Now that spring has sprung, it’s time to start getting out of the house for some fresh air and exercise. I know that for me, that means bringing along at least one furry family member, if not four, so I like to have a plan for what to bring. I bring my dogs along for anything as simple as an errand run, to an all day hiking outing. No matter how long you plan on going out with your dog, there are a few things that you should always have on hand.
- Water– make sure that you bring not only enough water for you, but also enough for your pet. I always keep a bowl in my car, and the addition of a few jugs of water does the trick. I have a few refillable gallon jugs that go with me. Another easy option is a dog water bottle that has a small trough built right in for your dog to drink from.
- Proof of rabies– Make sure that you keep a copy in your car. Let me say that again. Keep a copy in your car. This is something that the authorities have every right to inspect, and just in case there is some incident involving your dog, you’ll be prepared.
- ID Tags– I know, most dogs these days are chipped, but if by some chance something happens to separate you from your dog, it’s something that any bystanders can take action on immediately without intervention from a vet or dog warden. Another tip: keep pictures of your dogs on your phone. That way, you have something to show anyone keeping an eye out.
- Treats and Toys– the backs of both vehicles in my family are filled with dog equipment, and that definitely includes toys. Personally, our on-the-go toys are balls and tugs, but everyone knows which is their dog’s personal favorite. Having something for them to retrieve, or to play with while you take a break are good options. It’s also a good idea to have treats in your pockets. That way, you can squeeze in a few short training sessions.
- Appropriate leash and collar– well, Duh!, you say. Of course I have a leash and collar on my dog. I know, but make sure that you plan ahead for the environment you’ll be going into. A flat collar may be fine for a short stroll in the woods, but will you be able to control your dog with it in a dense crowd? A flexi-leash is a possible choice out in an open field, but in the woods or an area with a lot of other people and dogs, it could mean disaster. My go-to equipment is whatever collar is appropriate for the dog I’m working with, be it a flat collar or prong collar, and either a cotton or leather 6ft leash. I avoid nylon, because it can give you bad burns running through your hands, and even cut you. The same for flexi-leashes. I know some people love them, but about the only thing I use them for personally is a quick potty break with a trained dog.
- Poop bags and hand sanitizer– be a responsible pet owner and ALWAYS clean up after your dog.
Now that the weather is getting better, don’t wait. Get out with your dog and have a great time. Remember, a little planning ahead can make for a great day.