Foreign Consultant Veterinarian, Dr. Jennifer Bolser (check her bio below) from International Center for Veterinary Services (ICVS) shares with us tips about various outdoors places to take your dogs for a day out.
Ah, springtime – sunshine, warmth, more daylight, flowers blooming. Everyone, including our dogs, are excited for this rejuvenating season. The weather is perfect – a great time to dust off winter and get outside for different adventures with your dogs.
Five months ago Beijing became our new home. When the family (husband, wife, labrador and golden retriever) discussed this move, the canines agreed to the idea with the promise of regular hiking and nature excursions. Getting out with dogs, especially large dogs, is a bit more complicated in Beijing, but possible. Below are a few places we have enjoyed and ideas for your next outing with your dogs.
1. Beijing Tongzhou Grand Canal Park
Located in southwest Beijing’s Tongzhou district this park offers a nice, easy flat walk along a long, historic man-made canal. You can choose your own distance by crossing over the canal periodically for a circuit loop or going out and back along the canal. Close to the city, thus a good location for a half day excursion. Note: some of the main entrance areas do not allow dog entrance, but you can access the path from many other side locations.
2. Jiufeng National Forest Park
This park is situated in northwest Beijing’s Bei’anhe Town, Haidian District, 18 kilometers from The Summer Palace. Spend a half or full day hiking this area choosing from many different trails. Reach the summit and view the expanse of Beijing to your east. The main tourist hiking area includes historical information and a few small temple structures. A larger part of the park is less developed and covered with trees.
This beautiful section of The Great Wall is located by a lake, 70 kilometers north of Beijing. Access is through a main entrance.
In this lovely town sixty-five kilometers north of Beijing, you can choose a scenic trail hike through orchards, between villages, or up to The Great Wall. It is unclear if dogs are allowed in the main entrance area, so we accessed the wall from the old hiking route — you may need a local to point you in the right direction. As an added bonus, you can stay overnight. Thank you to The Brickyard for allowing dogs in their home rentals (dogs not allowed in the hotel). After a great day of hiking, we retreated back to a village home with a courtyard where everyone could rest up for the next day. Note: you will likely meet village dogs who are off leash, but they stay close to where they live. Many of these dogs were curious about our two leashed dogs, but they kept a distance and were overall friendly. I highly recommend keeping your dogs on a leash to prevent an unfortunate accident as the road is narrow with many cars.
5. Huairou District
A good friend recently introduced us to this region 65 kilometers northeast of Beijing. We will definitely return to see more! Cheers to Xian Weng Resort (8961.7808) near Shentangyu natural scenic area who accommodated all of us graciously for an overnight stay. Stroll along the boardwalk next to the stream or venture off road into the hills for dramatic views of The Great Wall towers, blooming fruit trees, and terraced farms. Xiang Weng Resort also has comfortable outdoor seating to enjoy a delicious Chinese meal with your dogs at your side.
NOTE: Access rules regarding dogs may change. Please contribute to a positive experience and impression of dogs for all people by using positive training techniques, picking up after your pet and leashing your dog if not fully under voice command. Bring plenty of water and snacks for your pet. Remind your child to always ask first before petting a dog he or she doesn’t know.
Living in a large city with companion dogs requires us to be proactive and creative in our activities and exercise. Most of us don’t have the luxury of time and logistics to get out of the city often. But, we can’t allow our dogs to fall into the “weekend warrior” syndrome. Just like us, daily training and physical activity is imperative for our dogs to avoid injuries and be able to handle the periodic longer and more strenuous journeys. The goal is a minimum of 30-60 minutes of daily exercise that increases the heart rate mild to moderately. This can easily be accomplished with brisk leash walks or jogs around the neighborhood. Obviously, tailor your training to the intensity of your planned adventures.
Get outside with your dog everyday! Follow your dog’s lead to explore and enjoy the surrounding scenery. Dogs help to remind us to live and love the moment, soak in the sun, and smell the roses – or at least every tree trunk.
Jennifer Bolser, DVM
Dr. Bolser obtained her veterinary degree from Colorado State University in 2004 and then completed a one year rotating medical and surgical internship at The Animal Medical Center in New York City. She joined The Humane Society of Boulder Valley in Boulder, Colorado and enjoyed 10 years with this amazing animal welfare organization. As Chief Clinic Veterinarian, Dr. Bolser provided leadership and medical/surgical services to this unique clinic combining shelter medicine and general practice. Enthusiasm for teaching and sharing knowledge led to her innovation of a shelter medicine internship training program for new veterinary graduates.
She has a passion for international veterinary efforts including MASH style spay/neuter campaigns and has performed thousands of surgeries in numerous countries. Traveling and working with different cultures in unique environments continually inspires her. Her favorite hobbies involve exploring the world and nature through hiking, SCUBA diving, biking, swimming, snowshoeing or any outdoor adventure. In October 2015, she moved with her husband and their two dogs to Beijing. She is excited to consult with the ICVS team and to improve animal welfare, spay/neuter, shelter and veterinary medicine standards in China.
Photo: Jennifer Bolser