What do football fans, Halloween enthusiasts, and college kids have in common? They all love fall! And you know who else loves fall? DOGS! It’s the perfect time of year for all kinds of outdoor activities: it’s cool enough to play hours of fetch finally, and still warm enough for a refreshing dip in the lake, and it marks the beginning of an exciting holiday season filled with family, food, and more food. To maximize your fall fun, we’ve come up with some things you and your pooch can do together.
1. Take a hike!
Hiking with your dog during the heat of summer can be a challenge for the both of you. Once it cools down a bit, however, a walk through the woods, or up a mountain, or along the water, is one of those quintessential canine-human bonding experiences, and a great way to explore the great outdoos. It’s important to be prepared for all kinds of weather and critters, so make sure to pack rain gear, dog-friendly sunscreen, bug repellant, and of course plenty of water! Find pet-friendly trails near you here.
2. Party with the pooch in a pumpkin patch!
While your pup might not appreciate the art of picking the perfect carving jack-o’-lantern, he will enjoy spending the day outside wandering the fields, paying a visit to the resident farm animals, and sampling the fruits of your labor—that’s right, most dogs love the taste of pumpkin, so add a dollop to his dinner bowl and watch him go to town. Keep in mind that while many pumpkin farms are dog-friendly, there are leash rules, and dogs are usually prohibited from indoor facilities.
3. Make some award-winning couples costumes!
You’ve spent the whole year anxiously awaiting this moment, so why not go the extra mile and take the do-it-yourself route? Not only will it add a little spring to your step, but it will also save you some pretty pennies. The key here is knowing what your dog will tolerate (if she doesn’t like wearing hats, she’s probably not gonna go for the Rapunzel wig, for example), and giving yourself plenty of time to pull it off. Looking for ideas? We thought you’d never ask.
Don’t forget to check local listings to see if there are any pet parades in your area. This is your life’s work, after all; might as well show it off.
4. Do a little “tail”gating!
Fall means football, and whether you’re a sports fan or not, tailgating is a pawsome tradition and a great way to spend some QT with your favorite mascot, (assuming you’ve found yourself a dog-friendly college campus or stadium lot, of course). Just pack the cooler with extra water, throw some bison burgers on the grill, bring a few balls to throw around, and don’t forget Fido’s favorite lounge chair. Bonus points for matching jerseys.
5. Go camping!
If there are two things dogs love, it’s exploring the great outdoors and having a sleepover with their parents, which is why camping is a fab fall adventure for both you and your pooch. Roasting marshmallows by the fire will take you back to your childhood, and howling at the moon will allow Fido to channel his wolf ancestry. Fun is important (foliage walks, canoe trips, and picnics) but safety always comes first, so check out our guide to camping with your dogs before you go.