How to Safely Walk Your Dog for That All-Important Exercise
Taking your dog for a walk is great for exercise, the fresh air, and is healthy. You’ll have to walk your dog if you live in an apartment. Even with a backyard, taking a long walk is a good idea.
While your backyard is a great way for a dog to get exercise, the walk is an additional benefit and adds variety giving your dog something new to look forward to: the smells, the sights, the new sounds.
“Aside from the physical health benefits, dog walking provides opportunities for enrichment, socialization and training that a backyard may not,” according to the PetMD article, “Walking Your Dog vs. Just Letting Your Dog Out in the Backyard.” It’s not just good for socialization, it also helps you and your dog to bond.
For walks, you’ll need to find the best type of leash that is comfortable in your hand. According to the article, “Dog Walking 101” found at Fetch by WebMD, you can choose from a flexi-lead, which is good for walking in the park where your dog can explore further away. A nylon leash can cut into your hand if your dog pulls, but they hold up well in bad weather.
Dogs who pull may do so because they’re running after other animals or due to “canine enthusiasm for all the exciting signs and sounds you encounter on walks,” according to WebMD’s article. Try a head halter for excitable dogs.
While on walks, especially during warmer months, keep your dog away from flowers and plants that, if eaten, can cause stomach problems. Also, lawns and gardens may contain toxic products.
Teach your dog manners when meeting other people and dogs. And, if you’ll be out for a long walk, bring water, treats for training, and lots of poop bags.
According to the article, “5 Fun Outdoor Activities for You & Your Dog” at PetSafe, “Outdoor activities can reduce your pet’s destructive behaviors such as chewing, digging, or scratching. Being outdoors can also help your dog sleep better, build his confidence, and strengthen his bond with you.”
Fun outdoor ideas include:
• A nice walk or a more challenging hike at a nearby trail.
• Play fetch. If your dog has been inside for long, he may start to chew on things. “You can give them a task to perform by going outside and playing fetch,” the article said.
When you take your dog outside to participate in fun activities, “it’s about exercise, too, which your dog needs to stay healthy,” according to the article, “Outdoor Activities for Dogs: Fun Ideas Based on Personality Types and Interests” at Vetstreet.com. “Exercise can help support your pup’s joint, muscle and heart health; help him maintain or lose weight; and stimulate his mind.” Check with your veterinarian first to be sure your dog is up for new activities.
According to Vetstreet, check out the following activities for your dog:
• Agility training, which includes running, jumping and sometimes barking. “Playing catch with a flying disc is fun for the high-energy dog, too, but activities with a lot of leaping can be hard on the joints and are best avoided for dogs with orthopedic problems, such as arthritis,” the article said.
• Flyball is for the dog who thinks catch is not exciting enough. “In this event, teams of dogs race over a series of hurdles, catch a ball and return.”
Whatever you decide, you and your dog should get off the couch and get out there.
Why You Shouldn’t Shave Your Double-Coated Dog
Some dog parents may believe that shaving their dog’s double coat will help keep the dog cooler when temperatures rise. However, there’s many reasons not to shave these dogs.
Dogs with double coats include the German Shepherd, Husky, and Pomeranian. “The hairs are short and crimped, which makes them highly efficient at trapping air and insulating the animal,” according to the article, “Truths and Myths About Shaving Dogs with Double Coats,” at The Animal Rescue Site. Because of this they are warm in the winter and actually cool during summer.
It is a myth that shaving a double-coated dog in the summer will keep the dog cooler. Unless the dog is so matted that nothing else but shaving can help, it’s best to use a special tool to remove the undercoat, which, once thinned out will help the dog feel cooler, the article said.
According to the article, “From A Groomer: 3 Reasons Not To Shave Your Double-Coated Dog” at iHeartDogs, additional reasons not to shave a double-coated dog include:
• Shaving can damage your dog’s coat. It may very well grow back OK the first time but then come back patchy.
• It doesn’t stop shedding. The dog will continue to shed but there will be smaller hairs. “You may think shorter hairs would be less noticeable, but they can be much more difficult to clean up.”
• Dogs don’t sweat as humans do. They sweat through their paw pads and they pant to cool off. “Shaving them actually exposes their skin more directly to the sun and causes them to overheat,” the article said. “Brushing out the undercoat without shaving the topcoat is the best way to keep your dog cool.”
A respectable groomer will be honest with you and ensure you do right by your dog and his coat.