Fall is the perfect time for going on hikes with your dog. The temperatures tend to be reasonable, the bugs are mostly gone (but still beware of ticks!), and many parks and beaches that banned dogs during the peak summer season now allow them.
Plan your hike ahead of time. Put a copy of your dog’s rabies certificate in your glove compartment, as many parks will ask for this. Keeping another copy in your backpack is always a good idea. Pack some water for both of you along with a collapsible bowl for your dog. A treat for your dog along with an energy bar for you is a good addition. Be a responsible dog owner and add some poop pickup bags as well.
Make sure your dog is current on flea and tick protection. If you plan to hike out of your area, ask your veterinarian about the need for any non-core vaccinations such as Lyme or Leptospirosis. Always check the weather forecast ahead, you don’t want to get caught in a cool fall rain shower or even an early snowstorm.
Start off with small hikes if you have not done much hiking with your dog. An inexpensive pedometer can help to track your distance. Daily neighborhood walks will build up stamina for longer hikes in the future.
Where to go? Most state parks will allow dogs – especially during off season. Don’t rule out city areas and beaches.
Remember to follow leash laws in all parks and hiking areas. These are for the safety of wildlife, other hikers (and possible horseback riders), and your dog. Plus, a dog on a leash will avoid encounters with wildlife like skunks and porcupines.
Happy trails to you!