Dog-friendly opportunities abound in almost every city and town. But if you need a little help getting started, here are my top three favorite human-canine getaways:
- Take a Hike
Is there anything more peaceful than trekking along a mountain ridgeline or through dense forest with your best buddy by your side? Luckily, escaping from the city isn’t that hard to do, no matter where you live. For example, in the Pacific Northwest you might try the Eagle Creek hike. Only 45 minutes from Portland, Oregon, this trail features six major waterfalls and old growth forests that provide lush, cool foliage all summer. For other hikes near you, bookmark this list of Dog-Friendly Trails Worldwide. And remember, no matter where you go, prevent your dog from harassing wildlife and practice “leave no trace” principals.
- Make a Splash
There’s almost nothing my dog Chilly loves more than a romp on the beach. One of our favorite sandy escapes is Honeymoon Island State Park in Dunedin, Florida. There are plenty of long stretches of beach, low surf and the water doesn’t get very deep even if you walk or swim out 100 yards. When scouting out beaches, look for and adhere to any restrictions. Some only allow dogs during certain times and others ask that you keep them on leash. Also, keep in mind that not all pets are good swimmers so practice water safety precautions. And don’t forget the sunscreen! Yes, pets can get sunburned. Check out BringFido.com for a list of dog-friendly beaches in your area.
- Be a Hometown Tourist
If you’re like many of us, there are parts of your hometown or region that you don’t take advantage of. This summer, make it a point to explore the wonderful opportunities right in your own backyard. If your dog doesn’t mind noises and crowds, let him tag along to an outdoor event or festival. Ask friends for suggestions on Fido-friendly shopping centers and restaurant patios. Or just check out a different park on the other side of town. Getting out of your own neighborhood allows you to meet new people and pet lovers, and gives your dog a chance to socialize, work on their manners and exercise.
Wherever you go and whatever you do, keep summer fun for everyone by practicing doggie etiquette and safety. For instance, unless you’re in a specified off-leash area, keep your dog on a six-foot, non-retractable leash. Make sure he understands and listens to basic commands. Watch him for overexertion and never leave him unattended in a hot vehicle. Finally, be sure to bring along water and snacks, and always clean up after your dog.