Fun fall activities for your doggies
Here are some ideas for things you can safely do with your pups during this COVID-19 Autumn. This Autumn shall be like no other. So, we must try and make the best of it. Especially regarding those special members of our family. Our furry friends. They have no conception of what’s happening in our world today. Aren’t they fortunate? Just remember, as you read through the list of things to do with your pup during Autumn, that you’ll have to make exceptions to some of them.
1. If you are fortunate to have some sunflower fields nearby, visit them. Great fun for you and your pup. Not only do they make a lovely bouquet to take home with you after your visit, but just one flower head produces enough seeds to roast and enjoy as a healthy snack for both you and your doggie. But, always remember to peel them first before giving them to him and NEVER salt them.
Be sure to call ahead and inquire if your sunflower field is dog friendly. And don’t forget to take lots of pictures. Beautiful memories you’ll be creating. Always use good manners by keeping your dog leashed. Take along some dog refuse bags just in case. Water and a collapsible bowl, trash bags, wash-ups, and a towel in case you run into damp weather or he happens to find the only puddle in the field.
2. How about a pumpkin patch? Or perhaps a farmer’s market or garden center. You can usually find pumpkins in those places. With COVID-19 remaining at the forefront, so many of the autumn festivals have been canceled. However, some events may still occur, but in a limited person capacity.
Please be sure to do your homework before venturing out, pet in tow, just to be sure. If tickets are mandatory, be sure to get yours early. Again, and I cannot reiterate it enough, be a responsible pet owner. Keep your dog on a leash, bring potty bags, etc.
How about making some yummy pumpkin treats for Fido? We’ve made it easy for you. Check out our Recipe of the Month for making yummy homemade dog treats. Your pups will thank you.
After you and your pup have left the pumpkin patch having the time of your lives, you’re now ready to carve that carefully selected pumpkin. Gather your pumpkin carving supplies at the ready. This year try your skill at creating a carving of your dog. Okay, so we know you’re no Picasso, but give it a go anyway. It may just be one of the most fun times you’ve had. You can also keep it simple by creating a paw print. And your pooch might enjoy a few seeds and some raw pulp to nibble on as you do the carving. Raw pumpkin is both safe and healthy for your dogs. The pulp is low in calories, plus its blend of soluble and insoluble fiber makes it an impressively effective treatment for diarrhea and/or constipation.
3) Corn mazes at the farm aren’t only for people. Nope! These can be loads of fun for your dog, as well. If you’re lucky enough to find one that allows dogs, do visit it. Some farms offer doggie days corn maze fun after the prime fall traffic is over, and they’re about to close down for the year. Be sure to call and inquire if your corn maze farm offers a doggie-friendly day.
4) Hiking with your pup. Any hiking is great fun and good for you both. Whether a short one or hiking the backcountry, your pup will love it. Don’t forget to spray yourself and your dog with tick repellent before you venture out. (Look for our soon to be published article on making your own tick and flea repellent spray. It smells heavenly and is a snap to make.)
Be sure to take your tick repellent spray along as it does wear off, especially if he decides to go wading in a stream, pond, or lake. If there’s water anywhere, he’s most likely to discover it. If you are fortunate enough to live near a waterfall near your hiking trail, let him take advantage of it. As the summer crowds are long gone, you and your pup might just discover you have the waterfall all to yourselves, especially during the week as opposed to busier weekends. If he is a splasher, be sure to bring along his life vest. Sometimes currents can become strong and unpredictable around waterfalls. There’s nothing quite like the trees in full fall bloom surrounding a beautiful waterfall. ENJOY THEM BOTH!
5) Road trips can be so rewarding, especially if your dog loves riding in the car. Years ago, we had a German Shepherd who loved riding in the car so much that if for some reason, we had to lower the tailgate on the station wagon, she would jump in and refuse to get out. So, we would back out of our driveway, drive her around the cul-de-sac, pull back into the garage, lower the tailgate, and she would happily jump out. It didn’t matter how long the trip was; she just loved going.
It seems that because of COVID-19, road trips have become increasingly popular. Whether just a day trip or one lasting several days or weeks, they offer much fun. They’re not only fun for you, but they are wonderful memory makers. But, unlike days of old and COVID restrictions, you might need to take a little initiative and plan ahead. Make some calls or check the internet to ensure your intended destination is open for business and is pet-friendly. And if they are open, what are their restrictions regarding your pet.
When packing your suitcase, don’t forget to pack a bag for your pup. Items you should include are collapsible water and food bowls, food, wash-ups, trash bags, doggie refuse bags, and a gallon of water, just to name a few of the essentials. I’m sure you’ll think of something that I’ve forgotten to add to the list. Now, one of the most important items to pack is your dog’s treats. (Be sure to check out the Recipe of the Month for yummy homemade doggie treats and make a batch for the road. He will adore you.) And please don’t forget his favorite doggie toys and blanket.
