A DogGeek.com exclusive by Teresa Barker
The sun is finally out, birds are singing, flowers are blooming, and the open road is calling. Although it may sound fun to hop in the car with your dog, open up all the windows and just drive, you won’t get far before you wish you’d packed him a bag, first.
Packing for a road trip with a dog can be fast and easy, and will help keep your pooch safe and comfortable on the drive. Here’s a few things to grab on your way out the door for a day of fun on the road, or to keep in a bag near the door for those spontaneous road-tripping urges!
Before you leave:
- Make sure that your dog is wearing ID tags and his collar (make sure that it has your cell phone number and not just your home address)
- Take the time to potty in your own yard before leaving (there might not be a good location right away, which is always when my dogs like to go)
- Check the weather forecast to be prepared for unexpected weather changes
What to Pack:
- Water dish and water (you don’t know the water quality in some areas, and a picky dog might refuse some)
- Tupperware container with food (that can be used as a feeding bowl, once the lid is removed) and snacks
- Harness or Seatbelt, for the safety of both of you
- Towels or a blanket for the seat (which can get hot in the sun)
- Extra towels/rags (for spills, wet/muddy paws, or accidents)
- Poop bags (always bring more than you think you’ll need!)
- Toys or a chew stick
- Canine first-aid kit
- Make sure that your dog is in good health and up for the excursion, including being current on vaccinations
- Spring means bugs! Remember to have flea/tick and heartworm protection for him
- Stop every 2 hours for a potty break and to stretch
- Don’t leave your dog in a parked car while you go inside for lunch. Pack your own snacks and enjoy a picnic together outdoors in the shade together.
A few minutes of packing, before you leave, can save you hours of frustration on the road. Most importantly, it will ensure that your pooch is safe and comfortable and will enjoy the ride, along with with you!
April 2, 2018 | DogGeek
It is important that your dog receives lots of opportunity for exercise and recreation. Make sure your backyard can provide your dog a place to freely roam, without sacrificing the quality or design of your landscape. With a couple of tricks, you can create the perfect outdoor environment for your pup. Here are some ways to make a dog-friendly backyard landscape:
Dogscape Your Garden
Create an outdoor space that creates harmony between your dog and garden. Keep in mind the needs of your dog when designing your garden. Make sure your dog has the means for exploration, without messing up your plant presentation. Build a running track or path that weaves through the garden to keep the dog on an established path away from plants.
Make the path comfortable for your dog’s paws with small cedar chip mulch or smooth flagstone rocks set in pebbles. Your plants should be soft yet sturdy — anything too delicate can be trampled by your pet. Create stone or driftwood borders around plants for increased protection.
A dog’s good training can go out the window when distracted by the lure of a squirrel chase. Make sure a fence protects your dog from its own uninhibited excitement.
You can provide a solid boundary with a wood fence that surpasses the height of your dog’s jumping capabilities. Set your fence into the ground a few feet deep so that your dog can’t dig a hole under it.
If you’re worried about the solid and stark aesthetic of a fence, plant large shrubs or ornamental grasses along the perimeter. This will keep your yard a green oasis while also keeping your beloved hound safe.
A training course is a way you can engage your dog’s brain or condition it for any course competitions. Create a fun and ideal training course with a circuit setup with structures and fixtures that test a dog’s physical agility.
For a variety of tricks within the course, set up hurdles, a seesaw, cones and tires. Tires are great for your dog to jump through. Use your old tires as a method of sustainable recycling. This is good for the planet and also gives you an excuse to replace your vehicle’s tires with new ones.
Provide your dog with access to water for refreshment after a hearty play session. You can create a natural spring or pond within your landscape that has regular circulation of water. However, if you live in a mosquito-prone region, a large body of water will draw them onto your property.
Alternatively, consider a small drinking fountain for your dog. You can install a water circulation pump within a galvanized tub or trough. This will look rustic and stylish, while providing a water source for your pup.
If you want a more transportable option, iMounTEK makes a hygienic dog fountain. Your dog can quickly be trained to use the paw-pressable pedal that controls the water stream. Since the water is never stagnant, there is less threat of bacterial growth or water contamination.
March 4, 2018 | DogGeek
The holidays are a fun and hectic time for all of us, including the family pets. Here are some tips to make your trip safe and worry free.
- Get their ya-ya’s out before you get in the car! A tired dog is a happy dog. Take them for a walk or to the dog park to get some of the travel excitement out. Besides, you could use the fresh air too! You’ll just be sitting on your butt all day in the care anyway.
- Plan in advance! Before you hit the road, plan out where you can stop with your pets for potty breaks, food and lodging. Don’t wait till the last second! Many hotels, especial pet friendly hotels, sell out quickly. Book your dog friendly hotel in advance.
- Bring water along with water and food bowls. You don’t know if where you stop will have them and it’s always better to have something that your pet is familiar with.
