April is Active Dog Month
Like many of us, dogs often live a more sedentary lifestyle than their bodies are designed to. And, just like us, canines need to stay active and exercise to not only stay at a healthy weight but to improve their overall health and well-being. Being overweight or obese has been found to cause sore joints, diabetes, difficulty breathing, an increased risk of cancer, and can shorten the lives of our pets. It is essential for dogs to be active throughout the day, every day. Regular walks, more playtime, and eating fewer treats can all help your pup improve their health and trim their waistline. April is Active Dog Month, and as we gear up for summer, it’s a great reminder to get off the couch and out into the sunshine.
You don’t have to spend hours a day or buy fancy equipment to get your pet in better health. Simply increasing the frequency and duration of your walks and playtime can improve your dog’s condition. There are a variety of activities you and your fur baby can engage in, and there’s something for every level of fitness:
- Outdoor Walks – Aim to increase the length of your walks over time. Consider both your own fitness level and your dogs; start with 10-15 minutes and add a few minutes each day. Work up to runs or try to incorporate hills or different terrain.
- Play Games – Try fetch, frisbee, chase, any game that involves running or movement. Even just throwing treats so that your pooch has to run to them will help burn some extra calories.
- Head to the Dog Park – Dog parks are a great option to let your pooch run leash free and engage with other local dogs. Before you go, make sure your pet has all of its vaccinations, is spay/neutered, and has a mild enough temperament to be around other dogs. If you’re not sure, start with them on a leash and be prepared to intervene. There are often different areas for little dogs and big dogs. Bring a ball to toss around; you and your dog might make some new friends!
- Create an Obstacle Course – Great for rainy days! Use chairs, pillows, boxes, whatever you have around the house and create a course for your pooch to run through, over and around.
- Try Nose Work – Nose work games not only help your dog be more physically active but also provide mental stimulation to help keep your pup busy, confident and happy. Essentially hide and seek, nose work encourages your pooch to use their sense of smell to find a favorite toy or treat.
- Enlist a Dog Walker or Trainer – Short on time or heading back to the office? Happy Hound offers dog walking and training classes. Our experienced Happy Hound doggy supervisors will take your pet on guided tours of the Oakland hills and local dog parks, ensuring they get plenty of exercise and socialization time, too!
Another great option is Doggy Daycare. Your pet will get to hang out with other dogs of their size and temperament while utilizing our large facility filled with toys, climbing and play structures, cozy beds, and air conditioning/heating, as well as indoor and outdoor access, even splash pools for hot days! All dogs are assessed before attending daycare to ensure everyone gets along. At Happy Hound, we place dogs into a “town” based on their size, from the smallest to the largest. Happy Hound also has specialized rooms for seniors, puppies, or those that need extra attention.
Remember, treats are meant to be a treat, so use them sparingly. If you have an overweight or obese pet, you can use a favorite toy or extra pets as encouragement during games or training. You can also try breaking apart treats or using smaller pieces, like bits of bacon or single pieces of their dry food, to allow your dog to have a treat but avoid feeding them an extra meal. Always speak to your vet before changing their diet and if you have concerns about their weight.
This April, aim to get active with your fur baby, it not only improves their physical health but can help them live longer, and you may find yourself feeling a little more fit, too. While Active Dog Month is officially in April, keeping your dog active is something to do year-round. So walk and play every day to ensure your pup lives a longer, healthier, happier life.
For more ways to keep your dog active, visit Happy Hound in Oakland, California, to learn more about Doggy Daycare, Puppy Socials, Dog Walking, as well as Dog Grooming and Dog Boarding. Ask about Happy Hound Dog Training programs – voted Best Dog Obedience School 2021 by East Bay Express!