Dog Food for Puppies – Critical Things You Need to Know

Proper nutrition for any dog is important, but making sure that you have the right dog food for puppies is even more critical. After all, you want the healthiest dog possible for many years to come, right?

There are few things more exciting in a families life than bringing home that new puppy. But, how much do you really know about feeding him or her properly? These little guys, in some cases not so little, are looking to us to provide a healthy and happy environment that includes wholesome foods.

Unfortunately, for new owners as well as prior, experienced owners, there is a problem in the equation. The problem is that the information that we get as consumers isn’t complete. We don’t know all of the things that are in the food that is offered on the store shelves.

And, this ignorance is killing our best friends. Sometimes in very short order. At the very least the poor quality of the dog food that we have available to is shortening the lives of our canine companions. How much shorter? By some conservative estimates 8.3 years shorter. Others say longer still.

The problem comes in the form of very lax labeling laws that allow manufacturers to have almost anything in their food. Essentially, the law says that the label need only include ingredients that have been added in the plant, not anything that about substances from prior. Considering the sources of dog food, this is frightening. Dog food plants commonly use other euthanized dogs as part of the food. That means that the chemicals used to kill them is in the food too. Makes your head swim just trying to get your thoughts around that one.

But, you don’t have to sit still for having your new puppies life cut short by improper foods. You can do something about it if you desire. By using simple tips that explain what to avoid and what is healthiest for your dog, you can avoid the tragedy that others have faced in having to euthanize this valued member of the family.



Source by Arnie Jacobsen

How To Boost Your Rats Immunity

As winter approaches, it’s important to turn our attention to how we can boost our rat’s immunity against infection and give them the best defence possible during what is often a vulnerable time for rats, especially the elderly.

High humidity, coupled with the cold can create the conditions that affect the respiratory system of a vulnerable rat. This is due to the increase in the water element which can aggravate mucus conditions or those susceptible to them. It’s important to be aware that there is a greater need to balance the water element within the bodily system at this time, so that we can increase the body’s ability to cope with damp and coolness.

In Ayurveda (an ancient Indian healing system based on maintaining balanced health), there is more aggravation of the water element during the winter months. There is a tendency for more mucus conditions to flare up. Therefore, it’s important to try and offset this tendency by creating ‘internal’ balance within the body whilst adjusting ‘external’ conditions to lower stress. We can do this by addressing the environmental factors that may aggravate a watery condition e.g. by using a dehumidifier, also avoiding sweet wet food, reducing stress and incorporating various immune building strategies (as suggested below).

Some rats are more affected by an aggravation of the water element than others, especially those who have already been having recurrent respiratory issues. These rats are going to be more susceptible at this time but it’s important that all rats will need some extra help during this season.

Following are some ideas for you to help boost your rats (and yours too) immunity. I always recommend and personally use human grade supplements because I believe that the whole family’s health is where the focus needs to be on. Many of the supplements created in the pet industry are not that great and have a certain ‘novelty/profit’ value. I feel it’s wiser to seek out better quality supplements that we ourselves would be happy using and then just ‘tithe’ some of these to our rats. Our rats need us to be healthy to look after them so I figure it’s better and less wasteful to buy the kind of supplements that we can all benefit from.

LIFESTYLE CONSIDERATIONS

Stress is a big factor in the body’s defences becoming rundown. Often rats are under stress because of group incompatibilities or other factors. Something we can do is to make sure we’re not putting rats, especially older rats under any undue stress during the winter season e.g. we can avoid big changes in their routine during this time i.e. avoiding new intros to other rats or changing cages/group dynamics etc. Avoid mating/breeding as females would naturally be conserving their own energy during this time. If you’re thinking that our rats are indoors and therefore not affected by the seasons, it’s simply not true. They are energetic beings and intrinsically linked to the greater whole. They are affected by the bio-rhythms of nature even if they are not ‘in’ nature. That is why people can see the effect the moon has on their rat’s behaviour. And why solstices and equinoxes often create a portal for many animals to take their transition. It’s all in the web and flow of energy, yin and yang.

