Autumn Camping in Peoria

by: Katrina Warner

Camping/ Hiking with your Dog in Peoria.

Fall is such a beautiful time to take your dog camping and hiking on Peoria trails. I know my Australian Shepherd, Roper loves to go camping with the family and romping through the woods. I worry though that he may come into contact with something that may make him ill. Ticks are a big factor to consider when your dog is playing in tall grass or walking on a trail through the woods. Lyme disease can be found in every state in the U.S. and your dog can be exposed to Lyme disease in almost any outdoor activity where Deer Ticks and Brown Dog Ticks can be found. While your veterinarian can test your dog for Lyme disease with a simple blood test, prevention is always best. If you plan to take your dog where he/she maybe exposed to ticks contact your veterinarian at least 1 month prior to him/her being exposed to get started on a preventative and vaccines, if they are not already on one.

Leptospirosis is another disease that dogs can be exposed to while in the woods. Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease that is found in wildlife and livestock and is passed via the urine into water sources. Leptospirosis can be prevented by having a yearly vaccination to prevent against it. Contact your veterinarian for more information.

I also recommend making a small first aid kit for your dog to take along on your trip. Here are my Top 10 items I suggest having in your First Aid Kit:


1. Gauze Padding and Bandage

2. Adhesive tape

3. Ice Pack (I recommend something that can be activated as needed)

4. Disposable Gloves

5. Rectal Thermometer/ Petroleum Jelly

6. Blunt Ended Scissors

7. Tweezers

8. Hydrogen Peroxide (to induce vomiting; discuss with your veterinarian prior to giving for proper dosage)

9. Diphenhydramine (Benadryl) (Discuss with your veterinarian prior to giving for proper dosage)

10. Any medication dog is currently on, with proper instructions from veterinarian


Don’t forget to pack:


  1. Phone number(s) of your veterinarian(s) and Animal Poison Control Hotline (888-426-4435)
  2. Rabies tags, Vaccine Certificate(s) or paperwork from veterinarian with dog’s vaccine and health history.
  3. Dishes, food and water from home
  4. Collar and leash (I recommend have a spare in case you loss or break the original)
  5. Bedding and/or Pet carrier/crate and favorite toys
  6. Muzzle, if your dog is cautious around strangers/ other animals; to avoid biting.


NOTE: ALWAYS contact Peoria Area Veterinary Group prior to any outdoor activities that your dog maybe a part of to be sure he/she is up-to-date on vaccines and preventatives.


Outdoor Pet Fun in Peoria

Getting backing back to nature with my four legged best friend is one my favorite activities from early spring to late fall. Right here in Peoria County lies a plethora of adventures to be had. There are miles upon miles of beautiful land for us to explore, providing new experiences that bond us closer together. There are several other reasons I love hiking with my dog, Dixie. While the quality time together is enough, being in nature soothes the mind, and the activity is great for both of our bodies. While I relieve my mind and get in some fun exercise, Dixie takes in all the sights, sounds, and smells that the trails have to offer. Though we usually stick to the same few trails, everything seems brand new to her, she thoroughly enjoys the time we spend outside, and she uses enough of her energy that for the rest of the day she is content if you just throw the ball across the living room a few times. Anything that naturally exhausts your dogs energy is good, right? Don’t forget that all it costs is a pair of hiking shoes and a sport harness! I’ll be sharing with you some of my favorite dog friendly trails right here in the Peoria area. Though most trails are dog friendly, your pet must be on a leash at all times, and if ever unsure, check the park district website for rules and regulations.

Along the Illinois River Bluff trail, which I access from Mossville Road, you can take in Robinson Park and Camp Wokanda. Robinson Park is Dixie’s favorite, but is more suited for both owners and pets that enjoy moderate activity. It is a very natural trail and you should wear proper hiking shoes and your pet should wear a comfortable harness. Though there are bridges in some spots, lush greenery, and tranquil creeks, there are also steep slopes, poison ivy, and sometimes fallen limbs or washouts. Another great area to explore is Detweiller Park. There are several different trails for all activity levels. Though there are some easy trails, you should you still wear proper footwear and your pet should wear a harness. Though there are steep slopes at Detweilller Park, the park district has made it a little easier by laying down posts as make shift “stairs”. It has as much to offer as Robinson Park, but is generally easier because it is convenient to take only a small loop of the whole trail. Visit the Peoria Park District website for details and maps.

The most “family friendly” trail is the Rock Island Trail Extension. We use the access point at Pioneer Parkway in Peoria. The trail is very clear, mostly flat, paved, and you will notice familiar landmarks along the way. There is still much to see and Dixie and I always enjoy ourselves. She especially enjoys going through the tunnel and playing with fallen hedge balls. This trail is wonderful for all ages and activity levels. You can enjoy a leisurely walk, an invigorating run, or even bicycling. A supportive walking/running shoe is always recommended, but hiking shoes are not needed, as the trail is paved. Also, if you and your best fur friend are only out for a stroll, a regular leash and collar will suffice. When exploring with your pets, always be prepared. Carry or be familiar with a map of the area, be alert when in nature, be aware of weather conditions, protect yourself with bug repellent and/or sun block, stay hydrated, pay attention to your pet’s behavior, don’t push yourself or your pet too far, and don’t forget to have fun!

by: Lisa DeWan