MTBing With Your Dog

Dizzy and I love to spend as much time outside as possible. It is really hard while in school because often I am at school for twelve hours a day, leaving little day light on either side. I also love to go mountain biking. I try to mesh Dizzy into my free time with what I like to do as much as possible. When I tried to take Dizzy biking a few weeks ago, I ended up tearing up her feet and she had trouble walking for the next few days. I felt terrible! I have been working on a way to take Dizzy biking again, safely.

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Here are some things I am looking into!

  1. Keeping Cool // One thing Dizzy and I have trouble overcoming is the heat. She has so much fur and such a thick coat causing her to overheat so quickly. I am not going to shave her, I just can’t bring myself to do it. I only pick trails where there is easy access to water so she can go swimming and stay cool. We also pick cooler days or go in the morning, before the days get hot.
  2. Booties //  Our last Australian Shepherd, Splash, loved to go biking, and he could really keep up. However, he and Dizzy have the same sensitive feet, making it difficult to take them! I have been looking into getting Dizzy a pair of boots to protect her feet. I found these Ruffwear Griptex Boots that have good reviews. I am just worried that they may slide off. I had taken Dizzy before and we had never had a problem, so I am on the fence of getting her a pair of boots or starting training slowly to build up her feet.
  3. Bells and Lights // Dizzy is a sweet dog and gets along with everyone, but I know dogs can be intimidating to people or other people’s dogs may not be super friendly. I like people to know she is there. Dizzy and I used to do search and rescue and she had a great vest with lights built it and bells attached. You can hear and see her coming, which is great! Here is a great high visibility harness to make sure your dog is visible!
  4. Building Strength // Dizzy has become quite the couch potato over the last few years because I have spent so much time in school. We go for long walks, but that is not the same as running six or eight miles hard. She definitely can’t keep up like she could a few years ago. This is where I am so jealous of Oakley, my brother’s dog. He can go for eighteen miles easily! My plan is to take her out for short rides, starting at just two or three miles and increase by about a mile a week. What I want more than anything is for Dizzy to have fun, not have her drag exhausted and be reluctant to ride!
  5. H20 and Snacks // Bringing plenty of water and snacks for us both is important. It is so easy to get stuck on the trails for longer than you planned (thanks to mechanicals). You also never know when you are going to have an off day and need the extra push. Just like how you need a snack or two for extra energy on a ride, you dog partner does too! I usually just bring granola bars along with me and share some with her.  You can also pack some dog specific treats in your pockets. Your pup may also need a little extra food for dinner that night after these long rides!

 

 

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Traveling with Dogs

I really run most of my day around Dizzy. I feel bad if she doesn’t have a great day every day because she kinda has no control over that. She goes everywhere with me that she can. Whether we are going just up to the grocery store or whether we are going to Vermont, the car has to equipped with what she needs!

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The hardest thing about Dizzy is that she loves to be dirty, and she has a real knack for getting dirty even in the cleanest places. It plays a huge part in what I keep in my car to protect my car and prevent it from becoming brown. Dizzy always ride shot gun when it is just the two of us. Her seat is always protected by a seat cover. It is super easy to put on the seat and you can unclip the part around the headrest if someone else needs to sit there. They can be washed in the washing machine and dried outside!

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I keep a bag in my car with necessities for having her with me. I always keep water in the car with this collapsable water bowl (I got it from Amazon). You never know if the weather is going to change, your car is going to break down, or if you are going to make some extra stops along the way. I also keep dog food or treats around. I am very lucky to have a dog that doesn’t get into things if left in the car, no matter what it is, so I can leave it in a plastic bag. If your dog tends to get into things, I would recommend putting it in a tight sealed container!

I know it may seem weird that there is a tarp in the back of the car. I started this when we were on a search and rescue team because everything got so incredibly dirty. It helps protect the trunk, especially now when dirty bikes shoes and bike wheels go in the car after riding. There is also a stack of blankets and towels. These are great to clean up Dizzy or protect the back seats if needed.