In nature, animals are hibernating at this time of year or keeping close to home, they are not in ‘breeding’ mode. Nature knows it’s a time to withdraw and harness as much energy as possible for building reserves and keeping up resistance to the cold. It is a natural ‘build and rest’ time, which is why most of us put on a few extra pounds during the winter/holiday season! The energy is needed for keeping warm and the focus of heat is within. The trees shed their leaves in the Autumn so that they can keep the sap for sustaining themselves during winter.

You might notice how your rats sleep more in the wintertime, this is their way of conserving energy and keeping in tune with the ‘slowing down’ of nature. The time will come again in Spring when they emerge from their slumber and return to heightened activity levels again. I’m not saying they don’t play, far from it! I’m just saying that levels can fluctuate according to environmental factors/seasonal shifts. There’s always a lot more activity around a full moon, for example. Therefore, by being aware of environmental stress/seasonal shifts and making adjustments accordingly, we can help further boost immunity for our rats over the winter months.

DIETARY CONSIDERATIONS

A whole food diet of seasonal fresh fruit and vegetables, especially those rich in chlorophyll such as kale will supply vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytochemcials that will help to protect against cancer and also boost the immune system. Think in terms of availability as in seasonal, organic fruit and vegetables and if you can provide a good ‘rainbow’ plate of these, it will cover most of the nutrients needed for balanced health. Here is a list of some of the essential supplements you might want to consider adding into their diet.

Multi-vitamin/mineral – always a good back up to provide essential vitamins/minerals that might otherwise be lacking in the diet. I wouldn’t use them daily though. Overuse of vitamin supplements is easily done and wasteful. Just add them in when you feel they need a boost. Otherwise, if you’re feeding a diet rich in fresh produce, simply use vitamin/mineral supplementation as you feel necessary. I would think they are more essential for young growing bodies and elderly rats.

Omega 3, 6 and 9 (a good oil such as cool oil, flax or hemp oil will provide a rich source of these), as well as hempseed, flax and chia. Flax and chia seeds absorb many times their amount when soaked in water. I don’t recommend giving them dry to rats. You can grind them up first and just add pinches into food or use them in biscuits etc. Or, soak them first and use them in your recipes. If you already use these, please comment below as to how you use them, I am interested and I’m sure it would be useful for other readers to know. J

Selenium (a good source is brazil nuts) stimulates the production of natural T-cells which fight viral and bacterial infections. Selenium helps to make antibodies and in my studies, I have found it to be one of the essential minerals in cancer prevention. I like to grate brazil nuts over the rat’s dinner or pasta like ‘parmesan’

Vitamin C – We all know that vitamin C supplementation is recommended for humans but rats are apparently able to manufacture vitamin C themselves. Although I’ve heard this, I still think any extra vitamin C they are able to get will only be beneficial and indeed, if you are feeding fruit and vegetables, they are already getting a reasonable supply anyway. I feel it’s just good to be aware and if you want to give them rosehip tea or something, then go for it. I just bought rosehip/hibiscus tea for myself and the rats are enjoying it too. I sweeten it with agave and dilute it a little and they are enjoying slurping it during free range. So, just because they can make vitamin C, I wouldn’t hold off giving it to them anyway, you can’t go wrong! And recent studies have shown that very high doses of vitamin C are needed to ward off cancer and other viral infections.

Echinacea – It’s the echinacains in Echinacea that boost the immune system by promoting the activity of white blood cells which destroy bacteria and viruses. There have been many studies done with Echinacea and it seems that it really does help to protect against colds and viruses. I use capsules and just mix a little of the powder into food.

Probiotics – help to regulate the acidity in the gut and promote the proliferation of friendly bacteria thereby preventing the ‘unfriendly’ bacteria from multiplying. They also produce natural anti-biotics, encouraging the immune system to produce anti-bacterial antibodies. A lot of people feed yoghurt because of the probiotics but yoghurt is mucus and acid-forming as well as possibly having various hormones and vaccine variables from the dairy industry. I don’t advise it for rats. You can buy the probiotics themselves and add a capsule to a nut milk and then use that in your food preparations/meals.

