Spring weather in upon us. The gorgeous weather just begs for you to get out and spend some quality time with your four-legged friend. But before you hit PATH400, just remember these tips to make your trip both enjoyable and safe.
1. Bring water for your dog – Although PATH400 is very dog-friendly, there are no drinking fountains so be sure to bring your own water and water receptacle for your dog. Dogs can become dangerously dehydrated and you don’t want to be caught without water, when needed.
2. Be aware of other dogs – Just because a dog is out in public, don’t assume that they are friendly. Some parts of PATH400 narrows and sometimes interaction is difficult to avoid. Never let your dog interact with another strange dog, unless you and the other owner are both agreeable to it. If you have reservations about a strange dog, then keep moving. When in doubt, just move over to the side of the trail until the other dog can pass.
3. Communicate to others that your dog needs space – If your dog is the dog with issues, try to walk on PATH400 in off-peak times. If your dog is reactive to either people or other dogs, be proactive and move far off the trail when you see others coming. Don’t get caught on a narrower portion where interaction is inevitable. Be sure you have plenty of “trail shoulder” wherever you walk. It is also a good idea to visually communicate that your dog needs space by tying a yellow ribbon to your dog’s leash and/or walking harness. This is quickly becoming the universal symbol that a dog needs lots of personal space. Read more about the Yellow Dog Project.
4. Be sensitive to your dog’s paws – Paved trails can become very hot in the summer. Allow your dog to walk on grassy areas of the trail, when possible, to give their tootsies some relief for a while.
5. Protect your dog from the inside out – PATH400 has a few streams and creeks. If you’ve deemed it safe to let your dog explore the water, be sure that your dog is protected first. Many veterinarians will recommend that your dog get the Leptospirosis vaccination, supplemental to your dog’s standard vaccinations, if there is a chance that your dog will be exposed to untreated water sources. Leptospirosis is an infectious bacterial disease that occurs in rodents, dogs, and other mammals that can also be
transmitted to humans.
6. Use common sense – Does it need to be said to use common sense when out in the park or on the trails with your dog? Probably not, but common sense reminders include locking your retractable leash when encountering other dogs and people, not leaving your dog in a hotcar while you go do something else and, last but not least, don’t go walking on PATH400 when it’s lightning out (just for good measure!).
Otherwise, get outside! Go out and have a good time. You’ll find that the wonderful exercise and fresh air will do wonders for your mood and give you lots of quality bonding time with your dog.