From throwing the frisbee and playing fetch to camping under the stars, there are tons of awesome outdoor activities that you can do with your dog and other pets. Your furry friends thrive when they are outside so it is important to get out as often as you can. Not only is there a ton of fun stuff to do, but they also get the exercise and fresh air that keeps them happy and healthy and thrilled to be by your side.
While it is important to spend time in nature, it is also essential to keep your pet healthy and safe. That includes when you are out on exciting adventures or even when playing in your own backyard. To help you out, we have seven awesome tips to help ensure that your dog, cat, or other furry companion is safe during your next outing.
1. Take Precautions To Avoid Getting Lost
No matter how independent you may believe your pet to be, it is still important that you keep an eye on them at all times, whether they are at the dog park or on a hiking expedition. As we all know, dogs can have a mind of their own, so if they do end up running away, you will want to ensure that they can be easily found. That means keeping their collar on at all times with the necessary contact information.
Also, if you go on a lot of adventures and you don’t yet have a microchip installed, then this is the time to do so. If your pet wanders off, it is easy to spot their location with a phone app so you can come to their rescue. If you already have a microchip, make sure it is updated with the latest software.
Of course, you should always keep a leash on your dog whenever possible to avoid unknown hazards.
2. Watch Out For Ticks
If you go out into your backyard, the forest, or any wooded area, then you will need to be extra cautious of fleas, ticks, and other pests. Whenever you are done playing outside, give your pet a quick brushing to check for embedded ticks. Beyond that, you should also check your dog weekly to scan for ticks, even if they just go outside to use the bathroom. If you find a tick, you need to safely remove the pest by using tweezers to grab it as close to the pet’s skin as possible. Then, use a smooth motion to pull the tick outward. Once that is done, apply some antiseptic around the bite.
Remember that ticks can cause serious harm to pets and humans alike if they are not taken care of properly. One of the most common ailments is Lyme disease, which can cause rashes and can eventually affect your joints and the nervous system. If you start to notice any sort of irritation on your skin after removing ticks from your dog, then it is a good idea to go to the doctor and get a skin check, where they will test for issues and give you the next course of action.
Fleas can also be a problem, especially at dog parks where they can jump from pet to pet. The best way to avoid fleas is to talk to your veterinarian about an effective flea repellant medication and always ensure that it is up to date.
3. Avoid Other Dangerous Outside Substances
While ticks and fleas are often the number one priority, there are other outside substances that can cause your pet harm. If you bring your dog out a lot and they like to explore, then try to avoid the use of dangerous pesticides on your lawn and plants, as they can be dangerous if inhaled or licked.
If your dog loves to go swimming in the lake, then you should also be watchful of contaminated water that may contain dangerous blue algae. This type of algae can develop in lakes when the temperature rises and it makes the water appear as if it is filled with pea-green paint. If consumed, this algae can cause serious health problems and even lead to death within an hour of contact. Keep an eye out for green water, and if you spot it, keep your dog away.
4. Keep Safe During Car Travel
It is important to be just as careful when driving to your outdoor destination. Consider looking into a dog harness that can secure them during the drive. It is similar to a car seat for humans, but it is the perfect size for your furry friend. Avoid having the dog sit on your lap while driving, or they may get excited, jump onto you or block your view or the road and put both of your lives in jeopardy. Of course, you should also never leave your pet in a hot car by themselves for any length of time.
When out and about, your pets should also be protected against the possibility of walking into traffic and being struck by a car. Make sure that you have proper fencing around your yard and close all gates and doors when not in use. If you are in an unfamiliar area and you believe that there may be traffic nearby, then keep your dog on its leash.
5. Get The Proper Accessories
If you know that you are going to be out and about for an extended period of time, then it is a good idea to pack the necessary outdoor pet accessories to ensure the safety and happiness of your furry friend. For instance, if you will be hiking and you aren’t sure if there will be a lot of shade, then bring a pet umbrella that you can set up anywhere to give your dog a safe refuge from the sun.
In the case that you are planning an extended camping trip, you should go to a local pet store and pick up an outdoor bed or even their own tent so they don’t have to sleep outside while also being protected from the weather. In the weeks leading up to the trip, think about all of the precautions you will need to take and start making a list, so you don’t forget anything important.
6. Keep Your Pet Hydrated
Whenever you are out of the house, you need to keep your pet hydrated, especially if they are out in the hot sun. As a general rule, your dog should drink about one ounce of water for every pound that they weigh on a daily basis. Cats should drink about four ounces for every five pounds of body weight.
Always be prepared to hydrate your pet when you are outdoors. One way to do so is to put a spare water dish in your car or backpack and bring it everywhere you go in case it is needed. If you get the chance, you can also make ice cubes that will take a while to melt. If all else fails, water down their kibble. If your dog is excessively panting or they have a dry nose, it is a sign that they are dehydrated and need liquids.
7. Protect Their Feet
Finally, wherever you go on unfamiliar trails or even on long walks on hot asphalt, you need to protect your pet’s feet. You can do that by staying on soft grass whenever possible and by examining their paws for blood or damage after every long walk. If you go out in cold, snowy conditions, set a time limit to avoid frostbite. Also, consider coating their paws in vaseline to prevent salt and ice from getting in between their toes.
As you can see, there are many ways that you can keep your pet safe while playing out in nature. Consider these tips, and you and your furry friend will have a ball during your next outdoor adventure.