Immunity boosting supplements – there are many ‘ready-made’ immune system supplements now available that contain things like medicinal mushrooms, vitamin C, astragalus etc. These blends can be quite useful. You can take them yourself and add small amounts into your rat’s food.

Iodine – this is my ‘must have’ supplement. It tastes foul so I only put a few drops in my own smoothie or milk and then share a little of that with the rats. Other ways of adding iodine into your rat’s diet is by providing a good variety of sea vegetables or by using a little kelp powder in food or the soaking water for pulses/wheatgrass. In rat studies, iodine was shown to prevent tumours developing and has natural immune boosting properties. It is anti-viral and anti-bacterial. Many of the additives in our food deplete iodine from the body and so it is essential to add it back in. I will be writing more about iodine later.

Thyme – my rats like to nibble on fresh thyme so I hang a little sprig in their cage. Thyme has thymol as an active ingredient which is very good for clearing mucus passages and it also has anti-viral properties. You could try making thyme tea as well for any rats with sniffles. I have also put thyme in a little bowl of boiled water and the steam that comes from this can help any poorly rat with respiratory issues.

Pau d’arco – a Peruvian tea that helps builds resistance to infection and boost immunity. I like to have this in good supply for my rats. It helps to address candida and has been recommended for cancer prevention. It has anti-viral properties.

Summary:

Consider the ‘stress factor’ in your rat’s lifestyle and work out how you can reduce it

Become ‘environmentally’ aware regarding the seasonal changes and prepare ahead

Feed a wholesome diet rich in ‘rainbow’ foods

Incorporate supplements as you feel necessary, especially immune building ones

Think how you can boost immunity and keep doing that (the lifestyle/dietary considerations mentioned above and herbal teas etc)



Source by Anabrese Neuman

Training Tips To Make Your Dog Your Running Partner

If you’re physically active and fond of exercising or running, you can involve your pet so that he also gets the right amount of physical activity each day. Dogs make great running partners – they won’t bother you with talk plus it’s a great way to bond with your pet. But like you did in the beginning, your furry friend needs training until he reaches your pace. It may take a while, but with the right approach, you’ll soon have the best running partner!

Follow these simple tips to turn your pet dog into your running partner:

Start with leash training

Start by taking your dog on a walk using a short leash, ideally 2 to 3 feet to help him stay by your side. Walk slowly side by side. If he does this with no problem, reward him with treats. If he gets distracted and starts to pull away, stop walking until he stops – this will let him know that walking will stop whenever he pulls. Leash training may take a while, especially if your pet isn’t used to daily walks so just be patient. If you’re uncomfortable with using a leash (which pulls on the neck), a harness is a good alternative.

Check with your vet

Experts recommend that a canine must be at least a year old before he starts with a running routine as puppies can easily get injured if exposed to rigorous physical activities too soon. If your pet is old enough, it is still idea to confirm with your vet if he’s both mentally and physically ready to begin a running program.

Take the first run slow

When your dog is used to your walking routine, you can slowly introduce the first run. Begin with an average speed walk, inserting a few minutes of slow run from time to time. Stop totally if your pet tries to pull away and continue rewarding him with treats if he does well. Keep the first run less than a mile and be observant about your dog’s condition. If he is panting heavily or lays down in exhaustion, it’s time to stop. It’s also important that you have water ready at all times.

Build up endurance

Like us, our furry friends need to be properly conditioned to build up endurance for daily runs. As your pet gets used to your running routine, walk less and run more until walking is no longer needed. Pick up the pace as time goes by.

Turn your beloved dog into the best running partner by following these easy training tips!



Source by Mary L. James

How To Prepare Your Pet Dog For The Arrival Of A Baby

A whole lot of change and plenty of adjustments have to be made around the house if you and your partner are expecting a child. A room has to be turned into a nursery, the entire house should be baby-proofed and some areas have to be rearranged to welcome the baby. While this change can be both exciting and overwhelming for parents-to-be, keep in mind that your pet dog is going through it, too. He, too, must be prepared for the arrival of the baby.

