Breathe a sigh of relief—and fresh air—it’s time to get back outside.
Winter is behind us, and hopefully soon the pandemic will be, too. If you and your pup have, like many, been stuck indoors for the past year, re-entry can feel exciting. But before you sign up for that race or head for the hills, there are a handful of things to remember to venture safely out after the pandemic.
Know Before You Go
Reopening plans vary across the globe, and here in the US, they’re different state by state. Do you need a mask? Check your health department’s website and refer to this advice from The Cleveland Clinic. Can your dog accompany you? You may be ready to hit the trail, but some parks have changed guidelines on how many people (and pets) can enter at a specific time. Call the park ranger’s office or the parks and rec department to find out that information. There’s nothing more deflating than showing up to find a park is at capacity.
If you and your dog didn't run many miles this last year, don’t expect to pick back up where you left off February 2020. Instead, schedule a few shake-out runs for you and your dog to assess your current fitness level. Chances are, your dog will start out of the gate faster than you will. Often that’s because their diet is far more controlled than ours. (Hello, pandemic stress potato chips…) Cut yourself some slack; start slowly and build.
Your dog needs a consistent fitness routine as much as you do! Help her build muscle and stamina by committing to a regular outdoor running practice. For you both, sticking to a running routine will help prevent injury, too. As areas start to open up and people get vaccinated, you’ll discover new opportunities to enjoy a long run together. Whether you prefer trails or pavement, or if you love a combo of the two, start plotting runs for the months ahead; forward-planning will keep you excited, motivated, and consistent!
Focus on Safety
Whether you’re heading to the mountains, the beach, or the neighborhood park, get there safely. Your gear should include a crash-tested harness like the Enhanced Strength Tru-Fit Dog Car Harness or the Impact Dog Car Harness to get your dog safely to and from the trail. We’ve survived so much together this last year; don’t risk your pup’s wellbeing on the road now that life is returning to normal.
We’re still in the early stages of emerging from the pandemic. It feels hopeful and exciting to get out again. Venture out with your pup wherever it’s safe and allowed. In all the excitement, though, don’t forget to be mindful of others. Stay distant. Wear a mask as needed. Your dog will thank you for staying safe and healthy so you can enjoy many more healthy miles together!