Try these Games on for Size
Dogs love any interaction with their human family, especially one that allows them to burn off excess energy. If your dog stays in the kennel all day while you're at work, she's especially anxious to get out there to have some fun. However, don't expect her to automatically know what to do when you toss a baseball or Frisbee. You may have to physically walk to the item and place it in your dog's mouth before she gets the hang of it. Once she does, you could ask her to fetch dozens of times in a row and she won't get tired of it. Throwing a stick into a local lake is another variation of fetch that most dogs love.
Tug of war is another good way to exercise your dog as long as you teach him not to play too rough. If he growls at you or tries to bite, firmly tell him no and stop the game. He will soon understand that he has to follow the rules for you to continue to engage with him. If you're up to the task, getting down on the ground for a gentle wrestling session is another way to help your dog get exercise. Although your local park provides more room for play, your backyard works just as well.
If You Go to the Dog Park
Dog parks continue to grow in popularity across the country, and it's easy to see why. They give dogs the opportunity to run off-leash and socialize with other dogs while their owners meet new people as well. You can find a dog park near you by clicking here. Dogs who are aggressive and not well-socialized should remain at home to avoid possible injuries to others. Some other etiquette rules include:
- Don't take your puppy to a dog park until he is fully immunized.
- Be certain to supervise your dog at all times and call her to you if she starts to play rough.
- If your dog tends to be timid, visit the park during off-peak hours. Dog parks are busiest from approximately 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
- Your dog should be spayed or neutered.
- Make sure your dog remains on a leash until you reach the off-leash area.
Although exercise is essential for dogs, they can also develop heatstroke quickly in the summer. Make sure that you provide plenty of water and don't push your dog beyond his normal endurance. It's especially important to keep exercise sessions short during peak daytime hours when the sun's rays are at their strongest. If your dog becomes lethargic, vomits, or has pale gums, contact us at Grantsburg Animal Hospital right away. These are just some of the signs of heatstroke. You can learn more about the prevention and treatment of heatstroke in this blog post.
Photo Credit: Rosanna-Parvez / Getty Images
When it comes to water, dog owners often assume that their dog is safe because he automatically knows how to swim. This is dangerously untrue. While many dogs enjoy water, others hate it. It's also important to remember that not all breeds are meant to swim. According to Pet Health Network, dogs fall into three categories: dogs who are natural swimmers, those who can be taught to swim, and those who aren't built to survive in water. Those with short muzzles and a large chest to hindquarters ratio are especially inept in the water. The bulldog is a prime example.
Your Dog Depends On You
When you decide to take your dog for a swim, she can't say no, put on her own life jacket, or take lessons in advance. She must rely on you to keep her safe. The best way to ensure your dog's water safety this summer and beyond is to start small. Accompany your dog into water that is no more than a few feet deep and observe how well she handles it. If she automatically starts paddling, that is a good sign. However, you should not be more than an arm's length away in case she does start sinking.
You can gradually increase the time in the water and distance away from your dog, but don't take your eyes off him. Even when you feel comfortable that your dog knows how to swim, never leave him unattended in or near the water. He could become overstimulated by the sight of a bird or by the noise of children and literally get in over his head. Teach him to obey your commands when you say that it's time to get out of the water and go home. He also should not enter the water unless you have given him the okay to do so.
Many dogs love to join their families for a boat ride. Unfortunately, the myth that dogs can always swim causes some people to forget to put a life jacket on their pet. To get your dog accustomed to wearing a safety vest, be sure to put it on before you even reach the dock or board the boat. That way she will come to accept it as part of the normal routine. In the rare event that your dog goes overboard, use a floatation device to pull her back in rather than jumping in the water yourself.
Microchipping your pet is always a good idea, but it's especially important if you plan to do a lot of swimming. This increases the chances of reuniting with your dog if he does get away from you. Lastly, plan ahead for seasickness and bathroom issues aboard the boat. You will probably have to train your dog in advance that it is okay to relieve himself in an area of the boat that you determine. Putting down a piece of astro turf or a section of sod works well for many people who are both dog and boat owners.
The staff of both Grantsburg Animal Hospital and Wild River Veterinary Clinic hope you and your dog have a safe and fun summer. Please schedule an appointment to see us if you have any concerns about your dog's health this summer. If you experience an after-hours emergency, please call 1-800-924-0588.
Photo Credit: Pavle Marjanovic / iStock Photo