Hiking With Your Dog, Part 1

Autumn is such a beautiful time of year for long walks and hikes, and PetravelR™ has some important information for hiking with your dog. Today, in Part 1, PetravelR™ offers some tips for choosing a hiking trail, as well as determining if your dog is physically fit and suited to hiking. Check back next week for Part 2, which will cover what you need to pack and proper hiking gear for your dog.

Hiking is much more strenuous than walking for both you and your dog, so it’s important to ease into hiking and not overdo it.  Backpacker.com recommends that you find canine-friendly trails and follow the advice of Best Hikes with Dogs Inland Northwest author Craig Romano – choose shade trails with soft, leaf- or needle-covered terrain that are “easy on the paws,” and avoid paths with sharp rocks, off-trail routes with steep drops, or any surface that might get very hot.

Photo by Sarah Perlmutter

Photo by Sarah Perlmutter

It’s crucial that you make an honest assessment of your dog’s overall fitness and ability.  Lisa Densmore of the Appalachian Mountain Club cautions that if your daily dog walk consists of a casual stroll around the block and you’ve planned a 10-mile hike, you may end up carrying your canine companion for the second half of the route.  Her rule of thumb: If you cannot feel your dog’s ribs through its fur, it would benefit from more exercise before you hit the trail.  Also, if your dog is going to be carrying a pack, have him start by wearing a light pack around the house, then on walks, gradually increasing both the weight of the pack and the length of the walks.  According to REI’s Erica May, it’s safe to work to up to one-third of your dog’s weight if your dog is in healthy physical condition.

Any dog over 40 pounds and in good condition should be able to hike with you.  Smaller dogs can generally handle a relatively smooth and short trail, but they don’t cover ground as quickly due to their short legs and may need to be carried up and down rocky areas.  Age is a more important consideration than size, because older dogs often suffer from stiff joints, arthritis, and other physical ailments.  You (and your veterinarian) should carefully evaluate any dog 10 years or older before trying anything more challenging than a basic walking trail.  Dogs with hip dysplasia can frequently still handle some hiking trails with proper medication prescribed by your veterinarian (always consult your vet first!).  You should also be very cautious with puppies, because climbing steep, uneven hiking trails can negatively impact the development of their growing joints.

You must be able to maintain control of your dog at all times.  Lisa Densmore notes that your dog must also be well-behaved and completely socialized with both humans to be a good hiking companion.  A good hiker-dog must also be comfortable both on and off-leash, and able to heel, sit, stay, and come at your verbal command.

You can find more detailed information on hiking with dogs at these excellent resources:  Lisa Denmore, A Hiker’s Best Friend, Appalachian Mountain Club; Erica May, Hiking or Backpacking with Your Dog, REI; and, Backpacker.com.


Photo by Sarah Perlmutter, courtesy of Appalachian Mountain Club


House Rabbit Society on Adopt a Friend


This week PetravelR’s™ “Adopt a Friend” features House Rabbit Society (HRS), a volunteer-based nonprofit organization that rescues abandoned rabbits and finds permanent homes for them, and educates the public and assist humane societies, through publications on rabbit care, phone consultation, and classes upon request.

House Rabbit Society believes that ALL rabbits are valuable as individuals, regardless of breed purity, temperament, state of health, or relationship to humans. The welfare of all rabbits is HRS’s primary consideration. It is in the best interest of domestic rabbits to be neutered/spayed, to live in human housing where supervision and protection are provided, and to be treated for illnesses by veterinarians.  Domestic rabbits are companion animals and should be afforded at least the same individual rights, level of care, and opportunity for longevity as commonly afforded to dogs and cats who live as human companions.


Be sure to visit Adopt a Friend on PetravelR™ every week to learn about the latest featured animal shelter or rescue.

PetravelR™ urges you to support your local shelters and rescues by adopting, volunteering, and donating. And remember that spaying and neutering helps reduce overpopulation and makes your pets better family members.

