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Pets 101

Keep Your Pet Happy & Healthy—Staying Fit and Active Year-Round

Spring—SummerSpring—Summer

Dogs
• Dog Parks are a great place to socialize your dog and tire him out at the same time. The warm weather of spring is a perfect time for exercise because it’s not too hot or too cold.
• Outdoor Agility stimulates your dog’s brain by asking him to perform difficult and involved tasks. This creates a sense of accomplishment. To keep your dog’s weight down, try using affection or a favorite tHappy Dogoy as a reward in place of a treat.
• Good Ol’ Fashioned Walks are a must when the weather warms up. You and your dog will be aching for sunlight and fresh air by the time winter winds down.
• Running helps you and your pet stay in shape. Keep in mind that not all dogs are built for running. Those with short legs or trouble breathing may not enjoy pounding the pavement with you.
• Biking is a great way to wear our your energetic dog if running and walking are not doing the trick. There are attachments for your bicycle that allow you to safely attach your dog’s leash.
• Dog Beaches are the perfect spot for your dog to socialize and get exercise while being able to cool off during hot summer days. Not all dogs are good swimmers, and not all weather is safe for swimming. Use your common sense. Also, be careful of heat stroke and sunburn.
• Dock Dog Contests allow for competitive dogs to get out some of their energy while showcasing their jumping skills and keeping cool.
• Camping is a great way to bond with your dog and stay active. You’re more likely to do more things (i.e. walk, hike, bike, etc.) if you are outside for most of the day.
• Hiking on shaded paths allows you and your dog to stay cool while getting exercise.
• Prepare Your Yard. Using dog-friendly fertilizer, weed killer, and grub treatments ensures that your dog is not exposed to dangerous chemicals.
• Change Your Dog’s Diet. Switching your dog’s food allows his digestive system to process nutrients in a more efficient manner. Pet nutritionists recommend adding variety to your dog’s diet at least four times a year. Always introduce new foods gradually, and check with your vet to be sure it’s appropriate for your dog.
• Prepare Your Dog. Make sure that your dog is up to date on all vaccines and apply flea and tick treatment. Getting your dog groomed at this time is also a good idea.

Happy CatCats
• Outside Time for your cat can be very helpful to your cat’s mood after a long winter. Although be sure to hang out and relax with your cat, as they are at greater risk for disease and injury when they are outside, especially at night. Believe it or not most cats are okay outside with you on a leash.
• Playing Chase with your cat is a great way to energize him. Toys in the form of birds, mice, and bugs attached to string can be pulled through indoor hallways and stairs, or the grass in your yard.
• Playtime Should Be A Daily Routine now that the sun is up longer and you will likely have more energy, too. This can also help shed some winter weight gain for both of you!
• Prepare Your Cat. By making sure that she is up to date on her vaccinations. Now is also a good time for a nail trim and thorough brushing.
• Protect Your Cat from heat stroke and sunburn. If your cat is outside for too long in the hot summer weather, 
he may suffer from exhaustion or exposure. Try to keep him indoors on days of extreme weather.

Fall—WinterFall—Winter

Dogs
• Nature Hikes can be very pleasant and calming to your dog because the trails will not be as populated. The new smells will stimulate your dog’s brain as well.
• Changing Your Dog’s Diet is a must during the winter months. With your dog being less active, make sure you adjust the amount of food he gets.
• Indoor Agility Courses are a great place to socialize and exercise your dog without risking frostbite and exposure.
• Treadmill Walks are not for everyone, but if your dog can handle it and the weather is too severe for any activity—this may be a good way to keep him fit.
• Walks and Trips To Dog Park need to be shortened. The cold temperatures may not allow your dog to be outside for very long. Watch for signals that she is cold, such as chewing on her paws or lifting her paws off the ground to avoid the cold. If you live in a snowy climate, beware of the commercial salt used on the sidewalks—it can be irritating for paw pads and harmful if ingested.
• Obedience Classes allow your dog to interact with other dogs, stimulates his mind, and can help strengthen your bond. This can be a good year-round activity, too.
• Doga (Doggie Yoga) may seem geared towards the “new wave” dog person, but you and your dog will benefit from this calming activity. The stretching can be good for your dog’s muscles, ligaments, and tendons.
• Sled Rides/Sled Pulls are perfect for the winter dog. Those who enjoy the cold weather and have more energy during these months will love pulling you along snowy trails.

Cats
• Buy A Video Or DVD. These videos have mice, birds, or other small animals scurrying about that your cat can watch. Some cats love these and will even bat at the TV screen.
• Grow Wheatgrass Or Catnip Indoors. Many cats love the scent of fresh catnip and also eat wheatgrass to aid in their digestion. You can purchase small plants of catnip from a nursery and wheatgrass at your local health food store.
• Try A Heated Cat Bed. Cats appreciate warm, cozy spots to curl up in as weather gets colder—especially seniors.
• Simulate Hunting With Toys. Interactive toys simulate hunting and stalking that really give your cats a workout and the mental stimulation they need.
• Open Your Curtains. Less light the winter may cause a decrease in natural brain chemicals, like serotonin, that increase mood.
• Wake Your Cat Up For Playtime. People often are less active during the winter, but we need to be good role models. Cats may need encouragement to get off the couch and be active. However, for those truly lazy days, invest in a laser light toy. Your cat will go nuts chasing the red dot while you’re channel surfing with the remote in the other hand!
• Watch Your Cat’s Diet. Cats may overeat during the winter months. This can lead to unhealthy weight gain. Make sure you feed the recommended amount of cat food and go easy on the treats.

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