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Fall Fun for You and Your Dog!

Fall is here! Not only are we enjoying the beautiful weather, but dogs thrive this time of the year. And…

There are lots of fun fall activities to enjoy with your dog!

Fall is here! Not only are we enjoying the beautiful weather, but dogs thrive this time of the year. And with the cooler weather, it is definitely time to head outside. You can finally enjoy the company of your dog without having to worry about them overheating. There are so many fun things to do with your best furry friend in the fall, and we have some great ideas for you!

Go for a Hike with your dog

Fall screams for hikes! Virginia is a beautiful state, and the foliage is amazing during this time of the year. Leashed pets are allowed in all Virginia State parks as well as National Forests and we are lucky to have so many to choose from.

Just a short drive south, visit Pocahontas State Park, with a variety of hiking trails from mild to moderate difficulty.

And for a quick day trip, check out Shenandoah National park, just north of Charlottesville. They also have a variety of trails from 1+ to nearly 10 miles. The 4 ½ mile Hawksbill Summit trail has amazing views from the top!

Drive west to High Bridge Trail State Park. There you will find 31 miles to roam! This trail was once a rail bed, so it is wide, level and generally flat. On the trail, you will cross over a majestic High Bridge, which is more than 2,400 feet long and 125 feet above the Appomattox River! Be sure and taking drinking water for you and your pup as there is no drinking water available on the trail.

And one weekend, you just have to make the trip to Jefferson National Forest. It will take you about 2 ½ hours. They say the Devil’s Fork Loop Trail is one not to miss.

My personal favorite is the Peaks of Otter in Bedford. It’s a strenuous 1.5-mile hike to the top of Sharp Top Trail, but so exhilarating.

Closer to home, check out this list of trails near and around the James River. And lastly, Powhite Park, Deep Run Park, Forest Hill Park are favorites of city dwellers, offering mild, shorter hiking and walking trails.

Bake a pie for your dog

Will you be doing some fall baking? Maybe an apple or pumpkin pie? Bake a mini-pie for your pup! After putting together your pie, use the scrap dough to wrap around a couple slices of apple, or a scoop of plain pumpkin (no sugar). Bake and serve! Your dog will love it!

Oh, this would be so much fun for the kids… Let them bake an actual pie for the dog! Here is a super cute doggie apple pie recipe.

Visit Breweries and Wineries with Your Dog

We are fortunate that we have so many area breweries and wineries in and around Richmond, offering not only their unique fall “brews”, but a great place to visit with your dog. If you just want a simple evening out, there are too many breweries in our area to list here. I have to mention Lickinghole Creek Brewery in Goochland though, because it’s a perfect fall escape. Enjoy the beautiful foliage while sipping some delicious seasonal brews. On the weekends, they have food trucks and music. Leashed, well behaved dogs are always welcome.

If you’re in the mood for a short road trip, Blue Mountain Brewery in Afton VA comes to mind. It’s my favorite. You can have an amazing meal while enjoying gorgeous scenery. Your whole family, including your pup (of course) will enjoy it! It’s a bit of a drive, but worth it.

There is always something happening at James River Cellars Winery! Their calendar of events for October is FULL of fun things to do, not to mention their delicious wine collection. The winery always welcomes leashed, well behaved dogs, which makes it an even more of a “must do” item for dog lovers!

Blenheim Vineyards in Charlottesville is a fun and beautiful place to visit with your dog. Throughout the month of October, you can enjoy a picnic bag of local goodies from “A Pimento Catering” including handmade flatbread crackers, bruschetta, smoked trout dip, salsa verde swirled hummus, mixed olives, and salted chocolate cherry baby cakes. And, of course, your favorite wine!

And speaking of Picnics…

‘Tis the season for picnics fur sure! Richmond Mom magazine put together a great list of the best picnic spots in Richmond. Just browsing through the list makes my mouth water. Why is it food always tastes better when eaten outside? And picnic food is always “fun” food! Be sure to pack some food and treats for your dog too.