Such a huge change can be confusing to a pet – here’s how you can help them transition easier:

Plan ahead

Will the dog be allowed in the nursery? Can he go near and kiss the baby? Although it may seem trivial, these are questions that need to be addressed beforehand. Getting your dog ready for the arrival of your baby may also require a refresher on basic training such as SIT and STAY. It helps to list down what needs to be worked on, when to start training and who will train the dog.

Work on manners

Aside from refreshing basic commands, it is also important to fix some behavior issues that your pet may have before the baby arrives. This could be consistent barking, jumping up on people or simply not being obedient. Behavior like this re not ideal for new parents taking care of a newborn. Work on these issues as early as possible so that they are improved by the time the baby comes.

Familiarize them with new smells

Familiarize your furry friend with things that he can associate with the baby like baby powder, cologne and wash. Once he gets used to these new scents, it will be easier for him to recognize and welcome the newborn. You can also let him sniff some of the baby’s toys and teach him that they aren’t for him to play, chew on or take.

Practice with your dog

A few weeks before your baby arrives, show your dog what is to come. It is ideal to practice using a doll – change its diapers, rock it to sleep or feed it to help your dog get used to these kinds of scenarios. If your dog starts barking or getting uneasy, it is ideal to correct these behaviours so that he’s better prepared when the real thing comes.

Doing these simple things will help your pet dog prepare for the arrival of your newborn baby!



Source by Mary L. James

4 Awesome Tips For A Household With Multiple Dogs

Taking care of a single dog can be quite overwhelming at times, let alone living with multiple pets. While the phrase “the more, the merrier” does apply when it comes to having pets, there are times that the situation becomes a handful. Whether your household is full of pets temporarily or permanently, the key is patience. Without it, you will be easily overwhelmed by the amount of responsibility in front of you and you won’t be able to take care of your pets properly.

Hee are 4 simple yet effective tips you can try if you have multiple dogs in your household:

Be the leader of their pack

Dogs see their owners as the leader of their pack, one that they love and respect, that’s why it’s important that your leadership is established. Make it known that you’re the one who holds all the resources – food, treats, toys and even attention. Rewarding one pet’s good behavior with quality time or treats will help influence others to behave more. Ignoring bad behavior like barking or peeing in the house lets them know that their leader disapproves of those behaviors.

Provide each pet with their own “comfort zone” in your house

As much as dogs love to play with each other, there are times that they want to play, rest or sleep comfortably alone. That’s why each dog must have their own space at home, ideally with the least distractions. Provide each with their own bowl of food and water, a good sleeping blanket and some toys. Having their own space encourages good mood, thus less fighting among the pets.

Keep them busy

When you have plenty of dogs with a lot of energy and nothing to do, that’s when trouble starts. Provide them with activities to do, games to play or spend quality time with them as much as you can. This not only kills their boredom but also stimulates them mentally and physically! Best of all, it allows them to work together as a team!

Spend time with each of your dogs

Let each of your pooches know that you love them all equally. Never show that you favor one more than the other as this may start some trouble. Spend time and give attention to each as much as you can – this will assure them that they are all part of a family.

To create and achieve a more peaceful household full of dogs, try these tips and tricks!



Source by Mary L. James

Home Decor – Family With Dogs

We were finally ready for a dog in our home. We researched different breeds to match our lifestyle. We both wanted a big dog with a gentle disposition, and, as we looked through the pictures of the different breeds, one caught our attention. Bernese Mountain Dogs are beautiful, big and sweet-natured. This was what our new “baby” was to be! After meeting with the breeder, and a bit of a wait, we brought home our little fella, Dante.

We were very happy to have a vinyl kitchen floor during potty training. Although he was quick to learn, he was after all a puppy. Vinyl floors are durable and very easy to keep clean. This was also a blessing because Dante had no idea how to wipe his feet during the rainy summer days.

We also learned that baby gates were not just for human babies. Because the rest of the house had mostly carpeting, we felt a gate was just what was needed. This saved on a lot of extra carpet cleaning, which is not my favorite chore.

