When the leaves change and the weather cools, outdoor activities for dogs jump into season. Rather than sit inside and play with the same old toys, you and your dog can dig into these fun (and inexpensive) activities that take you on new adventures.
Skip Off toState Park
Many state parks offer great hiking trails to enjoy with your dog. First, be sure to pack a small backpack to store water for you and your dog, as well as a leash and a collapsible water bowl for your pup. Secondly, leave some old towels in your car, since some state parks have swimming areas for dogs. Next, be sure to check your state's park and recreation website for restrictions and guidelines as well as hiking maps. Finally, when going hiking, make sure your dog is up to date on all vaccines and always check for ticks after your adventure in the woods. PetMD offers some tips on where and how to check for those pesky parasites.
Hunt for Leaves
Whether you're in your backyard, or at the local park, piling up leaves can be fun for you and your dog. Hide balls or other toys in the pile and encourage your dog to find them. For small dogs, you can gather up leaves and put in an empty baby pool on your porch for them to enjoy. Just be careful to make sure only leaves make it into the pile. Sharp sticks may lead to some painful pokes.
Pumpkin Patches and Hay Rides
There is no doubt that fall is often signaled by the appearance of pumpkins throughout the land, and one of the biggest fall treats is to go and search for your own pumpkin. Because most of these pumpkin patches are outdoors, dogs are often allowed to accompany you, but it might be worth checking with the farm ahead of time to be sure. He'll enjoy the exercise and excitement of the large orange balls while you search for the perfect ones for your family.
Hay rides are also a fun treat for the family as you ride through farm fields and mazes in a trailer pulled by a truck or tractor. Your dog will love all the scents and sights while touring around the farm. The cool air in his face will also be a treat. Just be sure to keep him on a leash so he doesn't get any ideas of chasing after any wildlife or farm animals on the way.
Craft Matching Costumes
Fall is the perfect time to shop for (or even craft your own) matching outfits for you and your furry best friend. Once you have the perfect costumes, go trick-or-treating together or greet trick-or-treaters at your house with your fashionable outfits. Just make sure to keep the candy away from your pooch as it can be harmful to his health. Learn more about Halloween safety tips for your dog.
Dig into Adventure
Fall is a great time to visit a beach or lake since the peak season is over and fewer people are around. Let your dog dig in the sand and splash in the water. The beach or an open grassy area is also a great place to play fetch. Since toys may easily get lost outdoors, why not make your own inexpensive toy to take with you? All you need is a tennis ball, an old t-shirt, a large rubber band, and scissors. Cut the neck and sleeves off the shirt and then cut one of the side seams to give you one long rectangular piece of fabric. Place the tennis ball inside the fabric and secure with a rubber band wrapped around the fabric. Next, cut the remaining fabric into strips but stop cutting about a half inch before you get to the rubber band. Then, take your strips and braid them. Finally, knot off the end of your braids. You now have a tug-and-throw toy that you can play with at the beach or lake that can also be thrown in the washing machine if it gets dirty. One last note about visiting areas with large bodies of water: consider outfitting your pet with a life jacket.
Start a New Routine
Use the fall months to set your pet on the road to health. It's cooler and more comfortable than the height of summer for outdoor activities for dogs, so it's the perfect time to start a new exercise routine. With the right nutrition and a brisk walk every day, your dog can get to a healthy weight before Thanksgiving. Just because we, as humans, might put on a few extra pounds around the holidays, doesn't mean your dog has to as well. Who knows, helping him exercise might be just what you need to keep yourself motivated too.
Fall is the perfect time of year to be active with your dog and create fun memories together. While you're out and about, be sure to capture your moments and share with others to hopefully encourage them to be active with their dogs, too!
Chrissie Klinger is an educator, writer, and mother of two children, three dogs, and three cats. She enjoys living an active and eco-friendly lifestyle.