Hello! My name is Katie Allan. I am the blogger over at A Girl and Her Husky where I write about pet product reviews, advice, and stories from life with my dogs. One of my biggest hobbies is spending time outside with my dogs. Spring has sprung and, with it, warmer days are ahead.
If you are anything like me, longer days and warmer weather means more time spent outdoors. Of course, we cannot forget about our furry friends! I wanted to share with you some fun outdoor activities you can do with your pets this spring.
HIKING: In my opinion, this one is the most common outdoor activities that people do with their dogs. Living in north Georgia, I am surrounded by great hikes in the north Georgia mountains less than an hours’ drive away. I take my dog hiking every opportunity possible! Hiking is great exercise for both you and your dog, plus who doesn’t enjoy a relaxing hike through the woods?
A quick Google search can let you know about great trails in your area and if there are any hiking groups near you. I like going with group not only for the social aspect, but for safety as well. If you are a novice hiker, or do not go very often, hiking with a group can be a great place to start.
Here in north Georgia we have several different hiking with dogs groups, but always be sure when you are bringing your dog on a hike to check if dogs are allowed on the trail. Several parks do not allow dogs or only allow them during certain hours. Be sure to follow park rules for leashing your pet and cleaning up after your pet.
Hiking isn’t just for big dogs; small dogs can make great hikers as well! I have seen plenty of 10 pound dogs on my hikes… you would be surprised at how much those little guys can do; however, if you own a snub-nosed dog you will want to be careful. Snub-nosed dogs include breeds such as Pugs, Boston Terriers, Boxers, and Bulldogs. These breeds are prone to breathing problems and can be over exacerbated by hiking too far, especially in the heat.
Cat owners, don’t feel left out! If your cat is comfortable wearing a harness and walking on a leash, they can go hiking too! Hiking with cats is rising in popularity. Always make sure your pet is microchipped, vaccinated, and is up to date on flea and tick preventative before going on a hike. Never take a growing animal hiking, as long periods of exercise can be bad for their joints and could lead to problems later in life. Hiking is a fun activity that can be enjoyed by both you and your furry friend; however, if it does not sound like the activity for you, keep reading for more outdoor fun with pets.
DOG PARKS: This one is just for the dog people out there. Going to dog parks can be a great experience for you dog to play and socialize with other dogs. If your dog is afraid or aggressive towards other dogs, then it might not be a good idea for you; however, if your dog is like mine and enjoys playing with other dogs, then they will most likely have a blast at the dog park! I used to be afraid to go to the dog park because of all the horror stories out there, but I have found those situations are few and far between. The dogs have the opportunity to run around and meet new dogs and go home tired and happy.
Here are a few tips I have learned from visiting the dog park: Never take a dog into the off leash dog park leashed because it can make your dog anxious and he might learn to associate that anxiety with being around other dogs. Imagine if you were stuck on a 6-foot leash and a crowd of people were running up to you trying to shake your hand and talk to you all at the same time… would you want to go back to that place? It is also important for you as the owner to remain calm at the dog park. Your dog can sense your anxiety or nervousness and will react to it. Dogs also sometimes play rough and will bark and growl at each other in play, but “vocal play”does not mean they are fighting or being aggressive. My dog always has fun at the dog park, even if an incident has happened. It is good for dogs to be able to be around other dogs and have fun.
DAY AT THE LAKE: I do not have much personal experience with this one since my dog is afraid of water; however, I know many dogs love going to the lake and going swimming. Whether you have a boat or know of a great beach to go swimming at, you and your dog will love going to the lake together. If you do go to a beach or lake park, make sure dogs are allowed. While I do not think cats would like this activity, you might have a cat that likes water! I have seen the YouTube videos of cats that surf.
PICNIC: This one is another one of my favorite activities to do with my dog. Get your family or friends together and bring your furry friend on a picnic! Of course, be sure to bring your pet something to eat so he won’t be jealous of all the food you are eating! Enjoy a beautiful spring picnic at your favorite park after a hike or a day at the lake. You could be traditional and make your own food, or make it easy and go pick up a to-go order at your favorite restaurant!
SPRING FESTIVAL AND FARMER’S MARKETS: Here in north Georgia we love our festivals and farmer’s markets. Both these events are great to bring your well-behaved pet to experience! Spring is a popular time for outdoor festivals and farmer’s markets. Some festivals might even have vendor booths selling pet items! My dog loves all the attention she gets when we go to events…especially from kids! If your dog is not good in crowds, these types of events might not be for you. Look at your local city’s event calendar or just Google search events near you to find festivals and farmer’s markets to enjoy with your pet. Plus if you go to a farmer’s market or festival, you might find some goodies of your own from the various vendors and sellers to bring home!
5Ks AND OTHER RACES: 5Ks with your pet are fun and help support a cause! During the spring you can almost find a 5K or other race going on every weekend. You can even find 5Ks that support animal causes such as rescues, humane societies or animal rights. Just like with hikes, make sure your dog is fit and able to run a race. Don’t spring a marathon on a dog that hasn’t ever walked more than 2 miles. Dogs need conditioning to be able to go long distances. When taking your pet out in public there are a few things you will need to remember:
- Always follow local leash laws and clean up after your pet.
- Bring water for your pet and training treats with you wherever you go. A travel water bowl or bottle is a great investment.
- Training treats are good to keep around because you never know what may happen when you are out. If your pet escapes from their lead or suddenly forgets their training, treats are good to have around.
- Car safety also is important to keep in mind. I use a car harness for my dog, but you also can use crates to keep your pet safe. Leaving a pet loose in the car is not only a danger for your pet, but could also cause an accident if they were to suddenly jump in your lap or block your view.
Do you have any other ideas of spring activities that you can do with your pets? Let us know in the comments below!
Thanks for reading, Katie of A Girl and Her Husky
From HSNEGA: Special thanks to Katie for being our guest blogger for this post… we love these ideas, especially the 5K! HSNEGA hosts our annual 5K, the Mutt Strut, this year on Saturday, June 11 and you can walk/run with your pup! For more information, visit the Mutt Strut Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/hsnegamuttstrut/. Registration opens April 1!