Jump in a Leaf Pile

Rake up a pile of leaves and have at it! Just like pumpkin lattes, leaf piles are a quintessential part of fall! And dogs LOVE excitedly flinging themselves into the leaves! If anything, the experience will take you back to your childhood… when we didn’t know enough about what could be lurking in those leaves to enjoy it too! 😉

Have you ever seen the video on Youtube of Stella the yellow lab jumping in the leaves? You’ve gotta see this!

Bonfires and Dogs

When you think about bonfires, what is the first thing that comes to mind (besides smores)? SAFETY. An excited pup can easily get their whiskers or tail singed if allowed to get too close to a fire pit. Safety first, so that everyone – human and canine alike – can have a great time. While you are enjoying a perfect fall meal of hotdogs and smores, treat your furry friend to a couple hot dog bites. A bit of marshmallow will not hurt your pup, but it is not advisable. They really don’t need the sugar. Hot dog wieners are more their thing anyway.

Food, fire, and dogs is a combination you need to really manage. Here are a few safety tips to remember:

a. Keep your dog on a leash to keep them away from the fire. Also, make sure your dog is far enough away not to be hit by flying sparks. Smaller dogs might be happier in a doggie play pen set back from the fire, but close enough to their humans to enjoy the festivities.
b. Make sure your dog is not downwind of smoke, as it can irritate their airways and eyes. Smoke is not only annoying, it can be dangerous for our little friend’s respiratory system.
c. Always have a fire extinguisher nearby – just in case.
d. As we know, fires can easily get out of control. Make sure your fire pit has boundaries like metal or stone/rock to keep the fire contained.
e. Dogs love sticks, particularly if they still smell like hot dogs. Be careful your pup does not get ahold of a hot stick that is fresh from the fire. Mouth burns are no fun.

Camping with Your dog

What’s better on a beautiful, cool fall night than to cuddle up with your best furry (and warm) friend and sleep under the stars? Awww, doesn’t that sound fun? It’s hard to say what dogs enjoy more – being outdoors, or that undivided time with their human. Camping will give your pup all kinds of new and interesting smells to savor too.

About an hour and ½ northeast from Richmond is a neat little place called Belle Isle Campground. They offer lots of activities besides camping but only a few that your dog can enjoy with you. Although your adventurous pup may enjoy a canoe ride, they wouldn’t be able to go horseback riding! I mean, it’s all about the dog, right?

Nearby, don’t forget about Lake Anna. People normally think of Lake Anna in the summertime because of their swimming. But the lake has some beautiful dog friendly campsites to enjoy in the fall.

Dragonfly Farms will make you feel you’re way out of the city, when you’re only an hour from Richmond.

Katie V’s land offers what others call “The Best Spot on the farm”. You have to check out the pictures… looks absolutely amazing!

And there is always Sharps Island, right downtown!

Halloween Fun

And don’t forget fall’s most favorite holiday – Halloween! If you’re looking for a fun fall “project”, break out the needle and thread and make your dog a Halloween costume! Then be sure and enter him in Holiday Barn Pet Resorts’ virtual Halloween Costume contest on our Facebook page from October 23rd through the 27th!

Visit Hanover Vegetable Farm

We so appreciate the fact that Hanover Vegetable Farm not only allows dogs, but they welcome well-behaved, leashed dogs! The Hanover Vegetable Farm is a fun place to visit any time of the year, but it is particularly fun in the fall! The Pumpkin Patch is open throughout October! On most weekends this month, they have a corn maze, hayrides, and special fall foods like Apple Cider doughnuts. Yum. Visit their Facebook page or their website for more information.

We are sure there are many more fun things to do this fall in our area. Check out the Richmond Times Dispatch for area events and activities. If you are not sure if the venue is dog friendly, just give them a call ahead of time. Then, as always, make sure your dog is leashed and well behaved in public.

Have a wonderful season!
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Need help with your dog’s behavior in public? We can help with that! Give our Professional Dog Trainers a call at either of our resort locations: In Glen Allen, 672-2200; and in Midlothian, 794-5400.

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