Fall is here, and with mild temperatures and little humidity, we're eager to start spending longer periods of time outside. Our area is filled with great places to enjoy the outdoors with your dog, and even more of these places open up in the fall. We've compiled a list of local parks, trails and beaches that are animal-friendly to romp around in the fallen leaves! Be prepared for cold weather, and ensure your dogs safety with the best gear from Ruffwear.
Fall Vests for You and Your Dog
Cranbury Park - This park is right around the corner from our store, and offers a series of hiking trails that are great for hiking with the whole family. They aren't too difficult, but the terrain is varied enough to be interesting and fun. Leashes are not required at Cranbury Park, but you must have one on hand just in case. It's hard to predict the temperatures when hiking in fall--sometimes a warm day can turn chilly very suddenly. A vest is an essential fall piece that will keep your core warm without having the all-over coverage of a jacket, and the best part is, we carry them for dogs as well! For you, we recommend the Thermoball Vest from North Face, which is filled with small clusters of synthetic fibers that pack in warmth between them. For your pup, the Cloud Chaser coat is the perfect little shirt for staying out in all weather conditions. It's waterproof, windproof, and insulated to maintain core body temperature, with four-way stretch for ease of movement.
Running Safety for All
NRVT - The Norwalk River Valley Trail is shrouded in trees, and a great place to appreciate the changing foliage. Eventually this trail will stretch all the way from Norwalk to Danbury, but the shorter finished sections are perfect for a nice jog with your pooch. The NRVT is a wide gravel path that is generally flat, and leashed dogs are more than welcome! We recommend using get a Ruffwear Roamer Leash, which sits comfortably around your waist with a stretch webbing to keep your arm safe and prevent your dog from pulling . It is also important to bring water, to keep you both hydrated when running. Carrying a handheld bottle like the Quickdraw Plus by Nathan will hold enough water for you and your dog, and it straps comfortably around your hand for easy sipping. Carry this water bottle in your alternate hand from where your dog is so you can quickly grab the lease in case another dog comes along the trail.
All Fairfield and Westport beaches are open to dogs starting October 1st till March 31st, and town beach stickers are not required during this time. Your dog will love darting across the sand and splashing in the shallow water! Leashes are required at most beaches, but at Jennings Beach in Fairfield you can let your pup roam free off the leash. Make sure your dog stays hydrated when he's running around, especially at the beach where he will likely lap up some salt water. Bring a collapsible bowl, such as the Ruffwear Bivy Bowl. They fold down flat for easy storage and can be filled up whenever your dog needs a break and a nice cold drink. For you, we recommend always bringing a windbreaker to the beach. It tends to be considerably more windy there than the rest of town, and the Atom LT from Arc'teryx is a great choice to help you stay warm. While most windbreakers are just a shell without much warmth, this jacket is insulated and will be your go-to jacket from early fall into the winter.
Carry All the Essentials
Once your pup is comfortable going on long walks, consider a doggie backpack to carry some of the supplies you both need. The Approach Pack by Ruffwear offers comfortable weight distribution and five points of adjustment for a customizable fit. Of course, it is important to transition your dog into carrying any weight at all. Start by having him wear the pack without anything in it, and go for a hike. If he likes it, start small by putting only little things in it. Pretty soon your pup will be able to carry his own collapsible bowl and first aid kit!! Until then, you can carry your dog's things on your back with you. A great pack for a long day hike is the North Face Angstrom. You can store everything you'll need for the day, from extra water bottles to extra layers, but the pack itself is light, weighing in at just 2 pounds. It includes a hip belt for comfortable carrying, multiple pockets to keep your gear organized, and is compatible with a hydration reservoir.
In addition to exploring local
parks, trails, and beaches, your dog will also love these
pup-friendly fairs that are coming this fall:
Saturday, Sept. 26
This dog-centered event is put on by the Trap Falls Kennel Club, and includes contests for your pups such as best trick and best dressed! You can enter raffles, meet the breeds, and watch police dog demos, among other fun activities that you and your dog will both love. Leashed dogs are welcome!
11th Annual Dog Days of Summer
Saturday, Sept. 26
This fair will be full of local vendors and various dog-related demos, such as a rescue dog and a hunting dog demo. Not only is this an event that will offer a day of fun for humans and dogs alike, but it also raises money for the animals cared for by the Animal Welfare Society. Leashed dogs are welcome!
Danbury Animal Welfare Society Fall Fest
Sunday Oct. 17
The focus of this event is on educating children and adults about how to care for a dog or cat, with fun engaging activities to promote learning. The day will include seminars about everything from understanding how animals communicate through body language to integrating a new pet into your home. Although people are not allowed to bring their own dogs to this event, it is a great opportunity to meet adoptable animals from the shelter!