Summer is short. In many cases, the best season for summer sports like hiking, paddleboarding and biking may only be a few months long. Before you know it, fall has arrived and you feel like you didn't have as much outdoor fun as you wanted.
Fall is sometimes seen as a "throwaway season" between summer and winter. Summer activities aren't as easy and comfortable to do and the time for winter sports is not yet here. However, with a little extra preparation, you and your dog can enjoy some of your favorite summer activities well into fall.
Hiking in the fall is a great. The trails are less crowded, the air is crisp and cool, and red, yellow, and purple dot the landscape. The sunlight usually isn't as harsh either, which makes for better photos. Muddy trails are one thing that can put a damper on fall hiking. Mud can cover dog's feet and obscure any abrasions or sores. Muddy feet also means a muddy car. Throwing some pet wipes, or baby wipes, and a towel in the car makes wiping dirt off of paws easy. Wiping off your dog's feet before they get into the car allows you to inspect them to make sure there are no injuries and will help to keep your car clean.
It's a good idea to stick with paddleboarding on lakes when you take your dog because lake water tends to stay warmer into the fall. That means your pup won't get as cold if they fall or jump in. To keep your dog as warm as you can, you may want to protect one of the areas of their body where they lose the most heat — the feet. Dog boots are not a great idea because they are hard to swim in but traction socks made for dogs will help keep their feet toasty. A coat will help keep your dog's body core temperature up. If your dog wears a coat though, be sure they are wearing a life jacket too. It will counteract the coat making it more difficult to swim if they end up in the water. A bonus is that the flotation jacket will add an extra layer of warmth.
3) Road Biking
Some dogs love to run along with owners as they ride their bike. In the fall, your dog will likely be able to run longer distances without overheating. Fall mornings can be chilly and icy though so you will start to see sand, salt, and deicers on the pavement. These things can cause abrasions and burns on a dog's feet. You can help prevent injury by applying a protective wax barrier like Musher's Secret on the pads of your dog's feet. Boots work well too if your dog will wear them as they offer more substantial protection for your dog's feet. However, they impair your dog's ability to perspire naturally through their feet so watch them to make sure that they don't overheat.
Simple changes like these can make sure your dog stays safe and happy while you squeeze the most you can out of your favorite summer activities.
**Jessica is a regular contributor to the Sierra Social Hub as part of #TeamSierra. Learn more about adventuring with your dog on her site: You Did What With Your Wiener.
3 Fun Activities You Can Enjoy With Your Dog This Fall
By Jessica Rhae Williams
September 30, 2014
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