Get ready for summer’s best NW escapades
This is the time of year when clear skies and warmer temperatures invite us to explore. But after months of slower, cooler days, we and our dogs need to pace ourselves.
Age and Ability
Consider the fitness level of both you and your best friend. Those who are active, healthy and relatively young will enjoy long hikes and big treks. For others, easier, shorter excursions are just as fun and beneficial (physically and mentally).
Consider terrain, plants, wildlife, and insects. Keep dogs on leash or voice control to avoid confrontations or injuries to themselves or wildlife. Especially keep small dogs close and be watchful of possible predators. It's also important to watch for poison oak or treacherous foxtails. The latter can cause severe ear problems in dogs, and if you venture into a tick zone, treat your pet in advance and do a thorough post-activity check — of both pooch and human.
Be prepped and equipped for the conditions. Depending on age, breed, color, and coat, the same trek might warrant a coat for one pup and sunscreen for another. If your activity buddy is a Pug, Boxer, or other short-nosed (brachycephalic) breed, watch for signs of labored breathing with exertion. Remember, too: walking on hot surfaces is dangerous for dogs as their pads can easily burn.
Most parks and recreation spots require you to have your dog on leash, so a sturdy, comfortable lead is a must. Harnesses can be nice on hikes where enthusiasm might make your dog want to pull ahead.
If you’re really venturing out, pack some essentials for the unexpected. Nobody plans on getting lost or having an injured hiking partner, but it’s wise to prepare. Before you go, consider these items for your backpack:
• Basic first-aid kit (most vets keep a handy content checklist)
• Water and bowl (pet supplies and outdoor retailers stock handy pack-and-carry types)
• Snacks for you and your dog
• Emergency phone numbers (vet, emergency contacts)
• Waste disposal bags
• A bed sheet or blanket (if needed to carry an injured pet)
• Rain poncho/parka (for canines and humans)
• Emergency blanket
• Backpack (medium and large dogs can often carry some gear themselves and share the burden, but be careful to not overload!)
• GPS unit
• Dog booties (available in styles for every activity)
If your pup will be swimming, even strong swimmers benefit from a good flotation vest. For hot-weather adventures, consider a cool coat to shield the dog from the harsh rays of the sun. . Wetting the cool coat also provides effective cooling.
One more possible backpack item is a dog-specific sports drink. Water enhancers like Go Dog and Active are meant to encourage dogs to drink while replenishing electrolytes and helping with stamina and muscle recovery.
Now that you’ve got your checklist and gear ready and checked twice for summer fun, get out there and enjoy! Share your photos with us at SpotMagazineNW on Facebook.
Ruffwear * ruffwear.com
A Portland native, Kennedy Morgan has been around dogs her entire life – from the multitude of strays near the country home of her youth to the crew she calls her own now. Vegas, her retired agility superstar (Great Dane!) has been her primary inspiration for all things dog in the last decade, including her passion for writing.