Three Secrets to Safe & Effective Exercise for Your Dog

It’s no secret that exercising your dog can lead to a happier and healthier pup – not to mention a quieter house and a happier you. The complication is that exercising your dog takes time and sometimes we struggle to find time to exercise ourselves. However, without safe and effective exercise, your dog can gain weight, risk costly injury, and tear apart the house in response to pent up energy. Consider how you exercise your dog now: perhaps you play tug with your Chihuahua in the living room, jog or play fetch with your active retriever, or ask your senior mixed breed to sit in the kitchen — all of these activities can exercise your dog both physically and mentally. Let’s further explore how you can make the most of your time with your dog while safely and effectively gaining the benefits of exercise.

Here are three secrets to safely and effectively exercising your dog through activities and games that you probably already play.

1. Discuss with your veterinarian

Before beginning any exercise (even training class!), it’s important to get a full health check with your local veterinarian. Let your vet know which activities you are thinking about pursuing, and ask which activities would be most appropriate for your dog’s age, musculoskeletal structure, and preferences. Remember, just like with children, jumping from high places or playing on hard surfaces can be detrimental to joints. Be sure to ask how long the activities should last, how intense they should be, and about any necessary equipment or weather precautions. Just because your dog wants to fetch constantly, doesn’t necessarily mean that this high impact, sustained exercise is healthy. Describe the activity and environment to your vet in detail, and be sure to get clearance before enjoying with your pup.

2. Explore variation

After speaking with your veterinarian about appropriate activities for your dog, plan to vary the types of activities each day. If your veterinarian approved some shorter distance jogs for your pup, perhaps the next day you could spread his food in the backyard as a scavenger hunt. Varying high intensity with low intensity workouts is just as stimulating for your pup, and the variation will keep him engaged. You can also vary exercises within the activity itself. For example, if you frequently throw a ball or disc for your dog until she lies down and pants, consider asking for tricks between different types of throws. By varying distances and body movements you can help your dog regulate her arousal and stay safe.

3. Remember warms up & cool down

Before beginning any activity, it’s important to set up your dog for success. Dogs have the same basic musculoskeletal components as people, and therefore they can sustain similar injuries from rigorous use or clumsy accidents. However, dogs are more athletic compared to humans (even your couch potato probably has a higher VO2max than you!), and they can exert a lot of energy at playtime. It’s important to warm up and cool down your dog’s muscles before use. Consider the type of exercise and what body parts are involved, and plan for a warm up. For example, if you’re about to open the back door for your dog to dash out with his powerful hind legs, take a couple walking laps around the living room first. Ask for a few repetitions of sit and put a treat in front of his nose to lure him in a few circles before opening the door. Much like a short jog, squats, and plyometrics before a sprint, these exercises can help protect your dog’s soft tissue before dashing off. The easiest part is that the same exercises can be performed in reverse for a quick cool down.

Using these three secrets, you can safely and effectively exercise your dog in the same amount of time and help you and your pup enjoy the benefits. Through warms ups/cool downs and varying your dog’s activities you can tire your pup out in no time at all. Talking to your veterinarian about the type, duration, and intensity of activity can also tailor the exercise to your dog and avoid costly injury. 

Many caretakers believe that their dog needs to sprint in order to get tired, when in reality sniffing, training, or a combination can be just as taxing. Check out the table below for more ideas! Challenge yourself this week to change one thing about your dog’s exercise routine, and see if you enjoy a calmer, healthier dog!

 

Activity

Variation

Warm up/cool down

Hide a treat/toy in the house

High/low places, obstacles, multiple rooms

Walk laps, sits, crawls

Sniffy walk

Hide treats, change route

Walk laps, sits

Tug

Side to side, stop/go, 2 tugs

Jog laps, play bow, weight shift

Fetch

Short/long distances, walking breaks, sit/down/spin/beg/back

Jog laps, downs, circles

Jog

Walk/run, canicross, sniff breaks

Sniff, walk laps, sits

 

 

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Episode 811 – The New Normal: Distance Learning & Telecommuting

Victoria and Aly talk about how to be more effective when learning and working from home. Social distancing is the thing these days, but how do we keep from going nuts and what are the best practices to stay productive and efficient when working or learning from home. Dealing with the social aspect of isolation. Aly shares some top tips for how to be productive while staying home, including staying engaged and avoiding passivity. The use of rituals of physical, technical and mental preparation in staying efficient at home.

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Can Dogs Eat Pineapple?