Spectacular New England Vacation for Dogs and Their Humans

PetravelR™ loves that dogs are welcome to bring their human companions on vacation at Vermont’s Paw House Inn.

pawhouse toby

pawhouse room


All guest rooms have a private bathroom and a custom built dog bed.




pawhouse agility

The Inn has a spacious off-leash park about half the size of a football field and completely fenced-in.  Paw House Park offers dog agility, playtime, and general romping, and is available for guests’ use any time, day or night.


Whether you and your dog(s) are looking to reconnect with nature, take a leisurely stroll or explore the back woods of Vermont, there are literally hundreds of dog friendly hiking trails, mountains, lakes, rail trails, and quiet retreats spread for every level throughout the Vermont region. You can even have your dog-friendly wedding at the Paw House Inn!

 PetravelR™ hopes that you and your dogs have a wonderful time!

What the Dog Saw

Ever wonder what the world looks like from your dog’s perspective?   PetravelR™  has found the solution!


The Sony AKADM1 Action Camera Mount for Dogs lets you comfortably attach your Sony Action Cam (sold separately) to your dog’s back and record footage from the dog’s point of view. SonyDog700







The Sony Dog Mount fits medium to large size dogs over approximately 33 lb and with a waist measuring 19.7 – 31.5″ and is compatible with Sony Action Cameras.  Use the optional Sony tilt adapter the get the best camera angle.










You can purchase the Sony Dog Mount for under $50 direct from Sony. It’s also available at several online retailers, including B&H Photo, Adorama Camera, phototools.comFrys.comBackcountry.com, REI.com, and Amazon.  But PetravelR™ reminds you that the view only changes for the lead dog!



SNP Gala Ball in LA Saturday Night!

Will you be in Los Angeles this weekend?  The Spay Neuter Project of Los Angeles (SNP LA) is holding its second annual gala benefit tomorrow night, September 27, 2014, at the Ritz Carlton in Marina Del Rey, California.  The evening’s festivities will include a fun live auction managed by the Charity Angels, as well as dinner, short films, live music and awards program honoring three trailblazers in animal welfare.


This year’s event will raise funds to help SNP LA continue its mission to offer high quality, low-cost spay and neuter services to underserved communities in Los Angeles.  SNP LA has spayed and neutered over 110,000 in the last seven years.  Through its efforts to make these services both affordable and accessible, SNP LA is working to substantially reduce animal shelter intake and to create an environment in which animal shelters no longer rely on euthanizing animals as a way of controlling pet population.

You can still purchase tickets for the gala.  But if you can’t travel to LA for this wonderful evening, you can still support SNP LA with a donation or a tribute/memorial gift.

SNPLA events-2

PetravelR™ is a huge fan of spaying and neutering. It reduces overpopulation and makes your pets better family members.  PetravelR™ urges you to support your local shelters and rescues by adopting, volunteering, and donating.



Leaf Peeping in Wisconsin

Looking for a scenic vacation with your pet?  If your travels take you to Wisconsin this fall, don’t miss your chance to enjoy the beautiful fall foliage on display through October.  Whether you are looking for a day out with your dog, a weekend getaway, or a pet-friendly road trip, PetravelR™ has some great suggestions for you -

Eagle River!

The Chicago Tribune boasts that Eagle River in Wisconsin’s Northwoods area, “offers some of the best leaf viewing in the Midwest.”  Among the many trees you and your traveling companions will enjoy in their full autumn glory are sugar maple, ash, paper birch, ellow birch, oak, hemlock, sumac, quaking aspen and elm.  The Tribune’s Travel Section recommends several scenic routes with spectacular views of Northwoods landscapes and lakes, including County Highway J, which winds through Northern Highland State Forest, and the “photo-worthy” 65-mile long drive along Rustic Road 60.

Eagle RIver2

Pineaire sign And if you are looking for a dog-friendly place to stop for the night, you can rent a rustic cabin at the PineAire Resort Motel, just one mile across the Wisconsin/Michigan border on Route 45 in Watersmeet, Michigan.  (According to the owners, you might even catch a glimpse of their resident doe, Betty, and her fawn, Boop, stopping by for breakfast or a late dinner at dusk!)

Eagle River foliage is at its peak from late September to mid October.

