By Loryn Baughman
Fall is the perfect time of year to bond outdoors with your favorite four-legged friend. The heavy DC humidity has subsided and there's a crispness in the air. It's the best time of year to enjoy a long neighborhood stroll and hear the leaves crunch beneath your feet (or paws). Plus, it's good for more than just your dog - it's good for you too! So, it makes sense that National Walk Your Dog Week would be the first week of October. But that’s just the start of the season. The leaves begin their color palette evolution as the month goes on – enjoying those leaves should be at the top of the to-do list for pet owners. So grab an apple cider and a fully charged phone – you’re going to want to document your precious pooch among the Instagram-worthy shades of oranges, reds and yellows. The peak colors are forecasted to be the last week of October in the greater DC area.
Going for a long walk is good for dogs and owners alike. Experts suggest that the average person should walk a minimum of 10,000 steps a day. Reaching that step goal has been shown to minimize blood pressure, reduce risk of cardiovascular disease and decrease stress. But sometimes forcing yourself to head outside at dusk to hit your walking goals can seem like a drag. But having a tail-wagging walking companion can make the evening outing both a necessary habit and fun!
Not to mention that the Washington, DC area is full of spectacular dog parks. Here’s some local favorites to check out:
· Bark and Go Park, Capitol Riverfront – this park just opened in September and has garnered paws-itively great reviews.
· The S Street Dog Park by Dupont Circle is a crowd favorite. What it lacks in space, it makes up for in fun! There are always playful dogs ready to romp at the S Street Park.
· Lincoln Park on Capitol Hill isn’t technically a dog park, however it’s hard to find somewhere else in DC that has a higher concentration of dogs and trees with changing leaves. Lincoln Park is the place to head for a stroll, a run, or a doggy meet-up.
· For those who live in Northern Virginia, don’t miss the Shirlington Dog Park! The Shirlington park is a spacious oasis for pups with an extra pep in their step.
No matter which park you go to this fall, one thing is certain – autumn is the very best season to head outdoors with your dog(s). Enjoy the leaves and the wagging tails!