Category Archives: hiking

How to Protect Your Pet from Wildlife Predators

By Linda Cole

No matter where we live, we share the land with wildlife. Birds of prey, like hawks and eagles, can pose a danger to cats, small dogs, kittens and puppies. Depending on where you live, coyotes, mountain lions and bears may also be a threat. An attack by a wildlife predator can happen in the blink of an eye. How quickly we react can make a difference, and learning how to protect yourself and your pet is your best weapon.

Most predators are active during sunrise and sunset, but they will hunt anytime. Unless you have a 10 foot fence around your property, wild animals will venture into your yard in search of food. Protect your pets by keeping your yard clean. Keep fruit and nuts picked up under trees, and don’t leave food sitting outside where it can be found by wild animals. Coyotes will eat anything, including fruit, and you don’t want to encourage predators to come into your yard.

Compost piles, thick brush or bushes and wood piles make great hiding places for predators. Situate your compost pile away from the areas used by you and your pet, or keep it in an enclosed area. Keep the area under bird feeders cleaned up. Never leave uneaten pet food outside. Secure trash cans with locking lids so they can’t be tipped over, or keep them in a garage or other outside building. Make sure doors are closed to outside buildings to keep unwanted guests out.

Keep your dog on leash during hikes. A dog running ahead of his owner on a trail may return with a predator hot on his heels. If you meet a predator in your own backyard, or while out hiking or walking your dog, stay calm and never run. Pick up small dogs and cats. A stout walking stick is a good weapon to help fend off an attack.

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Winter Activities to Keep Dogs Busy

By Linda Cole

December 21 is the official start of winter, but as far as I’m concerned, when the first snowfall covers the ground – it’s winter! Even with snow on the ground, dogs can still get plenty of healthy stimulation and exercise during the winter months. If your dog is like a couple of mine, the minute the first snowflake hits the ground they head for the couch and a warm blanket to cuddle under, but once they get outside, they have as much fun as the other dogs. Winter activities for dogs can be anything you enjoy doing together.

The first thing to remember when venturing outside in the winter is safety for you and your dog. Winter activities are only fun when no one pulls a muscle, gets too cold or becomes lost. Protecting your pet with a microchip can save his life if he should become separated from you during any outdoor activity. Brush up on survival skills and always remember to pack survival gear for you and your dog when heading outside for some winter fun.


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How to Have Safe Summer Fun with Your Dog


By Julia Williams

Warm, sunny days are here at last! Though many dogs do enjoy romping in the snow, the pleasures of summer are hard to beat. Canines and humans alike shed their heavy winter coats and head outdoors, unencumbered and ready to play. With that in mind, I’ve compiled some ways to have safe summer fun with your dog.

Sports for the Four Legged

Whether your dog is endowed with natural athletic prowess or doesn’t seem to have a competitive bone in his body, you can both still enjoy participating in sports created just for dogs. They will have a good time regardless, because dogs simply don’t worry about such things like winning or losing – they just enjoy the activity for what it is, and they’ll get much-needed exercise too. CANIDAE sponsors many fine canine athletes, in disc dog, dock diving and other fun dog sports.

Disc Dog is an exciting sport that’s been around since the mid-1970s and continues to be popular today, for participants as well as spectators. Using flying discs, teams comprised of dogs and their human handlers participate in “toss and fetch” events or choreographed freestyle routines. Although sometimes referred to as Frisbee Dog, the preferred name is Disc Dog since Frisbee is a trademarked brand. If organized sports aren’t your thing, you and your dog can still have fun with flying discs at the park. Dogs love chasing the discs, and you can try teaching them a few tricks too.

Dock Diving is one of the most beginner friendly dog sports there is. Dogs jump from a dock that is usually 40 feet long into a pool with distance markers that is also 40 feet long. The dogs run down the dock and into the pool to retrieve a toy tossed by the handler. To learn more about this sport, read Getting Started in Dock Diving by Dan Jacobs of the CANIDAE-sponsored “Team Missy.”

