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How to organize excursions with dogs
Organize a perfect and uneventful excursion with the guidelines we provide in this post! Outings to natural parks are quite popular among pet-friendly activities; both humans and dogs enjoy a session of exercise and socialization in harmony with nature.
The preparation of these outings goes beyond selecting a route and contacting people. You may need to manage permits and take out accident insurance to avoid setbacks.
Plan the groups carefully
Before designing the route, think about the attendants and the route. Is it targeted to an experienced group of hikers? What is the maximum number of people for the group? What is the maximum number of dogs you can manage?
Leading a group with dogs has its difficulties. Ask attendees for a brief description of their dog and their behavior, especially when they are surrounded by humans and other dogs. With this information, you can organize the group so that reactive dogs (and their owners) can also enjoy the event without problems.
During the walk it is preferable that the group is controlled by two people. One leading the group and the other controlling that no one is left behind. In the event that you are only one person, it would be advisable to find someone to help you.
Make a list of the requirements that attendees have to meet, and send it well in advance so they can prepare. In case there is a need for special material, you can provide some suggestions and send some links where to buy it. For example, if attendees need a life jacket for water activities, or boots to protect the dogs’ pads.
Choose the most suitable route
Taking into account the group to which the exit is directed, determine the difficulty of the route. When choosing the route, keep the following in mind.
It is common to come across other people and animals during the outing. Make sure that the path has enough space so that you can save a reasonable space with other groups.
Bicycles and runners
Check that it is not a very crowded place for cyclists, so you will avoid possible accidents with dogs. We already know that some dogs are very reactive to this type of stimulus.
In the event that the route is crowded by any of these groups, the owners must keep their dogs controlled and tied at all times.
Depending on the season of the year, possible risks must be taken into account:
- Temperature. In summer it is important that the route has enough shade and water and that the hours of the walk do not coincide with the hottest hours. In winter, dogs can suffer if they have to walk through the snow and are not prepared.
- Spikes. The spikes dig into the paws of dogs and are very difficult to remove. In some cases they require a veterinary emergency. To avoid accidents, it is best for dogs to wear booties to protect themselves.
- Mosquitoes. Avoid areas with large numbers of mosquitoes. We already know that, in addition to being annoying, mosquitoes often transmit diseases.
- Processionaries. One of the worst enemies of our dogs. Check that there are no processionary nests in the area, or try this route at a time when the processionaries are not on the ground. Check out the first aid guide we’ve written on this topic.
Ask for the necessary permits
The activities or actions for public use that can be carried out in protected natural spaces (ENP) are classified as allowed, prohibited and authorized. Therefore, before making the excursion you must have received the relevant authorizations.
Luckily, the process can be done online if you have a digital certificate. These authorizations depend on each autonomous community, so depending on the natural park you will have to request authorization in one place or another.
Please note that authorization may take 1 month. Make sure to organize the tour well in advance.
On the day of the activity, it is important that you bring the printed authorization with you.
Depending on the type of activity you do on the excursion, it is likely that you will need to take out accident insurance.
This is an insurance that each assistant can take out individually. However, when several are hired at the same time it is usually cheaper. For this reason, it is usual to include insurance in the price of the excursion and for the organizer to take care of managing it.
Outdoor activities are subject to weather conditions. Be sure to specify the conditions under which the tour cannot take place. For example, in bad weather.
It is advisable to bring:
Water and food
Food for humans and water for humans and dogs. Keep in mind that it is not advisable to feed the dog during the excursion, to avoid the risk of gastric torsion.
Although there are dogs that tolerate the presence of other dogs well while drinking or eating, it is better to assume otherwise. Ask the assistants to give their dogs a drink away from the group to avoid violent situations for the protection of resources.
Emergency kit for dogs and humans
Ideally, the excursion should go smoothly. But in the event of an incident, it is better to be prepared to treat human and dog wounds.
A list of emergency hospitals and veterinarians close to the route
It is better to have the nearby hospitals located before making the excursion. If to the stress of the urgency we add the need to find a veterinarian nearby, the situation can get out of control. So it’s better be safe than sorry.
Authorization of the autonomous community (if necessary)
It may be that the day of the excursion you will meet a forest guard and ask for your authorization to carry out the activity. Carry both the authorization and the insurance papers always with you, both printed.
The day of the excursion
Dogs must eat at least two hours before the excursion. If not, it is preferable to leave them on an empty stomach and avoid the risk of gastric torsion.
Remind people to bring shoes, sportswear, and water. Also, bring containers for the dogs to drink. For health reasons, it is better that dogs do not drink water from streams or places with standing water.
When hiking with dogs, it is important to respect safe distances. Not all dogs are comfortable around unfamiliar dogs.
Although there are some specific places where the dogs can be released, it is necessary to keep them on a leash for most of the journey. You have to use comfortable walking tools: a 2 meter and harnesses, the use of extendable straps is not recommended.
After the excursion
It is always good to know the opinion of the attendees. So you can better understand what they value the most and what other things you can improve. But not everyone is used to giving their opinion face to face. It is preferable to ask them to fill out a questionnaire leaving their assessment.
If you follow these tips, you will surely have an excursion where everyone can have a good time, and without incident. Also, you can put a price on the activity and earn some money while you enjoy.
As always, think that it is better to have a smaller and more controlled group than a large group. And don’t underestimate the importance of having insurance!