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Dog leashes are an important part of traveling with dogs. In the past, I have forgotten leashes when traveling because I don’t use one to get from the house to the car. I now keep a spare leash or two in the trunk at all times. It is important to always keep a leash because you never know where you might end up or what might happen. I also Dizzy’s everyday leash in the door for easy access. You don’t want to be digging around in the car looking for a leash when you need it!

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I love traveling with Dizzy. I look forward to many road trips ahead, especially to do some great hiking and exploring!

Dog Days

With all this cold weather, I am really lucky to have two dogs who love the cold. Dizzy has such a long, fluffy coat and Oakley has such a dense coat that they can survive the winter. It still shocks me when I take them for a walk. I bundle up in so many layers- long sleeve shirt, then a sweatshirt, then a vest, then a scarf, and then my winter coat- and I can still be frozen outside. I am so jealous of their resilience in the cold.

img_5234 I went hiking this weekend with my friend Julianna and her dog Oliver in the Wissahickon. We went early on Sunday morning to avoid traffic, both cars and people. The dogs had a fantastic time being outside and exploring. And to no one’s surprise, they all tried to go swimming which we quickly prevented. We hiked a little over five miles, and we were all a little tired at the end showing how out of shape this winter has made us.

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The only thing that really gets these guys in the cold is when the ground is salted. I think the salt is really irritating to their paw pads. It makes taking them for walks really hard because they start limping on three legs. I always clean out their paw pads right away, but it ends up happening again almost immediately. I have been looking into getting them some booties to protect their feet. I am not sure how well they would wear these, but I am hoping to give it a try. Or maybe we just won’t get anymore snow this winter, but that seems highly unlikely.

Here are some boots I am deciding between! I am on the fence of whether to get a more durable boots that is reusable, or a less durable boot that is less of an investment.

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Let me know if you have any suggestions or recommendations!

 

 

 

Jurassic Bark

My sister called me up in a panic the other day because her dog Kiwi got into some of her food. Kiwi had gotten into some leftover chocolate chips that had been left out on the counter. Luckily, they were milk chocolate and she only ate a few, and she is doing just fine! But that got me thinking about all the things that our dogs cannot eat. Some of these are actually really dangerous for our dogs to get into.

We all do our best to keep these things out of reach for our dogs, but these guys are sneaky and sometimes things just happen! If your pet does get into these, contact your veterinarian and poison control. They can help talk you through the appropriate medical steps to help protect your dog! If you are ever concerned, seek emergency medical care.

Here are some common foods that our dogs cannot have!

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via huffington post

In our house, there are certain “rules” we follow to help prevent our dogs from getting into these foods!

Chocolate // Any and all chocolate, especially baking chocolate, is kept up on the top shelf in the pantry. Our dogs are creative and know where we keep our food. This is a pre-caution in case we left it open or they get the door open!

Grapes and Raisins // One of my professors told me to keep grapes and raisins out of the house completely- no if, ands, or buts about it. This is because we don’t know how/why these affect the kidneys but because just one single grape or raisin can cause kidney failure, which is incredibly scary! Definitely keep these as far away from your pets as possible!

Xylitol // This is an ingredient found commonly in sugar-free gum and even some peanut butter! This is a deadly ingredient to our pets! Make sure to check your gum and candy ingredients to avoid bringing this into your house.

Cooked bones // Bones are scary because they can splinter and break and can cause lacerations or holes to the GI tract. Avoid giving your pets any of your left over turkey or chicken bones to help prevent this. We also take all leftover trash from food like turkey and chickens to the trash can in the garage that the dogs cannot get into.

Medications // We keep all medications in a medicine cabinet high up in the kitchen. Avoid tossing medications into your purse, bag, or backpack that may be left within your pet’s reach. I have no idea why they enjoy chewing the plastic cap and eating 30 Advil or whatever they got into, but they do! Keeping our medications away from our pets can help to prevent an overdose or their harmful side effects. Many of our medications are processed differently with severe side effects!

I hope these help you protect your dogs!