- Pack wisely. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve packed up our pack only to get to our destination to see that we forgot a Frisbee for our Border Collie mix. A Border Collie without a ball or Frisbee is the equivalent of a small child crying on an airplane… no one is going to be happy! Check, double check, then triple check that you brought everything you need!
- Don’t forget the food. Many pet stores are closed (as they should be) on holidays. Don’t let your pet have an upset stomach because they had to eat table scraps that they are not use to.
- Don’t let your gifts get destroyed. No one wants a hole if their gift from a dog that stepped on it during the car ride to Grandma’s. Plan ahead on how you will store everything in your vehicle so that everything gets there in one piece.
- Make sure all tags are up-to-date. Ensure that your correct mobile phone number (including area code, you are traveling) is on all tags and is readable. Also make sure rabies and other tags are up-to-date too. If you have your dog micro-chipped, ensure that all information is correct there too.
- Don’t forget the pet medications too.
Last of all, don’t forget to have a good time! It is the holidays, enjoy them!
November 15, 2017 | DogGeek
As a devoted dog parent, you no doubt enjoy taking part in as many activities as you can with your beloved furry friend. Beyond keeping you both physically active, you relish this time together because the term “man’s best friend” means something special to you.
Already logged enough miles strolling through your neighborhood together? Perhaps now is good opportunity to mix it up with Fido and do something entirely different. Here are four fun and unique activities you and your dog are sure to enjoy:
1. Have Doggy Class Outside
Apparently, you can still teach a dog new tricks. Of course, teaching your dog new commands can be a lot of fun — and it’s also a terrific way to bond with your four-legged best friend. On nice days, head out to a large field and either teach your dog or provide a refresher on performing simple commands, like “stay” or “sit” while he or she is safely on a long leash.
Hold onto the end of the leash and tell your pup to “stay,” while slowly backing away. The goal is to get to the end of the leash without them moving. If your dog is an A+ student when it comes to following commands, you can also practice at a busier location like a local pet store to determine if they can handle distractions.
2. Go Camping and/or Hiking
If you and your dog are looking for something a bit more challenging than a brisk walk through a local park, consider going hiking and camping together. To get started, ask fellow dog lovers about their fave pooch-friendly places to camp and hike, or use Google to find a trail that will match both of your physical abilities and a nearby campground that accepts dogs.
But first things first. Ensure your vehicle is up for the journey by checking your oil and other fluid levels. You’ll also want to take a good look at your tires; after all, the last thing you want is to be stranded in the middle of nowhere with your precious pup while you change your flat.
If your treads look mighty worn or there are other signs of corrosion, consider replacing your tires altogether by checking out selections at a local auto shop or visiting TireBuyer.com. The online tire retailer offers a selection of dependable tires for all makes and models, including trucks that will allow you to get off the main roads.
3. Consider an Agility Course
Ever caught a canine agility competition on TV? Then, like thousands of viewers, you were likely amazed by the fact that dogs of nearly all sizes can learn to race up and down see-saws, go down slides, and zip through long fabric tubes. Of course, you can create a similar obstacle course in your backyard.
Start by setting out some hula hoops and sports cones and, if you think Fido is ready, encourage him to zip down your backyard slide. Additionally, you can encourage your dog to run through, over and around other various pieces of equipment. And since you’ll be running alongside him or her, these activities will provide great exercise for you both.
4. Enjoy a Dog-Friendly Restaurant Patio
Is your pooch usually well-behaved? Does he or she enjoy interacting with other dogs? If so, then you might enjoy heading to a local favorite bar or restaurant that offers a dog-friendly patio.
Of course, if you’re not sure which establishments cater to dogs, simply Google “pet-friendly restaurants” and you’re bound to see a wealth of results. Honestly, what’s better than enjoying a delicious meal or drink with man’s best friend at your feet — especially spots that offer free dog treats and water?
These four activities are a great way to fulfill your quest to get out more with your pup. As a bonus, he or she will certainly reward you with a wagging tail and a bright doggy smile.
November 8, 2017 | DogGeek
According to American Pet Products, 37 percent of pet owners take their animals with them on vacation, a 19 percent increase from about 10 years ago. Now, most dog owners probably don’t need social proof to book their next vacation with their best four-legged friend. So the question isn’t whether to pack up and go, but rather where to go with your dog.
Fortunately, the world is getting more dog-friendly and embracing our favorite furry travel companions. From hotels that welcome man’s best friend to destinations with dog parks and bakeries, there are plenty of places from which to choose. Here are six places your dog will love.
Alaska is a paradise for dogs and their nature-loving owners. Pack up the car and head to Anchorage, Alaska, for year-round skiing, hiking and exploration. Make your first stop Fairbanks Park and look for special dog day festivals. According to Gray Line Alaska, the Anchorage area features six dog parks and off-leash areas where your pup can roam.
