Autumn Outdoor Activities for Dogs

Half the fun of having dogs in our lives is sharing various outdoor activities with them, like camping, hiking, pet parades, and play dates at the dog park. Most dogs have lots of physical and mental energy—even saying the word “outside” can send them into a tail-wagging tizzy! Autumn is the perfect time of year to channel that energy into gratifying outdoor adventures you can enjoy together.

Camping with Dogs

When planned with your dog in mind, camping can be a fun and rewarding experience for both of you. Although it involves extra effort and making do without the comforts of home, camping is a great way to escape your day-to-day routine, and get some fresh air.

Ensure That Dogs Are Welcome

If you're staying at a campground, make sure dogs are allowed before hitting the road. The worst time to find out that there’s a 'no-dogs' policy is after you've packed your vehicle and spent hours in the car.

Review Basic Commands

Unless you plan to rough it in a remote area, camping usually involves a good amount of social interaction with other outdoorsy types. Make sure your dog will follow basic commands, even with distractions, to avoid disturbing fellow campers. Daytime at a campground may be filled with bustling activity, but the evenings are usually pretty quiet. Your dog should be able to sit or lie down quietly by the campfire, eat dinner al fresco, and turn in early — all without fussing or barking.

Keep Your Dog on Leash

Even if your dog is friendly and an old pro at following commands, only some dogs will be as social and well-behaved. If your dog wanders over to the next campsite to greet the neighbors and they brought along an aggressive dog, both pets could wind up getting hurt.

Protect Against Ticks

You will get the most out of camping with your dog by taking a few simple precautions:

  • Use a topical treatment such as Adams Plus Flea & Tick Prevention Spot On for Dogs, a week or so before the outing. Continue to protect your dog by applying on a monthly interval.
  • Make sure your dog has received the proper vaccinations, including the one for Lyme disease.
  • Check for ticks often.

Hiking with Dogs

Hiking is great exercise for humans and dogs. Walking strengthens muscles, improves agility, and increases the heart rate — a benefit of any cardiovascular activity. What's more, taking part requires no fancy equipment or significant expense. 

Bring the Right Supplies

Carry plenty of food and treats for your dog, too, as there’s no guarantee that you’ll find the same food you feed your dog in a remote area. Bring fresh water for you both — hiking is thirsty work!

Consider strapping on a doggy backpack with canine first-aid supplies. Unless your dog’s tender feet have been conditioned to rough terrain, include a paw balm, and don’t plan to hike too far.

Precautions on the Trail

Be on the lookout for signs that your dog needs a break. These can range from subtle cues, like panting excessively and slowing down, to more obvious signs of distress like increased salivation and outright stopping to sit down. If your dog tells you that a rest is needed, honor the request by finding the nearest patch of shade.

Remember to bring along a few of your dog’s favorite toys. In addition to treats, you can use these as rewards for coming when called. If your dog encounters a wild animal, following basic commands may keep him out of harm's way. Don't forget waste bags to dispose of waste properly and pack out more than you bring in.

Apple Picking

There's nothing quite so synonymous with fall than an afternoon spent picking apples and stocking up on seasonal sundries. The only thing that would add to the fun would be to bring your pup along. Your dog could burn off steam doing laps in the cool crisp air, while you fill bushels with apples. A quick google search for 'dog friendly apple picking near me' might yield surprising results. Outside most city limits, you'll find a variety of family farms, apple orchards, and pumpkin patches that welcome furry, four-legged friends. 

Fun Runs, Dog 5Ks & Turkey Trots

Cooler weather makes autumn the perfect time to take up running with your pup. The pavement is no longer too hot for tender paws and roads haven't been covered with salt and deicers yet. So why not embrace the opportunity to get your heart pumping and expend excess energy in a healthy way? If you're just getting started consult a vet first, and read up on the benefits of running with your dog. And if you're ready to take running up a notch, offers a comprehensive list of all the dog friendly runs and races across the country. 

Halloween Dog Parades

Not a runner but still want to strut your stuff? Check out your local, or even not-so-local, pet parade. Visitors flock by the thousands to NYC to witness the Annual Tompkins Square Halloween Dog Parade. According to PR Newswire, "more than 75 percent of pet parents are planning to dress their pets up for Halloween and other fall occasions." It's an opportunity to be creative, get outside, and take part in community festivities.

Dog Parks

In theory, dog parks are a wonderful idea. What could be more fun for your dog than running and romping freely with his buddies? There are however, some important guidelines to keep in mind if you want your dog to stay safe and healthy at the dog park. Before letting yours loose, observe the dogs that are there. Are they well socialized? Is any aggressive behavior taking place? Dogs who have been left alone all day and who run around in the park after their owners have returned from work may have too much pent-up energy to play nicely.

Community Precautions

If your pup's going to be 'brushing paws' with lots of canine compadres, be sure he's up to date with his vaccinations. Intestinal parasites are bound to show up in areas heavily trafficked by many dogs. Have your dog tested more often than usual and plan to bring a stool sample to the vet if you notice unexplained diarrhea or other signs of parasites. No matter what type of outdoor adventure you engage in this fall, remember it's essential to protect your pet and treat his environment. 

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