Small Dog Adventure

posted: 05/15/12
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How to Have an Adventure with Your Small Dog
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We've all seen pictures of a big golden retriever or black lab playing fetch on the beach or hiking in the wilderness alongside a doting owner. These are typical images that convey adventure with man's best friend, but they don't tell the whole story, as anyone who's owned a small dog knows. Perhaps more than large breeds -- which, admittedly, can make great sidekicks -- little ones are terrific travel companions, since they don't require a lot of legroom and are often just as athletic as their big counterparts. From city streets to wide-open spaces in the country, there are plenty of fun ways you and your diminutive dog can have an adventure. Keep reading to learn some "paw-inspiring" ways to have a good time, as well as must-know tips to keep your small pup safe on your journey.

Big Ideas for Small Dogs

Although a busy city might not lend itself well to natural areas for dogs to roam, there's always room for an adventure, especially for small dogs. Dog parks are a great place to start, and they offer an excellent opportunity for your pooch to wander free, socialize with other dogs and play in a safe environment. Many parks offer a separate section for petite pups so you can feel secure knowing the big dogs won't pick on your tail-wagger. After playing at the park, cool off at a dog-friendly café or restaurant. Check out pet travel Web sites such as to locate eateries that not only welcome dogs, but offer canine cuisine, too.

If the great outdoors is more your speed, consider camping for a great way to get back to nature with your small dog. Most campgrounds and national forests are dog-friendly as long as you abide by a few rules -- just check ahead to make sure pets are allowed. Once you arrive and set up camp, grab a leash and hit an open trail for a hike to work off some energy and discover new territory. As the sun fades, set up a campfire and enjoy a night under the stars, just don't allow your pooch to get too close to the flames. Is your tiny tyke a water hound? If so, look for a dog-friendly lake or beach for adventures in water sports. From boating and swimming to splashing along the shore, there's plenty of fun to be had on the water with your four-legged friend.

When a staycation is what you have in mind, don't discount the adventures awaiting your small dog right in your own backyard. Blow bubbles for your pup to catch, set up a baby pool for wading time or organize an obstacle course to work on agility training. You can also have a backyard camping expedition, which might be a good activity for first-timers before heading to a real campsite. Finally, read your local newspaper to find activities that might make a good match for you and your small dog to participate in, such as dog days at the farmer's market, fashion shows at a dog boutique or canine cupcake day at your favorite bakery. You never know where your next adventure might be!

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What to Pack
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Regardless of where you go for your adventure, make sure to pack accordingly. Bring along a pet crate in case your little pup wants to escape the crowds or needs a quiet place to take a nap. Also, some small dog leashes can be on the flimsy side, so make sure you pack a sturdy one that's fit for big adventures.

For all trips, take along plenty of disposable waste bags, a collapsible water bowl, bottled water and food. If it's cold out, consider packing a jacket made specifically for dogs, especially if your small K-9 doesn't have a thick coat of fur to keep him warm. Depending on the type of journey you're embarking on, you might need to pack a doggie life jacket, bedding, a first aid kit and vaccination records for your pet, too. And of course, don't forget toys, like flying discs or balls for spontaneous games.

Small Dog Safety

Your dog's well-being is the most important consideration on any adventure. Follow these tips to ensure your quest is not only enjoyable but also safe.

- Make sure your dog is current on all vaccines before venturing out, and attach a dog tag to your pup's collar that includes his name and your contact phone number in case you get separated.

- While hiking or camping in the wilderness, make sure you keep your small dog on a leash at all times. If he runs off and gets lost, there's always a chance he could fall prey to a larger animal.

- Never leave your dog in a parked car for any length of time, regardless of the weather.

- Bring your own water. Don't allow your dog to drink from streams or other unknown water sources, as they could contain bacteria.

- Always check your pooch for ticks or burrs after a day outdoors.

- If your dog will be around water, make sure he is fitted with a life jacket for his small frame. Your small dog is probably most happy just being around those he loves the most, so any special attention or activity will be an adventure in his eyes. Plan activities you will both love, and your little pup will provide plenty of excitement with just his big personality.

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