National Responsible Dog Ownership Day is September 15, 2018

Jodie Canfield & Nipsy

(Photo credit: U.S. Forest Service District Ranger Jodie Canfield & her dog Nipsy)


This year, Responsible Dog Ownership Day falls on Saturday, September 15, 2018. If you have a canine companion in your life, Responsible Dog Ownership Day encourages you to make a promise, not just to your precious pet, but to all of those who may be affected by him. Dogs bring many benefits into our lives and to ensure they remain healthy, happy and safe; we need to be on the look out for their well-being and the well-being of those around them.  

Pet owners have a responsibility to keep their pet restrained in congested recreation areas and to respect the rights of recreation users who do not have a pet especially on public lands and while hiking on trails within in the Tahoe National Forest.

If you're just starting out hiking with your dog, try some easy trails first. See how your dog adjusts to navigating through streams, bridges and boulders. Dogs can easily get dehydrated. Offer your dog water before you start hiking because many trails have no water.


Dog on a leash

Even on a short hike, it is good to take along some dog treats and a way to give your dog water. As you get to know what kind of hiker your dog is, you'll know what to look for as you set out on a more advanced trek.

Most flea and tick products are formulated to repel mosquitoes as well. Bites that develops into large red circles or a bulls-eye of concentric circles, may be from a small tick. Ticks can carry disease, so seek medical attention if you see a bite.

We all know that dogs often chase animals. To protect wildlife, hiking in the National Forest with a pet requires that you have control of your dog by restraining the pet on a leash. This is not just the considerate thing to do, but also required by Federal Law. Code of Federal Regulations: 36 CFR 261.8 (d and J), Federal law requires that dogs be restrained on a leash on National Forest lands.

This is likely to be strictly enforced in popular high volume traffic areas, developed recreation areas and on interpretive trails.The violation of this law could result in a fine.

Even on a leash, your dog will still have a great time because they’re spending time with you, their best friend.

“If you are mountain biking on forest trails, please leave your dog at home,” U.S. Forest Service District Ranger for the Smokey Bear Ranger District Jodie Canfield said. “It is extremely dangerous and difficult to control your dog while mountain biking.” Canfield once dislocated an elbow riding a bike with her dog, who darted after a rabbit while on a leash.

Most federal, state and county litter laws require picking up dog waste because it can spread disease to wild animals or contaminate water. Picking up dog waste is also just common courtesy to others. Picking up pet excrement in a National Forest is also covered under Federal Law: Code of Federal Regulations, 36 CFR 261.8.

As a hiker, you are responsible for your own actions. As a dog owner you have an additional responsibility, your dog’s actions.

We hope these tips will help you enjoy the National Forest with your pet and also be a courteous and responsible pet owner.