For the first several months I wondered why everyone talked so much about this breed shedding so much. I hadn’t noticed much at all. Well, as our cute little fluff ball grew, and he gained about ten pounds a month, I began to notice a little change in that situation. Little by little there began to be little fluffy tumbleweeds in the corners of his domain. Soon the little fluffy fur balls were requiring daily broom attention. Eventually it became obvious that a vacuum was the only way to keep those floating clouds of fur from outrunning my broom. First I tried a little cleaning upright vacuum. Just charge it up and go! Only I found that I could empty the canister several times before I was done and the charge was gone before the fur was.

Well, if that little upright was not working out for me, I decided to move on to my old faithful canister vacuum that had disposable bags and an electric cord. It was great! There was no recharging mid-job, the bag could hold all the fur that puppy of ours could shed. I still had to make use of it daily, but it worked like a charm. Dante didn’t mind the noise, and didn’t chew the cord. He didn’t even seem to wonder where his fur was going. I didn’t mind his shedding since I had figured out an effective remedy for the flying fur. Somewhere in the back of my mind I may have thought “What was it they said about going through a vacuum every year or two?”



Source by Brenda Frazier

Cat Vs Dog – Which Is Right for You?

Choosing between a cat and a dog isn’t always a straightforward process. In short, cats are generally cheaper to own and easier to care for because of their independent nature, while dogs are more social creatures, but require a lot more money, attention and time. Here are a few things to consider before introducing a cat or a dog to your home:

Cats

Cats are a perfect choice for people in search of an independent pet or those with a busy lifestyle and limited indoor space. Most cats are able to entertain themselves and will be happy to be left alone to sleep. The ability to venture outside and explore by themselves means there is no need for walking. This is certain to benefit the pet owner that is less active. However, cats do enjoy being played with and like social interaction so shouldn’t simply be left to their own devices at all times. A certain degree of care is required for cats, especially long-haired breeds. Some need daily grooming to avoid issues with matted coats.

Cat owners do not need a lot of space inside the home. However, a safe garden or similar area is certain to be appreciated. A cat can stay content even if kept in the home provided it is given a clean litter box and fed an appropriate diet. Also, they are easier for a neighbor or friend to look after when you are away for a few days. Overall, cats can make the entertaining, relaxing, affectionate and loving pets.

Dogs

Dogs are a practical choice for the active and energetic person or simply those that love to spend a lot of time outdoors. A dog needs regular walks, fresh air and stimulation. Any home with a safe and secure garden is certain to be ideal, although easy access to open spaces like local parks it just as well. Also, dogs are great when travelling and on days out. But, it is important to give appropriate training. This should include being comfortable when travelling in a vehicle if needed. Dogs are a solitary animal, so cannot be left alone all day like cats. They need a lot more attention, so this can impact those with the long and demanding jobs. A further time related issue is putting in the effort to provide proper training and grooming.

Also, individual differences in dog breeds must be considered. Dogs vary in relation to size, hairiness, temperament and shape, so careful consideration is needed to identify the perfect companion.



Source by Leo Eigenberg

Caring For a Pregnant Akita

Caring for an Akita bitch during pregnancy is basically commonsense. She should be watched carefully and made as comfortable and happy as possible. You should ensure that she has a dry bed, ample clean drinking water and regular feeds of good quality. For the first five weeks she will probably behave quite normally. She may have her “off” days. She may be extra hungry. She may display a slight change in temperament and be more careful how she carries herself, but so long as she is obviously healthy and happy, that is all that matters.

As soon as you suspect that she is pregnant, it is a good idea to contact your vet so he can enter the date of the expected birth in his diary and monitor the bitch’s progress. Akitas do not carry much water with their puppies, nevertheless a considerable amount of weight will have to be carried as the weeks progress. It is generally not advisable to give lots of extra food in the early weeks. Experience has taught us that overloading a bitch with food will put weight on her puppies, and she will also put on extra weight. This causes two problems. Firstly, she will not exercise so well, and so she will not be keeping her muscles toned up. Secondly, the puppies will be fat, which means they will be larger and will experience a more difficult passage down the birth canal. And when they are born, they will be fat and lazy.