However, a road trip to Alaska requires a little planning. Make sure you have plenty of extra snacks and supplies in case you’re on the trails longer than expected. And don’t underestimate Alaska terrain. Keep extra gas, water, sleeping bags and blankets in your trunk in case you get stuck and need to spend the night in the great outdoors.
Additionally, consider upgrading your tires to all-terrain quality treads to keep you safe on the road through a provider like TireBuyer.com.
Featuring rugged terrain hiking, dramatic landscapes and natural waterfalls, Evergreen is a dog lover’s paradise. Let Fido stretch his legs and run at the 107-acre Elk Meadow Open Space Bark Park. Or, head over to Mount Evergreen Loop for a five-mile round trip summit hike to Evergreen Mountain that’s designed for relative ease and leisurely beauty.
There are also plenty of nature-inspired, dog-friendly places to stay in the Evergreen area. Spend the night snuggled up next to your pooch and alongside nature at Evergreens Log Cabin and Wilderness Lodging. Fully furnished rooms are just 15 minutes from downtown Evergreen and showcase Colorado’s vast beauty.
Santa Barbara, California
Head to warmer weather in Santa Barbara, where dogs are welcome companions. Dog beaches are plentiful, allowing man’s best friend to play and splash at places like Arroyo Burro Beach Park and Summerland Beach. Pack a picnic lunch and spend the day burrowing in the sand and meeting new furry friends.
Plus, there are plenty of dog-friendly hotels from which to choose. Surrounded in lush landscape, Fess Parker’s Doubletree Resort features private balconies or patios and special dog-friendly meals. There’s even a dog park nearby, where man’s best friend can run free during a game of Frisbee.
The Southern shores are calling you and your pooch to visit Savannah, Georgia. Spend some time strolling Savannah’s historic district and cobblestone streets before heading to the 30-acre Forsyth Park for some leashed play.
The Savannah Riverfront is a perfect place for people watching and sitting outside at a waterside restaurant watching the barges go by. And for some special fun, head over to the A.T. Hun Art Gallery where dogs are welcome.
Finally, the Kimpton Hotels love their furry guests, and The Brice in Savannah is no exception. Two pets of all sizes are welcome to stay with their owners without an additional fee. Hotel staff even throw in a gift to welcome your dog to Savannah.
April 27, 2017 | DogGeek
A quick walk around the block on a leash isn’t enough physical activity for dogs. Dogtime recommends 30 to 60 minutes of exercise a day, depending on the type of breed and how active they are.
But what if you don’t live near a dog park for additional play? Make a dog retreat in your backyard complete with an obstacle course and design an inspired resting area. Here are five aspects you need to create a dog-friendly backyard that is fit for a king.
Dogs love playing and resting in the sun, but can get overheated after a day of play. Create a shady retreat in your backyard where human and dog friends can cool off. Position benches, an outdoor chaise or a porch swing attached to a tree to cool off. Make sure to put some of your dogs’ favorite calm down toys and lovies nearby so they can nuzzle and gnaw in the shade.
Place a few bowls of water out and break out the frozen treats to make it a family affair. Sugar-free popsicles or cucumber ice water for the kids and grown-ups and Frosty Paws for the dogs are a good place to start.
Doggy Dining Area
Dogs are loyal companions and want to be where the people are. Situate your outdoor patio furniture in a shady area, or add patio umbrellas to block the sun. Roll out an outdoor island or bar cart to stock with snacks and treats. Get inspired by the W Hotel’s Fido’s Kitchen in Los Angeles where patrons and pooches dine together with an organic dog menu of Apple Crunch cakes and blueberry scones.
Dogs often flee their yards because they’re bored or curious about the greener side of the grass next door. Set up your own agility obstacle course with tunnels, a teeter totter for running and balancing and plenty of things to jump through to keep them occupied. Try tying a tie to a rope and hang it from a tree limb that’s low enough for Fido to soar through. Situate a line of PVC piping to let your dogs weave in and out of the course and show off their skills.
A fence is necessary for dogs and children to play safely in your backyard. But that doesn’t mean you need to let an unattractive wooden or chain fence distract from your dog-friendly retreat. Add green vines or paint a wooden fence with a mural or your favorite dog motif to turn it into a canine-inspired beautification area. Your dogs will feel more at home in their natural retreat and can watch the butterflies and birds playing along the green vines and flowers along your fence.
Dogs love to dig, so give them a place to do it that doesn’t involve your flower beds. Set up a dirt or sand box in a small wooden encasement and let your dogs dig and bury to their heart’s content. A tiny wooden fence or retainer around the box keeps the dirt where it belongs.
Arrange some favorite toys or bones nearby so your dogs can hunt, dig, hide and retrieve. If you discover your dogs are actually using their digging depot as a bathroom spot, create a separate dirt spot alongside it and put a small doghouse around it that makes it easy to hide and clean up later.
April 3, 2017 | DogGeek