Thursday, April 28, 2011

Prepping Your Pup for Outdoor Activities

The Wellness Blog

Bea and Neha

Prepping for Outdoor Activities

Be sure to inspect your yard and always practice proper pet etiquette.
Warm air is finally upon us, which means you and your pet will likely be heading outdoors for some fun in the sun. Here are some important things to consider when preparing your dog for time outside, particularly following the winter.

The Great Outdoors

Before you let your nosy hound explore all that your yard has to offer, make sure you take a walk around to inspect for any potentially dangerous items. New plants may have recently pollinated your yard so it’s important to keep your pets away from any that could be harmful. Take care to remove or fence off any hazardous plants, such as lilies, azalea, and rhododendron to name just a few, that your dog may be able to access. You should also check your yard for choking hazards, this particularly applies to young puppies or especially curious dogs that are apt to chew on items they shouldn’t. Small sticks, stones or pieces of bark should be removed from your pet’s reach.

A Stroll in the Park

When taking your dog to a local park or other public area, always be respectful and aware of necessary pet etiquette. A dog taken to a public area should always be leashed, unless the rules for the area are otherwise. Given the likelihood that your pet will encounter other animals and people, it is beneficial for your dog to be trained in general obedience and important commands such as stay, sit, and down. You’ll want to reward your pet for their social excellence so be sure to have some snacks on hand, like Wellness® WellBites® to help keep your dog motivated. Having a well-trained pup will help keep these social encounters positive and enjoyable for all of those involved.

Day Trips

This time of year is a great time to take your dog for longer day trips, be it hiking, a trip to the beach, or a day of exploration. It is important that you plan ahead and pack appropriately for yourself as well as your pet. Make sure you pack an adequate water supply, a drinking bowl for your dog, food and/or snacks, a collar and leash. Other items such as toys, bedding or blankets, a shade mechanism and pet-first aid kit are also helpful items to have on hand if needed. Just as we see with humans, if your pet has been fairly lazy during the winter months, you’ll want to build up their stamina gradually. Steadily increasing the distance of walks or hikes will help your pup increase his or her endurance to these various activities. As you embark on various journeys with your pet, keep a close eye on their condition to ensure your pet is enjoying the activity and is not at a point of exhaustion.

Post-Play Clean Up

Whether your pet is playing in your own backyard or taking a long hike, a thorough inspection and cleaning should be performed after their time outdoors. This includes cleaning any dirt or build-up from the dog’s ears and paws, as well as checking the dog thoroughly for ticks (if applicable to the area in which you live).

Following these simple steps for safe outdoor play will help keep your dog healthy and happy, and make the outdoors all the more enjoyable for you and your pup.

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