Interested in hiking with your dog?  Devil’s Lake State Park, Wisconsin’s largest state park, allows dogs.  Located in south central Wisconsin about 3 miles south of Baraboo, Devil’s Lake State Park offers magnificent views from 500-foot Quartzite bluffs overlooking a 360-acre lake.

devilslakewisconsin.com fallcolors-header

WI State Parks busterbrown


Pets must be kept on a leash, no longer than 8-feet, at all times.  Check this official Wisconsin State Parks site for detailed information on pet policies.

Sauk Point Trail, part of the 1,000 mile-long Wisconsin Ice Age Trail, is a medium-difficult 4 1/2 mile (each way) hiking trail that connects the main area of the Devil’s Lake State Park with Parfrey’s Glen, Wisconsin’s first State Natural Area.

Devils Lake WI
The grassy, wooded trail offers spectacular views of the Wisconsin River and rugged, glacier-carved quartz bluffs.  According Gorp.com, the trail is moderate enough for small dogs, and there’s plenty of water year-round. Hiking time for the entire trail is about 3 hours.

PetravelR™ loves the fall and we will be featuring different leaf-peeping trips over the next few weeks.  So check back with the PetravelR™ blog regularly and follow us on Facebook for more ideas for viewing the beautiful fall foliage with your pet!

Photos courtesy of the Wisconsin State Department of Tourism, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and Devil’s Lake Park Visitor Guide.

Sources:  Wisconsin State Department of Tourism; Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources; Devil’s Lake Park Visitor Guide; Devil’s Lake Climbing Guides; Gorp.com; chicagotribune.com.


It’s Easier Than Herding Cats

What’s easier than herding cats? Keeping them in Kittywalk Outdoor Cat Enclosure!

kittywalk prod_lawn

PetravelR™ thinks these are pretty neat. The Kittywalk is completely enclosed, with a door at either end.  Made of solid steel wickets and rip stop netting, it provides visibility and ventilation and it’s weather resistant (although your cat may not be!).  You can also attach additional units and accessories from the Kittywalk collection.


kittywalk 6ft


The Kittywalk Deck & Patio is 18″ wide x 24” high x 6 feet long.


The Lawn version is 10 feet long and stakes into the ground to hold it securely.

kittywalk lawn 2

kittywalk bag


The Kittywalk Enclosure comes in its own travel bag and sets up in seconds.  Not only is it easy to store, but you can take the Kittywalk on vacation, so your cat gets to enjoy the change of scenery, too.



And if that’s not enough for your favorite felines, there’s alway’s the Kittywalk Town & Country Outdoor Pet Playpen.

kittywalk towncountry


You can order these enclosures directly from Kittywalk.  The Kittywalk System is also available from CatsPlay1-800-PetMeds, Wayfair, and Amazon.

Training Tips for Your Deaf Dog

If you’ve been following the PetravelR™ blog, you know that this is National Deaf Dog Awareness Week.  So today’s PetravelR™ tip comes from the Deaf Dog Education Action Fund. DDEAF a non-profit organization founded to speak on behalf of and assist in the betterment of life for deaf dogs everywhere.

These training tips, taken from Susan Cope Becker’s book Living With A Deaf Dog can be found on the DDEAF website, along with many other excellent resources.  Ms. Becker’s book is available at Dogwise, AbeBooks.com, and Amazon.  PetravelR™ would like to thank Susan Cope Becker and the Deaf Dog Education Action Fund for their hard work and dedication in saving the lives of deaf dogs, and in improving the lives of these dogs and their owners.

