Keep your pup busy, while you’re busy

As much as we hate it, we have to leave our pets home alone while we go to work. If you’re anything like me, you feel guilty that you have to leave your dog for hours. So what can you do to keep your pet occupied during the day? Here are a few suggestions that I’ve found helpful.

Bella Claire

Bella Claire is available to adopt!

First, daycare. Yup, just like children, pets can go to daycare. And yes, they can get expensive, but many places offer package options and/or incentives for referring friends. My dog goes to daycare a few times a week. This way, my wallet isn’t sucked dry and my dog is getting good socialization as well as constant supervision, and constant access to water and grass. Here are a few places that I was able to find through a simple google search. I do recommend checking out the facility before signing your pet up to ensure the daycare is up to your standards. Some places are 100% concrete and others keep dogs separated all day. Each dog is different so it’s important to find a place that will fit your budget and your dog’s personality.

Similarly, hiring a dog walker can be a great benefit for dogs who may not socialize well or maybe don’t have high activity level. By hiring a dog walker you can get a more personalized schedule, as well as love and attention that is 100% directed to your dog. Local dog walkers can be found via a internet search, this does require a little more work on your part, but I also recommend using Care.com. Care.com allows you to search through dog walkers in your area and see their resumes, pay requirements and personal schedule.

Note: It also never hurts to get to know the local kids in your community, kids tend to get out of school before the work day ends and you don’t have to pay as much as professional! (speaking as a former after school dog walker).

zelda

Zelda is looking for her forever home!

And finally, a mind stimulating toy or puzzle can keep your dog busy and wear them out! Toys such as a frozen peanut butter filled kong, treat filled puzzle games or even a new toy. A kong can keep my dog busy for an hour or more. I give one to my pup if it’s a rainy day or if I know I won’t make it home for lunch. Once he gets a sniff of the peanut butter, he immediately forgets I’m leaving the house. I recommend buying two kongs, that way one is always in the freezer ready to go. Puzzles also give dogs a good break from the mundane. Figuring out how to move the pieces around in order to get a treat will keep a dog mentally stimulated and out of your hair. You can pick up puzzles from your local pet store like Petco. Another simple idea is to keep a “rainy day toy,” I keep a new toy hidden away for a day where I’m busy or the weather isn’t cooperating. Just breaking out a brand new ball or rope is so exciting for my dog, I can leave him running laps around the house in excitement.

Note: Puzzles and kongs are not recommended for all dogs. If your dog likes to destroy and swallow pieces of toys, it is not recommended to leave your dog unattended with toys or bones.

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April is Canine Fitness Month

By: Erin Ford

april canine fitness month.png

Canine Fitness Month encourages us to take a step toward a healthier lifestyle for our four-legged family members.”

April is Canine Fitness Month, a chance for all dog owners to take a closer look at how they’re keeping their canines in shape. As many know, dogs can suffer from obesity just as humans do. This affliction brings a host of other issues, such as:

  • diabetes
  • damage to joints, bones, and ligaments
  • heart disease and increased blood pressure
  • decreased stamina and mobility
  • decreased liver function
  • decreased quality and length of life.

(Source: PetEducation.com)

None of us want our four-legged friends to suffer, which is why it’s important to make canine health and fitness a priority. Below are some ideas on how you can make sure your pooch is in tip-top shape.

Get walking

This may seem like a no-brainer, but this month make an extra effort to walk your dog longer and more often than usual. The proper length and frequency of walks depends on a lot of factors, such as the dog’s breed, size, health, capability, etc. A rule of thumb is to walk your dog at least twice a day, for approximately 15 minutes each time. (Source: DogingtonPost.com)

If you’re unable to fulfill this requirement, strongly consider hiring a dog walker. Getting active outside is absolutely crucial for a dog’s physical and mental well-being.

Active Play

Another activity beneficial for a dog’s physical and mental health is active play. This month, treat your dog to a new toy. You can play fetch, frisbee, tug of war, or even blow bubbles. If you live near a body of water, swimming is another great fitness activity for your dog.

Training

Signing your dog up for a fitness or training course at a local pet store is a fun way to get them active and engaged this month. A more potentially cost-effective and interactive option would be to create an obstacle course in your yard. Using various outdoor objects found in your shed or garage, you (or your kids!) can easily put together a fun, challenging series of obstacles to lead your dog through.

Shelter volunteering

If you’re not a dog owner, or your dog is already active and fit as can be, consider visiting your local shelter and see if you can volunteer as a dog walker. It will most likely require a bit of training, but it can be your mission to help shelter dogs get in shape as well.

At the end of the day, canine fitness influences owner fitness. It benefits the both of you to get out there and get active!

Sources:

https://www.cesarsway.com/dog-training/toys-and-play/ways-to-exercise-your-dog-indoors

http://www.nationaldaycalendar.com/canine-fitness-month-april/

http://www.dogingtonpost.com/how-often-should-one-walk-their-dog/

http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?c=2+1659&aid=694