It is far better to have an active mother and lean, vigorous puppies, who will fight to get to the teats to fill themselves with that all-important mother’s first milk. We have found the best policy is to feed a balanced diet with an increase in food after about five weeks. Naturally the future mum will be hungrier, but rest assured that whatever food you give to her she will pass on to her unborn babies before she takes it herself. She is a natural in parental care. Additives in the form of calcium and perhaps iron are a good idea, again after the five-week deadline. These days most foods are carefully balanced and numerous additives should not be needed. Indeed, the general view is that they can do more harm than good. But if the bitch suggests that she may have a deficiency, you should take her to the vet so that proper tests and analysis can be undertaken.

Akita bitches “hide” their puppies very well until at least five weeks, more often six. They may show no signs at all that they are pregnant, and this can be extremely annoying to the owners, who obviously want to know if they are to expect a litter so they can make the necessary preparations. Probably the best indication is a swelling of the bitch’s teats. From as early as three weeks these can “pop”, or enlarge slightly and become pinker in appearance. In our experience this is the only “sure” sign. Ultra-sound scanning can also give a definite diagnosis, but this is costly and sometimes the hair on the bitch’s side or underside has to be removed.

Your bitch may show signs of thickening in the rib or loin earlier, but it is most unlikely. Akita Inu bitches do not generally carry their babies across their loin like most breeds. They hide them under their ribs and then later “drop” them and carry them in the belly, rather like a cow carries its calf. Whether you observe positive signs or not, it is wise to contact your vet and book the expected date of birth into his diary so he will be available if necessary.

Seven weeks into the pregnancy, introduce the bitch to her whelping place. A suitably sized box should be prepared and the absolute minimum measurements for this would be about 4ft 6ins by 3ft. This will allow the bitch to lie fully stretched on her side. The box can certainly be larger, but not so big as to allow the puppies to crawl away from their mother and so get lost. Make sure the bitch is happy with the box and its position. After a few days she will welcome the peace, quiet and solitude of this area and so will accept it as the natural place when the time comes to give birth. If she is at all unhappy you must give in to her and make other arrangements. She probably has a good reason for not wanting things the way you do. So listen to her and adjust. She may accept the box, and then on the day of whelping, she changes her mind and wants to go somewhere else. Again, you must give in to her request. She may return to the box after she has had her first puppy, but let her decide. It is worth all the upheaval to have a happy, contented bitch who comes through her pregnancy successfully and delivers her puppies safely, without causing you – – or herself – – any undue anxiety.



Source by Amy S Morin

Dog Food for Various Needs

Different dogs require different nutrition. Adult dogs have a totally different set of nutrients that they need compared to puppies. Generally, the amount of food that you pet needs to take in is estimated by its size and activity level. Overfeeding will leave you with a sickly dog. Same fate awaits an underfed dog. Pet nutrition brands like Royal Canin, Eukanuba and others have special formulations of food for adult dogs of various breeds and health conditions.

There are dogs that are like humans who work to earn their keep and the food that they eat. Working dogs like the Akita, Doberman, and Siberian Husky should be fed depending on what they do everyday. These dogs are born to do certain jobs daily. Unfortunately, when they’re taken in as a pet at home these days, they aren’t usually made to work as they should be. For these dogs, regular dry food would do.

But if they’re performing workload that’s quite high, of course, their energy should be replenished to meet that level of workload. Highly active, working, and sporting dogs can get proper nutrition from special formulas you can get from brands like Advance and Purina Pro Plan. Brands like these even have products for busy show dogs that need to be on a strictly balanced diet to keep their overall health condition and physical appearance at their best all the time.

If there are active performers in the canine world, there are also lap dogs. These pets do no more than just walk leisurely only if their masters tell them so and exert most of their energies in being cute. Since the risk of these pets being overweight is quite high, dog food manufacturers also have products made for them and those who are prone to obesity.

Advance dog food brand has complete pet nutrition in dry and canned variations for those who are less active than most and those that are prone to gain excessive weight or obesity. You can simply follow the instructions specified in the product label or ask your pet’s veterinarian for suggestions. This goes especially if your pet still continues to gain much weight even after switching foods. The problem may be with your feeding schedule.