Flyball is an international sport that features teams of four dogs competing against each other in relay races. Two teams compete at a time – the first dog jumps over four hurdles and then steps on a spring-loaded box to release a tennis ball. The dog catches the ball in his mouth and races back over the 51-foot-course to the starting point. The second dog then begins the course. The dog team who finishes first without any errors is the winner.

The sport of Dog Agility involves directing your pooch through an obstacle course in a timed race. As they run up ramps, snake through tunnels and race across balance beams, you’ll need to be guiding them every step of the way, which means that you both get lots of exercise in the process.

Water Fun

Most dogs love getting wet, and many are natural born swimmers. If you have your own backyard pool, let Fido practice his dog paddle, or throw floating toys into the water for him to fetch. If your dog doesn’t like to swim, he can still have fun in the water. Buy a kid’s wading pool and designate it a “doggie pool” that your four-legged friend can splash around in to cool off on hot summer days.

When the weather heats up, a dog-friendly beach is a great place to go for a family picnic. Or, teach your dog to surf so they can “hang twenty” in the ocean like the famous surfing-for-charity canine Ricochet, or CANIDAE employee Diane Matsuura’s dog Hailey, who recently competed in the Loews Coronado Resort 5th Annual Surf Dog Competition with 65 other canine surfers.

Vacations and day trips

Hiking is great exercise for people and dogs alike, and there are many state parks across the U.S. that welcome leashed four legged hikers on their trails. Dog friendly national parks are harder to find, but they do exist. You can research them online, but be sure to confirm with the park directly before you go to avoid disappointment.

Camping with your dog can be a wonderful experience. Camping offers lots of new sights and smells for your dog, as well as some stress-reducing peace and quiet for you. As with the hiking, be sure to confirm that your chosen campground allows dogs before setting off for your rugged outdoor adventure.

If hiking and camping aren’t really your cup of tea, you can still have outdoor fun with your canine best buddy by taking him to the local dog park. He can run and romp freely, and socialize with other dogs while you chat with their owners.

Most dogs love riding in the car, and travel with ease whether you’re going on a road trip vacation or just taking a little sight-seeing jaunt around town. A road trip with your dog can make for a fun and memorable family vacation, provided you seek out pet-friendly lodging. Thankfully, there are plenty of motels, cabins and vacation rental homes that allow dogs.

Now that you have some ideas for summer fun with your dog, isn’t it time to shut off the computer and head outdoors?

Read more articles by Julia Williams

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

Winter Fun With Your Dog


By Linda Cole

Winter is one of my favorite times of the year. The air has a fresh crispness, and the beauty of a new snow dressing bare trees in a coat of white is awesome. In the cold night sky, stars twinkle brighter than at any other time of the year. It may be cold, but that doesn’t mean you and your canine buddy can’t enjoy the outdoors. Bundle up and have some winter fun with your dog. Here are some winter activities to help keep you both from putting on extra pounds.

Play fetch in the snow

Just remember to pick a color of ball other than white! One winter, I tossed a white ball (the only one that still had air in it) into a clump of snow and we didn’t find it until spring. Most dogs love to run and hop through snow. Playing fetch with a ball or Frisbee is great exercise for dogs any time of the year, but there’s just something about a good game of fetch in the snow that makes this winter activity special.

Go for a walk

Snow provides plenty of winter fun for your dog, even during a simple walk around the block. Walking in deeper snow provides a great workout for you and your dog. A soft fluffy snow is best because it’s usually a drier snow, and your dog won’t get as wet. The merriment can end quickly if hypothermia sets in however, so it’s important to make sure he doesn’t get too wet. A waterproof dog coat can help keep him drier, and booties will keep salt, sand, chemicals or ice from collecting on his paws.

Hiking

For those who want something more stimulating than a walk, hiking is a great winter activity as long as you and your dog are in good shape. However, winter hikes require extra cautions and preparations. If the ground is covered with snow, even your favorite trail can be confusing to a dog with few familiar smells he can pick up through the snow. It’s best to keep your dog on a leash to prevent any rabbit chasing that could cause him to become lost or disorientated. A length of sturdy rope firmly attached to his leash will allow your dog to romp through the snow while staying safely tethered to you.