As dog parents, we want our pups to live happy and healthy lives. It’s common to wonder if dogs can eat some of our favorite healthy snacks, such as pineapple. But some foods may have health benefits for humans but are toxic for dogs, such as grapes and dark chocolate

Pineapples are not on the banned list of dog foods, says Shadi Ireifej, DVM DACVS.

“Fed in moderation, your dog can ingest pineapple,” says Dr. Ireifej, the founder and chief medical officer at VetTriage

Dr. Ireifej shares everything you need to know about letting your dog have a little pineapple.

Are pineapples good for dogs?

Dr. Ireifej says pineapples are low on calories but high in vitamins, antioxidants and minerals, which may have some health benefits for dogs. These include potassium, calcium, zinc and folate. 

“Pineapples have manganese, [which supports] growth and metabolism,” says Dr. Ireifej. 

They may also aid in gastrointestinal and immune system health in part because of the vitamin C they contain. 

Pineapples are also delicious — they’re full of natural sugars. Ireifej suggests opting for fresh or frozen pineapple.

“Avoid canned due to added sugar content or rinse it to remove the added sugar,” he suggests.

Can dogs eat pineapple?
Can dogs eat pineapple? Here’s what you need to know before giving your dog pineapple. Photo: manushot/Getty Images

What are the cons of giving your dog pineapple?

A little pineapple is fine, but Ireifej doesn’t recommend making it part of your pup’s everyday diet. Though the sugars in pineapple are natural, there’s a such thing as too much of a good thing. Ireifej warns feeding a dog too much sugar can lead to obesity, diabetes and dental disease.

“A few chunks that are peeled and sliced into bite-sized pieces are preferred,” Dr. Ireifej suggests.

What side effects should I look out for if my dog eats pineapple?

Sometimes, food just doesn’t agree with your dog. If you notice any of these side effects after giving your dog pineapple, call your vet. You may also try some of these at-home remedies with their approval.

  • Gastroenteritis: If your pup has a stomachache, Dr. Ireifej says you may try giving them broiled chicken and rice for five to 10 days. Increase walks to aid in digestion. Ireifej recommends four to six times per day if you can swing it. Symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting, a noisy gut, gas and general discomfort. Dr. Ireifej also says you might notice your dog eating grass, not eating at all, drinking more water than usual and pacing. He suggests seeing a vet for a formal diagnosis.
  • Constipation: Similar to gastroenteritis, four to six walks per day can help get things moving. Another bit of another table food, canned pumpkin, may also help. The amount of pumpkin you give is size-dependent. Ireifej says there’s no hard and fast rule, but he recommends one tablespoon for smaller dogs, two for medium breeds, three for large and four for extra-large. Consult your vet if you are unsure. And increase water intake. Try making it fun by “allowing the pet to play with and ingest ice cubes,” Ireifej recommends.
  • Dental Disease: Sugar can cause dental disease in dogs, too. Dr. Ireifej recommends enzymatic dental chews and toothbrushing. 

If you think your dog may have diabetes or is obese, consult your vet for interventions. 

If pineapple causes more harm than good, it’s best to avoid it — it’s not a necessary part of a dog’s diet. But if your pup enjoys it and doesn’t experience any adverse side effects, a little can be a tasty (and healthy) treat. 

Read Next: What Vegetables Can Dogs Eat?

The post Can Dogs Eat Pineapple? appeared first on Whole Dog Journal.

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Dogs Used in Toxicity Testing

If passed, the PET Act will make some of those tests illegal in California.
Prevent Extraneous Testing (PET) Act, a.k.a. SB 252 California

It is disturbing to learn that in TheBark.com’s home state of California, approximately 600 dogs—most of them purpose-bred Beagles—are maintained in 10 facilities to serve as subjects for toxicity testing. The Prevent Extraneous Testing (PET) Act, a.k.a. SB 252, a bill now making its way through the California State Legislature, could change that.

In a toxicity test, an animal is exposed a chemical in order to determine if humans could be harmed by that chemical. These tests, which vary in duration, can be excruciatingly painful. Among the toxic effects the animals may suffer: vomiting, diarrhea, convulsions, respiratory distress, appetite or weight loss, rashes, salivation, paralysis, lethargy, bleeding, organ abnormalities, tumors, and even death.

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Meet Colt

smiling dog

Colt is very loving to our family of three very equally. Colt loves to sit with you. Unconditional love, that’s really the best.

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Episode 811 – The New Normal: Distance Learning & Telecommuting

Victoria and Aly talk about how to be more effective when learning and working from home. