Appropriate exercise is healthy for pets and their owners.
We have to believe that cooler weather is coming, that soon we will be free of the heat, humidity and window rattling afternoon and evening thunderstorms. When fall arrives many of us will head outdoors -- with our pooches of course.
Matching the exercise with the dog’s breed, age and physical abilities is very important. Not every dog is a Frisbee dog. If you are jogging or riding your bike and your dog is running behind you it is probably time to rethink your exercise time with him.
Moderation is the key
Older dogs often have joint and hip issues that should be taken into consideration before exercise. If you have any doubts please check with your vet before taking on any new activities or long hikes. Muscle strain isn’t just an older dog concern. Puppies have boundless energy but too much exercise can strain growing muscles and bones.
Dog introductions – or not
When walking, whether it’s through one of the state parks or a paved path, always keep your pup on a leash. Many like to use an extendable leash; they give the dog a chance to explore while still under your control.
Control is the operative word. If you are walking in the woods it’s a good idea to keep them close and noses out of trouble. Snakes and other critters call the woods home and for the most part want nothing to do with you or your dog. If an inquisitive nose invades their territory they will defend themselves at your pup’s expense (and probably your wallet's too).
As hard as it is for us “dog people” to comprehend, some people are not fond of dogs. It’s common courtesy (and good PR for the canine crowd) to bring them close to your side when a walker, jogger or bicyclist passes by.
Flagler Beach allows dogs, on leashes, north of N. 10th Street and south of S. 10th Street. Please clean up after them. The tide is not a means to “wash the feces out” as I was once told by a visitor.
On any walk, always bring a water bottle for your dog. I have used the inverted lid for a bowl, but I have a small dog. Larger dog owners can get a collapsible canvass bowl or, if your dog doesn’t like to drink on walks, squirt the water into his mouth. Dogs, like people, need to stay hydrated.
It is extremely important to offer your dog fresh water frequently on walks, especially at the beach. Salt water is very unhealthy for dogs and can result in further dehydration, diarrhea, kidney failure and the need for an immediate trip to the vet. If your dog drinks a lot of salt water do not try to treat him by giving him fresh water, instead take him to a veterinary clinic immediately. The vet will most likely hook him up to an IV to restore fluids and electrolytes.
There are also critters in the water; jelly fish and stingrays at the beach, and alligators in the retention ponds and lakes, that your pet does not want to interact with. Oh, he thinks he does, but he doesn’t.
Once home it’s always a good idea to check for ticks. Bath your pup, or rinse the dirt, sand and salt off their fur. Pay particular attention to their paws. Those spiny spurs that they often pick up on their walks are easy to remove without sticking yourself. Wet your fingers or spray the spur with water to soften the spines.
Kodi and I are looking forward to cooler days and wonderful walks and hope to see you on our travels.