Being outdoors is great for both dog and owner. Being outdoors provides a fresh and interesting environment which will help to keep your dog’s mind active, fresh and alert. The more they spend outdoors, the more they will get used to strangers and other dogs coming into contact with them.
Even if you are lucky to have a large garden, your dog would still benefit from walks outside of the family home. It is advised that any dog should have at least one walk per day that lasts around 30 minutes. Obviously the size, age and breed of dog will require different amounts of exercise. And don’t presume that small dogs require less becuase of their size. It’s always best to check with your vet about how much exercise your particular breed of dog should have. Your common sense should be adequate, you will know when your dog has had enough, and when they have had too little!
Here are a few ideas for stimulating activities you can share with your canine companion
Take a Walk
But for all dogs a daily walk is an essential part of their exercise routine. In fact the more you can walk them the better. And it’s good for you too. Whether it be a country lane, a beach run or just a walk to the park, try and get your dog out and away from the family home on a regular basis.
Not only does it exercise them but it introduces them to new people, other dogs and new stimuli. All this will help develop and stimulate their senses. Even if you become incapacitated, try and get a friend or hire a professional dog walker to get your dog out and about.
Always remember to keep your dog on a secure leash and only let them off in a safe, dog friendly environment. Check with your local park whether dogs are allowed to roam free. And check whether the beach is dog friendly, as some don’t allow them on the sands during the spring and summer.
Your dog should also be ‘micro chipped’ and wear a collar that has an id tag attached, incase they run off or get lost. That way someone can get in touch with you if they find your dog.
Chase and Fetch
The Beach and Ponds in the Park
It’s common sense, but always play safe near the sea and only visit good family and dog friendly beaches and avoid messy beaches which is littered with bottles and debris. It will only increase the chance of a cut paw and a hefty vets bill.
Also keep your dog well protected from the sun if playing on the beach all day. Dogs can get heatstroke just like humans, but have trouble cooling down if they suffer from sunstroke. Keep a dog stroller handy or a pop up tent, so they can go and lie in the shade. Make sure you take plent of water with you too, they will need to drink a lot of water if playing in the sun.
Running and Jogging
Hiking or walking in wild surroundings may also expose your dog to ticks or fleas, not to mention the rough terrain of sticks and sharp rocks. There is also the occaisional downpour to consider. Hiking with your dog is not the same as a walk to the park or shops. Make sure your dog is always treated for fleas and ticks with a good ‘spot on’ flea repellant which you can obtain from your vet. Always make sure it’s a good one. A simple flea collar may not be enough protection if you plan many hikes over the summer months.
With rough terrain, we will never know beforehand what lies ahead. Humans can protect themselves from the elements with protective clothing and boots. Good news is dogs can too. There are now plenty of weatherproof coats and jackets designed to protect your dog from wet weather. Some are cute and some are garish, but there are some designed with just the functionality needed. Always take a waterproof dog coat with you. You can now even buy a set of dog boots which will help protect your dogs paws on bad terrain. The boots are designed for all breeds and all sizes and they slip on comfortably right over all four paws and velcro securely in place. Be sure to clip your dog’s nails before a hike to prevent them from getting caught in their new boots.
A dog stroller is also handy if you want to protect your dog from the rain or rough terrain. Most strollers are lightweight and designed to cope with rough surfaces and have the added storage space required for water, blankets and food. Strollers are also perfect for taking an aged dog or younger dogs on a long walks or some flat landscape hikes. Strollers are ideal for hikes with very little or no climbing but would be troublesome if climbing up hills and over rocks. But never the less, they are perfect for long walks as the dog can rest periodically and also enjoy some of the walk or hike by your side. The weatherproof covering will help protect them from the cold autumn and winter rain and hot sun in the summer months.
For all hikes, and especially in the summer months, always make sure you take enough water for you and your dog. There will most probably be no shop stops during the hike and drinking water for you dog may not be available. So take plenty of water with you. You can buy great collapsable water and food bowls for dogs, which are great to use and then fold away…very convenient.
Dog Agility Parks and Trails
Oh….and….Dogs and their poop.
It’s always encouraged that you provide your pet with as much outdoor time and exercise. Exercise is critical to your pet’s physical health (and yours), and the stimulation from the sights, sounds, people and other dogs that they meet outdoors is crucial for your pet’s mental health.