Fun walks with your dog
Original Publication Date: October 12, 2015
By C. Sue Furman, Ph.D.
Once your dog has developed good leash manners, walk together frequently for fun and the pleasure of each other's company. Plan different types of walks to keep your pet interested.
Don't forget the necessities you should take along.
You can take a purposeful walk by guiding your pup to his favorite potty spot. Longer walks get your dog regular exercise that is necessary to keep them healthy and to help maintain their ideal body weight.
These walks also help prevent or alleviate arthritis and other degenerative joint diseases. Your dog needs an exercise walk at least three times each week to maintain muscle tone and stay fit.
Exercise walks are essential, but stimulating walks are fun. A leisurely walk that allows your pup to stop, sniff and investigate or just mark a spot is good for them mentally. It is enjoyable and allows them to use their super refined sense of smell to see the world from a point of view you can never experience.
Snooping is good for your dog and should be encouraged, but stay mindful of dangers that should be avoided. If your dog likes to smell - or nibble - the flowers keep them on a short leash when you pass the flowers. Spring bulb plants like tulips and daffodils can cause significant stomach problems for your pup.
In the summer, stay away from oleander, English ivy, elephant ear and marigolds.
It is also important to keep your dog off other peoples' lawns, because lawn insecticides and certain types of mulch, especially cocoa bean mulch, are toxic and can cause gastrointestinal upsets.
You can ward off pesky mosquitos by spraying yourself with insect repellant, but never spray your pup. DEET, the active ingredient in the sprays, is toxic to pets and can cause neurological problems. Your veterinarian can recommend pet-friendly alternatives.
Be sure to keep an eye peeled for creepy crawly things as you walk along. Depending on the time of year and the terrain where you are walking, potentially dangerous critters like snakes, spiders, scorpions, bees and wasps can be serious threats to you and your pet. So keep an eye out for danger.
Take a bottle of water and a collapsible bowl on every walk especially if it is warm. A dog can overheat rapidly if they become dehydrated. Also take a bag of goodies. A walk can be a great time to practice tricks and obedience.
Treats make the training opportunity a fun session and keep the walk enjoyable for your pet.
Don't forget to take plenty of poop bags. Clean up after your pet is an essential part of responsible pet ownership.
The most important thing to remember is walking with your dog should be fun for both of you. Have a great walk and a great time.
Sue Furman, Ph.D, has published two books and a DVD on canine massage and teaches classes in pet massage, acupressure, first aid and CPR. See her schedule and submit questions at HolisticTouchTherapy.com.