some concepts you should keep in mind to preserve the well-being of yourself, your dog, and the natural world. Without further ado, here are six does and don’t when taking your dog into nature.
- Do consider your dog’s behavior
- Taking your dog into nature means often you are farther away from home than normal. You may also be far away from cell service and other human help. Therefore, it is imperative that your dog listens to you. They should be able to sit, stay, heel, and come faithfully. Your dog should also be socialized with both dogs and people, to ensure any trail interactions are uneventful and pleasant.
- Don’t go where you aren’t allowed!
- This might seem like a no-brainer, but some parks, preserves, and natural areas don’t allow dogs, or have special rules in place. Be sure to read up on what is or isn’t okay. Most often for example, dogs are permitted on the trails, but you must pick up after them, having a “leave no trace” policy.
- Do equip your dog with a snug collar
- Any time you take your dog outside your home they should be wearing a collar. The collar should have a tag listing your telephone number and your dog’s name at a minimum, and it wouldn’t hurt to also include a rabies tag and dog license number. This way, if your dog got separated from you, people would be able to reunite you and your canine companion.
- Don’t let your dog harass plants or wildlife
- Be sure to keep your dog on the trail, and keep them on a leash! This will prevent them from chasing animals such as squirrels, chipmunks, or even deer. Don’t let your dog dig at native vegetation.
5. Do give the right of way
- If when out on your nature walk you come into contact with another person who is dog-less, give them the right of way! You and your dog should step out of the way, and command your dog to sit while the person(s) pass you by.
- Don’t forget to check for ticks
- Did you know dogs can get Lyme disease? That’s why after being out in nature you should always check your dog for ticks! You can also apply flea and tick medication, both topically and with specially treated collars. If your dog starts developing signs such as lames, fever, lethargy, and enlarged lymph nodes, take them to the vet, as these are common symptoms of Lyme disease.