We all know that exercise is vital to keeping our bodies fit and functioning as they should. The same goes for your dog, but you might be wondering just how much exercise does my dog need? As a minimum, dogs need 30 minutes a day of physical exercise. The intensity of exercise varies depending on health, age and breed. Dogs who were bred for working activities, such as Labrador Retrievers and Border Collies, need up to 2 hours of exercise a day.
Exercise helps your dog keep unnecessary weight off, keeps his metabolism working as it should and keeps his muscles tones and his mind engaged. Dogs that don’t get enough physical activity often turn to destructive behaviors. There is truth is the old adage, “a tired dog is a good dog”. Keep your dog engaged and pay attention to his signals.
If you have a smaller dog or a senior dog, a casual walk through the neighborhood might be enough activity, but don’t forget to switch it up a bit and occasionally go down a different street or go to the park. Dogs get bored, just like you, so keep it fresh, but regular.
Here are some activities, beyond just a walk in the park, that you might want to try with your dog. Check in your area to see what groups exist so you and your dog can learn one of these sports.
Agility – This is a wonderful way to build your relationship and communication with your dog.It keeps you talking to each other and keeps your dog’s mind and body engaged.
Fly Ball – For dogs that are “ball motivated”, this is a great way of getting intense exercise that is fun and builds confidence.
Lure Coursing – This is a very intense exercise for dogs with loads of energy that are “prey driven”.
Nose Work -Sometimes mellow, sometimes intense, but for dogs who have a good nose, it keeps their minds engaged and keeps their bodies moving.
Rally – This a great way for you and your dog to work together on obedience and keep moving at the same time.
Swimming – If you are lucky enough to have a canine aquatic center near you, this is an unbeatable way for your dog to stay fit without any impact on his joints.It’s great exercise for any dog and a wonderful way to rehabilitee a dog with injuries or compromised joints.
Freestyle Dancing – Yes, you can take up dancing with your dog! It’s a fun way to build your relationship, keep both of you moving and work on obedience at the same time.
Every dog is different so it’s a good idea to talk to your veterinarian about how much and how intense the exercise should be, but don’t bypass this important and boding activity with your dog.
Halloween is one of our favorite times of the year. There are so many cute costumes to dress your dog up in, fun events to attend and scary yard decorations. But Halloween can be downright frightful for your dog. Here are some tips to keep your dog comfortable and safe this Halloween.
Candy is for the kids with two legs, never for those with four.
Most people know chocolate can be deadly for dogs, but other candy is also very dangerous. Be aware that half-eaten candy bars can end up on your lawn on Halloween night. Keep your eyes open and do a good look over in areas where something might have been dropped. Also, be sure to keep the candy bowl out of your dog’s reach.
Door bell ringing and knocking can be stressful for your dog and pose a risk for your dog running out when you answer the door.
Consider sitting on your front porch or at the end of your driveway to hand out candy to lessen the chaos and eliminate the risk of your dog getting out of the door when you answer it. In any case, be sure your dog is wearing an ID tag, just in case an accident happens and he gets out of the door.
Dressing your dog up this Halloween
Be sure the costume does not restrict your dog’s movement or make it hard for him to breathe. Not all dogs enjoy playing dress, but others love it. Know what makes your dog happy.
Jack-O-Lanterns are a great festive decoration, but use caution.
If you are using a real candle, make sure your dog cannot tip the pumpkin over or get his nose burnt while sniffing. Dry ice inside of jack-o-lanterns can also pose a danger to dogs.
Out and about with your dog on Halloween night
Use a collar that lights up or a put a reflective vest on your dog to make sure your dog can be seen. Never take your dog out without a leash. Even dogs who are used to being off-leash and under voice command can get spooked on Halloween night and run off or into danger. Dogs are best left and home on Halloween night, but for those who insist on taking their dogs out, please do not go out without a leash.
Participating in Halloween festivities with your dog
Remember your dog might not enjoy being dressed up and having all of the attention. Respect what your dog enjoys and is comfortable with. Never put your dog in a situation that is unfair to him and causes stress that could result in him nipping or biting someone. Use common sense and keenly observe what your dog is comfortable with. Keeping your dog and others safe means respecting boundaries.
I’m a big fan on traveling with my dog, and know first hand that a few dog travel tips can help you make it a great experience. In my opinion, it’s all in the planning and making sure you do your research ahead of time. You will have a much more successful and fun trip if you know in advance what activities you can participate in together, and what your dog will do if there are things you want to do, but that are not pet friendly.
Doggie daycare at your Travel Destination
An important dog travel tip to remember is that most hotels do not want your dog to be left in the room alone if you are not there. This is for your dogs safety as well as the cleaning staff, not to mention to help reduce the risk of any damage to the room while you are away.
Think about alternatives to leaving your dog alone if the day doesn’t include something he can do with you. First of all, staying in the car is not an option, even if the weather is cool. There are too many things that can go wrong and it’s simply not safe and should not be considered an option.
Another dog travel tip to consider is a day or afternoon at doggie daycare. Research the area and see what is available that you are comfortable with. Remember that many daycare facilities require a short test visit to make sure your dog plays well with others. Plan for this visit in your trip and make sure you’ve called ahead of time to learn their policies and see if they have room for your dog.
What to Take with You
You probably have your own checklist (or at least a mental checklist) of things to include in your own suitcase. Have one for your dog too. Bringing the right items with you on your trip can help reduce stress.
Dog Travel Tips List: things to pack along
Sturdy carrier – A good carrier is helpful even when you are going on a road trip.