The characteristics, conditions and needs of dogs also vary according to their breed. These factors also affect their feeding requirements. Aside from this, they also vary in size. The Royal Canin selection of products is known for specializing in having a formulation for particular breeds and size – mini, large, Pug, Labrador Retriever, Rottweiler, Poodle, etc. The kibbles do not only have different energy, protein, and other nutritional contents, but also in texture and size to make sure that however big or small the dog is, it won’t have any difficulty consuming the food.

Make sure that you take note of the special conditions and requirements your dog may have. With all the formulas the various brands are making now, you’ll surely find one that’s perfect for your pet.



Source by Frances Roy

Doggin’ Northern Virginia: The 10 Best Places To Hike With Your Dog In NOVA

Have you ever considered how far you walk with your dog? If you walk just 15 minutes a day you will have walked far enough in your dog’s lifetime to cross the United States. With all that walking ahead of you, aren’t you ready for a new place to take a hike with your dog in northern Virginia? Here are NOVA’s best trails to hike with your best friend…

1. Sky Meadows State Forest

When you place your park on the Blue Ridge Mountain mountain slopes far removed from eight-lane roads clogged with traffic you have to work hard not to be the best place to hike with your dog in Northern Virginia and Sky Meadows does not disappoint. The real star here are the meadows – your dog can’t hike through any better.

2. Mason Neck State Park

A half-dozen canine hiking options through an attractive oak/holly forest on paw-friendly soft dirt are pretty enough you will want to complete them all with your dog. If you have time after lingering on the best beach for your dog in Northern Virginia.

3. Prince William Forest Park

The many miles of wooded trails in the largest swath of protected land in the Washington DC metropolitan area are refreshingly uncrowded – always an attraction for canine hikers. The trails are wide enough for a pack of dogs to travel easily over and well-marked.

4. Great Falls Park

You may come for the spectacular views of the Falls of the Potomac but you’ll stay for the canine hiking on wide trails that take your dog through a variety of habitats and the ruins of a Colonial canal town. Hold the swimming for someplace else, however.

5. The Battlefields of Manassas

Two five-mile interpretive hikes examine the year-apart clashes of the North and South across this Civil War battlefield. For your dog these hikes offer the best mixture of open field and wooded trail hiking in Northern Virginia.

6. Claude Moore Park

This eastern Loudoun oasis serves up a pastiche of a dozen short trails that add up to more than ten miles of canine hiking. You get your choice of two trails that circle the park, both of which visit Little Stoney Mountain for long views at Sugarloaf Mountain in Maryland.

7. Fountainhead Regional Park

Fountainhead is a trail user’s park. there are trails set aside for horses and for bikes and the white-blazed pedestrian trail is a snaking, two-mile excursion around wide ravines and through airy woods. For real canine adventures you can set out on the 18-mile Bull Run-Occoquan Trail.

8. Leesylvania State Park

There are three loops to enjoy with your dog in Leesylvania – the star being the Lee’s Woods Trail. This canine hike packs history aplenty into its two sporty miles atop the bluffs overlooking the Potomac River. For easy hiking with your dog take the Potomac Trail as it weaves through the former waterside amusement park that was part of the gambling gambit. Plenty of beach and swimming time for your dog here too.

9. Harpers Ferry National Historic Park

Few places in America pack as much scenic wonder and historical importance into such a small area as Harpers Ferry National Historic Park where the Shenandoah and Potomac rivers join forces. Your dog can sample hikes in three states here – up the mountain at Maryland Heights, through the town in West Virginia and across the Appalachian Trail in Virignia.

10. Mount Vernon

America’s most-visited home is dog-friendly to the core – the gate attendants provide a bowl of water for canine visitors. George Washingtn would have it no other way. The Father of Our Country is also the Father of the American Foxhound. He bred a new type of fox hunter with dogs from his friend Marquis de Lafayette and English hounds. The President favored silly names for his beloved dogs: Drunkard, Tipler, Tipsy.



Source by Doug Gelbert