When hiking in winter, make sure to carry a backpack with emergency supplies that include a first aid kit, wooden matches, hunting knife, extra clothes, compass, flashlight and extra batteries, and extra food and water for both you and your dog, just to be on the safe side. Don’t forget a waterproof/windproof coat and boots for your dog. It’s best to stick to trails used regularly by other people and always let someone know where you are going and when you expect to return. Check for up-to-date weather conditions before you leave. With proper precautions, hiking on a snowy trail provides a great workout and plenty of winter fun for your dog.

Indoor activities for dogs and owners

For those who prefer the great indoors during winter, try scheduling play dates with other owners. It’s a nice way to pass away an afternoon over coffee (or tea) and cookies for you, and gives your dog a chance to romp with familiar friends.

Work on basic commands

Winter fun with your dog can include teaching him basic commands every canine companion should know. Our dogs are eager to please us, and spending time working on commands like sit, stay, lie down, heel, and come helps you bond with your dog.

Of course the ultimate indoor winter activity that may suit you and your dog perfectly is sitting by a warm cozy fire with a good book or a favorite movie on TV, with your dog sleeping peacefully beside you.

Before engaging in strenuous activity, it’s always a good idea to schedule a vet checkup for your dog. When outdoors, make sure they stay dry and watch them for any signs of hypothermia or frostbite. Dogs get cold too – consider proper coats or sweaters and boots for them whether they are outside for an afternoon or just for a short time.

Outside winter activities aren’t for everyone or every dog, but if you and your canine companion enjoy getting outdoors, there are lots of things you can do together. If you take extra precautions and prepare for the unexpected, playing outdoors with your dog can help you both beat the cold weather blues.

(Photo by Seigo Nohara)

Read more articles by Linda Cole

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

Hiking PET’iquette

If you’re anything like me, you prefer the great wide open to the confines of a dog park and there’s nothing wrong with that. Like me, my dogs also prefer to hit the trail. But, there are rules of etiquette in the wilds, just as there are in the city. Here are a few tips to Doggie Pet’iquette on the trail.
Leashes. Always…
Just because you’re in the wild doesn’t mean your dog gets to act like a wild animal. Especially if you live in the West. Out here, we carry guns and most know how to use them. In the west, there is the potential to run across a rattlesnake (which is no fun when you’re two miles into the mountains and have to carry out a 100 lb dog), and if you’re in the East, you could run across lots of other creatures. So keep your pet on a leash at all times. Trust me – they’ll still enjoy their time! All those smells, new sights, fun things to explore… Yeah, they’ll love it even if on a leash.
Size Matters
The rule is, the bigger the dog, the more of an interred threat. As dog servants, we know that this is not always true, but to the layman, they associate a big Rottie with an eminent attack. Now, if you have a friendly Rottie, you can teach the newbies a thing or two, but never force your knowledge on another. Generally people who fear dogs are fairly unreasonable to begin with, so just show how great your Rottie is by having him sit quietly by your side and letting the person pass by you. Don’t let your big dog off leash – ever. You never know when someone will take their friendly bounds as a sign of aggression and react like prey. We’re all instinctual creatures after all.
Keep small pets off the trail. There has been a recent increase in reports of prey animals (cougars, coyotes, even owls and hawks) snatching small pets from the arms of owners on a trailhead. And just for the record, this is due to human encroachment, not increased aggressiveness on the part of wildlife.
Trail Traffic
Traffic on the trailhead (and you should always be on a trailhead), is largely the same as on a sidewalk. Move to the right to let other people and pets pass, keep a wide margin of error between you and other pets (even if your dog isn’t aggressive, others may be), and if you pass someone who is obviously terrified of animals, put your dog in the sit position and let the humans pass.  The rule is, “dog and owner yield right of way to hikers.”
Clean Up
Be sure that you bring along a lot of plastic baggies and a way to pack out waste. Your dog’s waste can seriously impact the delicate ecosystem and even pass along disease or parasites to the wildlife, but it’s also a matter of having respect for the environment. Be sure your dog is well away from water sources before allowing it to eliminate. 
Additional Resources
Photo Credit: Copyright PetsWeekly, 2001
Stacy Mantle

Find CANIDAE Retailers Near You!

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.