Depending on where you live, it may not look like Spring is imminent, but as sure as the sun shines, time will march on and Spring will be here! With Spring comes longer walks with your dog and further exploration of the area in which you live.
Even if you have been keeping your dog active while indoors, getting ready for Spring may require some additional steps. We do recommend that even if you and your dog can’t go to a dog park or if it’s too cold to play outdoors, you can still keep her active indoors. Play fetch. Hide food around the house in a food puzzle and let him race around looking for the food and figuring out the puzzle. If your pup gets the “zoomies” let him burn off that excess energy and get that much-needed activity; it will keep him in shape for Spring!
Like us, our dogs may have become couch potatoes during the long, cold and potentially snowy months of the year. Being more sedentary than usual means your dog may have gained a few pounds. Lack of long walks, runs and games of fetch could also mean your dog is out of shape. You don’t want to take him on a long run the first sunny and warm day of Spring. It is important to work your dog up to the longer walks you’re accustomed to so he doesn’t get an injury. Imagine if you went from couch potato to trying to run a marathon with no training in between; you’d be sure to suffer an injury and the same holds true for your pup.
Here are our top six tips for getting your pup ready for Springtime activities:
Schedule a visit with your veterinarian. Depending on when your dog was last at the vet, a visit may be in order to ensure she is healthy enough to begin her usual outdoor activities. Your vet will check her weight, overall health condition and may even recommend heartworm, flea and tick and other preventative measures to keep her safe all Spring and Summer long. Invest in pet insurance to help defray the cost of vet visits. Your vet may also recommend a change in diet. If he or she had recommended cutting back on food when your dog was less active, may now recommend you add a more food back into his diet if her activity levels will be increasing.
Take slow, short walks. Depending on your dog’s age and overall health, use Springtime to build up endurance so you can return to long walks, hikes, bike rides and other activities you and your pup enjoy.
Make certain your dog is always wearing his collar with a tag that shows his name, your name, phone number or other contact information. It’s important your dog wear identification, and get microchipped, but Spring is an ideal time to check the tags to make certain the information is still legible and up-to-date.
Is a trip to the groomer in order? Depending on your dog’s breed and fur-type a grooming visit may be in order to ensure she doesn’t get tangled or matted fur, ticks buried in thick fur, burrs or mud caked into her fur.
Steer clear of treated lawns. Spring is the time when many people treat their lawns with chemicals to help them grow and to discourage weed growth. You need to make certain your dog doesn’t roll in or even walk on those lawns; if he does and then licks his paws he will be ingesting harmful chemicals. If you treat your lawn, make certain you or your lawn maintenance professional uses pet-safe treatments.
Enjoy the walks and use them to strengthen the bond you and your dog share. Of course, you’ve spent the winter months in the house together, but taking a walk and breathing in the scents of Spring, greeting neighbors and their dogs and exploring new locations is a great way to kick off the new year and warmer days ahead.
Remember, even if it seems cool to you, it may still be warm for your dog and it’s always a good idea to carry a water bottle and a bowl from which he can drink while you’re out on your walks. Offer him water before he starts panting and seems tired from the walk.
Spring will be here before you know it!
Robbi Hess, award-winning author, is multi-petual: She shares her home with two Devon Rex kittens, three adult rescue cats, a mini poodle, a Goldendoodle, three lizards and two ferrets. When not caring for her pets, she is an editor, speaker, time management and productivity guru, content creator, social media manager and blogger. She writes at All Words Matter, My Divas Dish, and is the story editor and chief cat herder at Positively Woof.