They’ll help to make him feel more comfortable in his new surroundings. A little bit of home with all his favorite and familiar smells attached. Some important things to remember, which are easy to overlook, are inoculation records he may need. Rabies tags attached to his collar. Be sure he is micro-chipped. And speaking of collars, throw in an extra one and an extra leash. You never know what he may encounter. It can’t hurt to prepare for the unexpected. Another essential, bath/beach towels in case he gets wet. You can bring an old blanket or a moving blanket (which I keep in the back of my van permanently). I also recommend a full seat cover for your back seat.
When the pup’s not going, and guests are, simply remove it. Your guests don’t need the addition of Fido’s doggie fur coat all over their clothing. Don’t forget his brush and comb to keep him looking handsome on your trip. Plus, it helps to rid him of the tangles from his walks, hikes, and swims. And don’t forget the all-important first-aid kit. (We will soon publish an article on precisely the types of first aid kits to have, and how you can make a pretty impressive one quite inexpensively compared to one you might purchase from a store.)
And last but not least, a spray bottle of pet stain remover for those unplanned accidents or stomach issues. You’ll be glad you thought to include this in your list of “must-haves.” And don’t forget the trash bags and paper towels for cleaning and disposal of everything doggie.
6) Hayrides are great fun for the dog who loves riding in the car with his head out the window. Hayrides provide lots of cool air and much quality time with your best buddy. These adventures are particularly great fun for the well-behaved social dog. But, be sure your farm is pet friendly and welcomes your guy. Always follow good etiquette by keeping him on his leash and minding his manners. Don’t forget pet waste bags and trash bags.
7) Weekend getaways are always fun, and Autumn is the off season for many vacation destinations. Crowds are smaller, and hotel rates are lower, as well. There are loads of dog-friendly hotels, hiking trails, beaches, and campsites. No matter where you go or what you do, you’ll be making a lifetime of memories while doing it together.
8) Visit an apple orchard. This is, without a doubt, the quintessential Autumn activity. Find a pet-friendly orchard and enjoy walking through with your best friend and picking apples as you go. The apples you collect for eating, baking, or giving as gifts, can also be used in making homemade doggie treats. And while at the apple orchard, be sure to follow good pet etiquette. Remember, you probably won’t be the only one there with a dog or children, so be mindful of social distancing, and displaying good manners. Have your pup leashed and have sufficient pet waste bags just in case all of the excitement brings on the need for a potty stop.
9) Take lots of photos. Autumn is a beautiful time to take plenty of pictures with you and your pup. Mother Nature has provided the most spectacular palette for you to take full advantage of while enjoying all she has to offer. So, grab this wondrous opportunity and create a lifetime of precious memories with your doggie.
10) Halloween is hovering on the horizon, and like everything else this year, it’s going to look a little different for everyone. Halloween can be great fun for some dogs and a time of immense stress for others. If you have a well-behaved social butterfly, put him in a costume along with yourself, and greet the little goblins at the door when they come trick or treating. The kids will love it, and so will your dog. Make sure to social distance and use common sense when handing out candy. And don’t forget to take lots of pictures.
If you have a timid dog who hates the doorbell and all the confusion of trick or treaters, put a bowl of candy on the front porch, select a funny Halloween movie like Charlie Brown’s The Great Pumpkin, Hocus Pocus, or the Night Before Christmas, use your imagination. Turn the volume up so your doggie doesn’t hear the doorbell or the noisy kiddos outside. Put a fire in the fireplace and curl up on the couch with your pooch and a bowl of popcorn. Don’t give him any of your popcorn as it’s not good for doggies. Well, maybe one little piece won’t hurt. That’s just me talking as I’ve given my big Golden a piece or two. It’s hard not to share when his huge head is resting almost in the popcorn bowl. Just sayin’.
11) Trick or treating with your pup can be great fun. If your pup is a social one, take him along for a walk while the trick or treaters are out. And if he’s a dog that’s game for most things, dress him in a costume. Your kids and everyone else’s kids will love seeing him.
While at home, make it safe for him and the goblins at your door. Put up a gate to avoid any mishaps like his getting out, knocking down the kids, or running away. There’s so much excitement on Halloween. We need to avert disasters. That’s the last thing you need. Keep it safe for everyone.
Autumn is a beautiful time. And what could be more fun than watching your dog plow through a pile of leaves you’ve raked up in your yard. Just the look on his sweet face as he jumps into and out of that big pile of leaves. The amazement on his face as he chases a rogue leaf trying its darnedest to escape as the wind catches it and blows it off the pile. Or maybe watching as he attempts to find his favorite toy hiding beneath the colorful pile while sniffing it out. You can almost see the smile on his face as he has so much fun. Don’t forget your camera. In years to come, these pictures and videos will give you tons of enjoyable memories.
This year things are blatantly different from years gone by because of COVID-19. But through all the complexities and challenges we’ve had to overcome, something magical happened. We’ve become a family again. Taking walks with our children, our spouses, and our pets, and loving it in the process. Walking out our front door instead of backing out of the garage has become the new norm for many families. Families are rediscovering what their yards look like as they find themselves playing with their kids and their pets and enjoying the beauty of their backyard.
Yes, our world has changed. But for our precious pups, they love us more than ever. They are the one positive constant in a world rife with turmoil and uncertainties. The unconditional love and trust of our best friend – well, my friends, for me, it doesn’t get much better than that.