Pet Safety in Shenandoah National Park
Love to vacation and travel with your pet? Good news, The Shenandoah National Park allows pets on many of their trails. You and your dog can enjoy hiking the beautiful landscape, but the park is asking visitors to prepare themselves for pet safety while in playing in the park.
We’ve compiled some tips for pet safety in Shenandoah National Park to help you and your furry family to have a safe, fun trip.
Bring plenty of water.
Both you and your pet will need to have enough water to last through your time on the trails. You’ll need to pack a water supply for both of you. Be sure to have a delivery system that works for your dog, don’t assume you can just share a bottle. Knowing how your dog handles water on a walk is important. If your dog needs more help there are some great options available for travel bowls and collapsible, silicone bowls. Some option can even clip right onto your pack. Be sure that you have more water than is necessary, if you get temporarily stopped on your journey or have a spill, you’ll need back up.
You wouldn’t dream of heading out for a day long hike wearing a flimsy pair of flip flops. If you have ever gone hiking before, you’ll likely know how important it is to plan ahead and wear a pair of sturdy trail shoes or even hiking boots. Choosing the wrong shoe can ruin your day or even lead to injury. But what about your dog? Are you certain that your dog can handle the rough terrain. Your dog’s paw pads are the only thing protecting their feet, you need to be certain that their paws can really handle it.
How long are planning on hiking? If your dog only ever goes on 15 minute urban jaunts, don’t expect them to suddenly have the endurance for a six hour hike. Some breeds have more natural endurance that others. Plan your total hours ahead of time and stick to it. Along with the water, you’ll need to pack enough food and snacks. Give yourself and your pet breaks to rest and refuel. Check your planned route with guidelines, some trails are not open to dogs.
Where are you staying?
There are many great places to stay near the park including beautiful Shenandoah cabin rentals. Be sure to find out ahead of time that your dog will be welcome. At the end of a long and potentially tiring day of hiking, you’ll want to know that you and your pet have a safe pet friendly place to rest.
Keep your dog on the leash.
This is an important rule to follow. The trails in Shenandoah are not off-leash trails. The recommended guide is a leash length of no more than 6 feet. You and your dog won’t be the only ones enjoying the park, you love and trust your pet but the unsuspecting hiker around the corner might not. Don’t forget that there are other animals in the park as well. IF you think your dog might not handle a snake encounter on their own, you’ll need to have control over the situation. The leash can prevent your dog from chasing a bear, or chasing after a squirrel at full speed. It’s also critical to understand how easily your pet could become lost and in turn how you could then become lost while searching for them. The only way to guarantee your pet will stay on the trail and by your side is to keep them on their leash.