A few days ago, Ruby and I went on a big adventure in the Whakarewarewa Forest. From the Redwoods Visitor Centre, all the way to Green Lake and back, we ran & walked a total of 32km. While I strongly encourage you to go on adventures with your dog, you do need to be aware that not every breed is made for big adventures. The reason why I feel comfortable taking Ruby into the forest for a couple of hours is because she is a tough little farm dog, with crazy amounts of energy & she is bred to be outdoors, working on a farm, for hours and hours.
Safety always comes first while you are in the forest! If you haven’t done many trail adventures with your dog yet, the 10 safety tips below might help you to plan your next outdoor adventure.
10 Safety Tips to consider before you head into the forest with your dog:
- Access to water. When I do long adventures with my dogs, I always bring water for them unless I know that there is water access on the route I have chosen.
- Leash. Always make sure you bring a leash with you, even if you know you will have your dog off-leash during your adventure. You just never know if there will be a situation that you need to have your dog on a leash and therefore fully under control!
- Name and phone number on collar. We used to have bone shaped metal tags attached to Ruby and Hazel’s collars, but they only lasted a few months. You could barely read what was written on their name tags, so a metal tag just didn’t work for us anymore. A few weeks ago, an ad from Custom Pet Collars popped up on my Facebook feed. From only $15, you can get a personalised collar with your dog’s name and your mobile number embroidered on the collar. They are super stylish, affordable and will make it easy for someone to get in touch with you in case your dog gets lost.
- Pest control. Before going into the forest (especially when you are exploring new trails), make sure you know exactly where poison has been used in the forest. Either avoid these areas completely, or have your dog on a leash while running/walking on those trails.
- Access to phone. I always put my phone on flight mode when I do long adventures, to save as much battery as possible in case of an emergency. While it can be hard to find reception in the forest, I usually have at least one bar unless I get to areas that are quite remote.
- First Aid pocket guide. My friend Kat recommended this awesome ‘Pocket First Aid Guide’ to me a few months ago. Having this little pocket guide with me on my adventures makes me feel a lot safer in the forest in case of an emergency.
- First Aid kit. An absolute must-have when you go on adventures. The list below gives you an idea of what items you should have with you.
- Road crossings. You may have to cross a road at some point during your adventure. If you have your dog off leash and want to make sure that you both safely cross the road, this will require some training efforts, but it will be well worth it. For example, my partner and I always make our dogs slow down before a road crossing and stay right beside us. They know that they are not allowed to cross the road until we say a special command, and then they slowly walk across the road with us.
- Dog food. I usually do not bring dog food with me when I am out in the forest with Ruby or Hazel, but it might be beneficial in case of an emergency. For example, if you are stuck in the middle of the forest for a couple of hours because you injured yourself, your dog would probably love you for having some food with you to share.
- Weather forecast. Before you head out, check the weather forecast properly and be as best prepared as you can. For example, avoid rocky trails on a hot summer’s day- your dog might burn his/her paws when walking on the hot rocks. Another example would be to take your dog on trails near a lake. We are lucky to have so many lakes around Rotorua, Ruby’s favourite lakes are probably Blue Lake and Lake Tarawera. In summer, I always stop by the lake after our run/walk so she can go for a swim and cool down.
Now go out and explore some new trails with your adventure buddy- he will love you for it 🙂