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Fun in the Snow

Thanks to a long-awaited visit from the Pineapple Express, many parts of California have been experiencing record-breaking rainfall and a snowpack that hasn’t been seen in decades. With a significant drop in the snowline from high in the Sierra Mountains to lower parts of the Foothills, this makes access to the fluffy white stuff even closer to the Bay Area. In other words, this bounty offers a perfect reason to take your pet up to the hills to have some fun frolicking in the snow. Here are some tips on making this excursion most pleasant for you and your four-legged best friend.

In the winter months, wildlife isn’t usually that big of a concern, since many animals are hibernating and hiding out, but some are also out looking for food following a fresh snowfall. Always be on the lookout for signs of critters in the area that could be problematic for your pet. Fresh tracks, broken limbs and feces could be a clue that these creatures are nearby. Try another spot, and always keep your pet on a leash to ensure their safety.

You might leave the Bay Area with a full tank of gas, but consider topping off your tank in the Foothills. Road closures can happen in an instant and last for hours. It’s always better to have plenty of gas available to run the heater in your automobile rather than be stuck on the side of the road with no fuel.

Regardless of the weather and a clear sky before your journey, you should always carry chains, even if there’s no snow called for in the local forecast. You should also have plenty of fresh water, food, blankets, and towels—enough for you and your pet. Oh, don’t forget treats and toys, too.

As more pet-friendly clothes hit the marketplace, this makes many different types of jackets and dog booties more available for our furry friends. If you have a bare-belly dog or one with little hair and fur to keep him or her warm, a snowsuit, jacket, or vest may be in order. Smaller dogs with skinny legs and tiny paws may be more comfortable with specially designed dog boots.

If you have a dog that’s already accustomed to the snow and doesn’t mind running around barefoot in the white stuff, those towels mentioned previously will come in handy when it’s time to take the ride home. Be sure to carefully check paws for rocks, dirt, ice, and other debris after your pups have had their romps in the snow. You may need a little water to wash stuff away from their feet before heading down the mountain.

Be sure to let a loved one, family member, or close friend know exactly where you’re going and when you plan on returning. Even if you’re only planning on being gone for a few hours to a well-frequented, high-traffic area, there’s still a slim chance that something unforeseen could happen to you and your dog in the wilderness. If someone does need to go looking for you and your pet, the search area will be greatly reduced if you give out this information.

Most Bay Area residents agree that living here is one of the best locations possible when it comes to recreating with our four-legged friends. The beach is right in their backyard, and the snow-covered mountains are close and accessible. This time of year, hit the slopes to experience some powder time with your pet.

Travel junkie Amber Kingsley is a freelance writer living in Santa Monica with an art history background that she thinks helps her hone in on topics interesting to readers. She is a dog enthusiast and loves spending time with her Pomeranian, Agatha.

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Main article photo by: Photo by Bambe1964-Creative Commons