  • Training a deaf dog requires a major commitment and lots of patience. I can’t stress the importance of an American Sign Language pocketbook. It will open up a world of words for you and your dog. Spanky’s vocabulary increased as ours did. Your deaf dog is going to surprise you. All that’s happening is that she is learning signs (and facial expressions) instead of words. I will also add that the first word signs you should concentrate on are sit, down, stay, come, no and stop. When you dog understands these words, begin adding a new one occasionally…car, walk, etc. The first six are enough to begin with.
  • Keep your dog on a leash when walking. The leash, and a fenced yard or stake and lead are necessities with the deaf dog. Buy a dog tag stating, “(dog’s name) is deaf. Please hold and call (your name/phone)”. Put a bell on your dog. Hunting dog bells are good, but if you think too bulky, use one of those loud Christmas bells women wear as necklaces during the holidays. This allows you to hear your dog when he is on the move. Good luck when he falls asleep somewhere out of the way and you can’t find him.
  • To get your dog’s attention, thump on the floor with your fist or foot or wave. Some people use a flashlight or a laser light (Radio Shack). If your dog is outside at night and you want to call him in, turn your porch light off and on.
  • Setter drawingFind a trainer that will take you in a basic obedience class. Use standard obedience signs and American Sign Language (a pocket-sized book version is inexpensive and invaluable). As you speak the commands (your dog will also watch your face and you will have more expression if you are speaking). This should get you to sit, lay, stay, and come. Give the sign and put your dog in the position you want him to be. Reward with food. Repeat. Training sessions should last about 15 minutes. Train a deaf dog just like a hearing dog (except for signing instead of speaking).
  • From there you will be able to train and teach him as many signs as you want. Some deaf dogs that are 5 or 6 years old know up to 50 signs! Spanky knows the difference between toy and ball. Car and walk are her favorite signs. She knows almost 20 signs at one-year-old…so stay with it. They learn so fast.
  • IMPORTANT! When waking him, do it by always touching him GENTLY in the same place. Shoulder is the best. Or put your hand in front of his nose and let your smell wake him. Give him a treat and/or lots of love every time you wake him. Startling the deaf dog out of sleep is usually the touchiest area. The treat will make waking up less traumatic and he will take eager instead of angry. Tell visitors not to touch your dog if he is sleeping, especially children.
  • German shepherd drawingFood rewards are the best way we can reward the deaf puppy since they cannot hear the tone of our voice. (You can taper off the food rewards, as your dog grows older and reward with lots of loving and enthusiasm. The sign for good job is clapping your hands. Some people use a thumbs up.) Carrots (!) are healthy treats, begging strips, dog jerky…
  • The easiest seen by the dog and the easiest to learn for you for the word “good” is to clap your hands. In ASL, this means good job, success. Smile when you do it. Do it often.
  • Leash and fence are a must.
  • There are so many training tips to share, but these are probably the most basic. For specific training answers, post specific questions on the Deaf Dogs list. You’ll receive more replies than you’ll know what to do with! Good Luck. Be patient and loving. Your dog will do the rest.

Adopt a Friend: Humane Society of Fairfax County & Friends of the Fairfax County Animal Shelter

This week on “Adopt a Friend,” PetravelR™ is showcasing two 501(c)(3) non-profits dedicated to helping homeless pets in Fairfax County, Virginia.

The Friends of Fairfax County Animal Shelter (FFCAS) supports the Fairfax County Animal Shelter by providing additional resources to the shelter, promoting the adoption of homeless dogs, cats, birds, small mammals and reptiles in Fairfax County, and educating the community on the importance of spaying and neutering pets.  With donor and volunteer support, the FFCAS provides medical care, food, supplies and so much more to help the shelter care for these loving animals.  Keep up with their latest news and events on the FFCAS Facebook Page.


The Humane Society of Fairfax County (HSFC) was founded almost 50 years ago to rescue and protect animals both domestic and wild from abuse, neglect, abandonment, and cruelty. Its mission is to promote humane education; to prevent all forms of cruelty to animals, both domestic and wild, by every legitimate means; and to assist the community with all matters pertaining to the welfare of animals.  HSFC has dogs, cats, rabbits, small mammals, birds, reptiles, and horses available for adoption.  Your donation or memorial gift to HSFC is fully tax deductible.  And if you are local or will be traveling to Virginia next month, tickets are still available for “A Toast to the Animals,” a benefit for the Humane Society of Fairfax County at Paradise Springs Winery on Saturday, October 18, 2014.

HSFC Sampson_6          HSFC Snow





Visit Adopt a Friend to learn about the many ways you can support these two wonderful organizations and help the animals of Fairfax County.

HSFC Austin4

Thank you from your friends at PetravelR™