Carrier ID – Make sure that you have an ID tag on the carrier with your dog’s name and your phone number. This dog travel tip is very helpful in the case of an emergency. You might also want to include your vet’s name and number on the ID tag and list any medications that your dog is currently on. In the case of an auto accident, it is also helpful to have the name and number of someone who is not traveling with you, who could care for your dog in an emergency situation. If the tag does not have enough room, clearly mark “in case of emergency, see back of card” and write the info on the backside.
Current vaccine records
Health certificate, if it is required at your destination (these must be issued within 10 days of departure).
Food/water dishes – Soft sided or pop-up dishes are great for travel.
Food – Be sure to pack enough for the whole trip. I always enough for take two days extra. If you feed a raw diet, think about what you want to use as an alternative. Consider dehydrated or freeze-dried dog food.
Treats – these can be very helpful when you are trying to encourage good behavior in a new environment.
Medications/Vitamins– If your dog is currently taking any medication or supplements, be sure to bring them along.
Chew toy or bone – Something to keep your dog busy and distracted can be very helpful.
Harness or Collar with ID tag – Make sure it has your cell phone number on it. You can also create a temporary ID, in addition to the permanent one, by looping some masking tape around the collar with the hotel name and phone number on it.
Leash + 1. It’s always a good idea to bring an extra leash. You never know when you might need it.
Favorite toy or ball – Bring a few! Consider bringing one that already has the squeaker pulled out. Your hotel neighbors will appreciate it.
Favorite blanket – Don’t wash it before you leave home. The familiar smell will help your dog feel more secure and comfortable.
Bachs Rescue Remedy or homemade lavender mist – This dog travel tip helps calm your dog in the car, the plane or the hotel room. Fill an 8 ounce mister bottle with water. Add 20-30 drops of essential lavender oil. Shake well before misting.
Cooling jacket and or mat – Especially helpful if you are going to the beach or any hot location where your dog is going to be exposed to the elements. Remember that even with a cooling jacket/mat, never leave your dog in a hot car. Even in the shade with the window cracked open, a car can heat up to 160 degrees in just a few minutes, potentially causing your pet heat stroke, brain damage and even death.
Doggie Life jacket – If your trip involves boating, be sure to pack your dog’s own life jacket.
Travel seatbelt – A harness attached to your car’s seatbelt is essential for doggie safety. If you are traveling by air, make sure you take one to use in the rental car. If you are taking a road trip, consider a special seat for your dog that allows him to lookout. The Lookout Car Seat is great for small dogs and works well with a VestHarness.
Dog Toothbrush/toothpaste – Even on vacation, your dog’s teeth should be brushed daily.
Housebreaking/training pads – Helpful for hotel rooms that your dog is not familiar with. Just in case…
Flea/Tick herbal remedy
Poop bags – you can never pack too many. This is an important dog travel tip – when you take your dog out to potty, the chance you’ll only need one bag is slim. Have three on you at all times. You’ll be happy you did.
Dog First aid kit
Day bag to carry essential items on an outing.
Music to calm your dog in the car.
Clear and up-to-date photo of your dog – This is a very important dog travel tip. If your dog gets lost, you will want to have quick access to a current photo to create flyers and show people. Hopefully you won’t need this, but it’s always best to be prepared. You might even want to go the extra step and make up flyers in advance with your cell phone number on it. You don’t want to waste time going to the copy store in an emergency situation.
List of a few doggie daycare facilities and vets where you are visiting. It’s helpful to have planned in advance should the occasion arise that you need it.
List of pet-friendly establishments at your destination. You don’t want to want to wait until you get to your destination to search your phone app for places you might want to visit. Know ahead of time where you want to go that are pet friendly.
It’s great that you are planning a trip with your dog! Have fun together and get out there and explore. The memories you create are ones you will cherish forever.
There is nothing I love more than taking great photos of my dog. This isn’t always as easy as the end result makes it look. Dogs don’t have the longest attention spans, are often quick to give into distractions and very rarely hold still. Even harder than getting a great shot of a dog, is taking a great shot of a person with a dog. The person wants to look at the dog, is making a face or is in mid-sentence of telling the dog to “stay”.
Here are some key points to help you get the most beautiful photo of your dog.
Get down on the ground with the dog. You don’t want to be shooting down at the dog, but rather be down at his height. Lie all the way down on the ground, don’t just stoop down.
Take really good, high value treats like lamb lung or beef liver. They are aromatic, break into small pieces easily and dogs love them. Make sure you give little tiny pieces so your dog doesn’t get sick from too many treats during a photo shoot.
Take a squeaky toy that you can use to get your dog’s attention. You might want to try several different sounds. It’s nice to have a new sound that your dog isn’t used to just yet. That way they are curious, but not necessarily expecting something like a ball toss. A duck whistle is a good tool for getting a cute head tilt.
If a person is in the photo with the dog, ask them to not pay attention to the dog, but just focus on you. That way you can do your job of getting a great dog shot and not have to worry too much about the person wrecking it for you by trying to help.
The flip side of having the person not pay attention to the dog is having the person totally interacting with the dog. You can get great candid photos of dog and parent playing together, looking into each other’s eyes and being natural together. Be sure to take both kinds of photos when you are doing a person/pet photo.
Pick a setting that is nice, but where you aren’t going to be worried about your dog running away from you. It’s very possible that your own backyard is the best place to photograph your dog.
Make sure the area is free of debris and clutter.
Have your dog groomed a day or two before the photos, but not clipped too short.
Collar free is always nice for a few images if you are working in the safety of your own yard.
If you are doing a person/pet photo, ask the person to wear solid colors that do not distract.
A slightly overcast day is always better than a cloud free one. Watch out for strong shadows.
Be patient. It might take several shots to get the perfect image. In the photo world, we used to always say “film is cheap”. Shoot lots of pictures and most importantly, have fun.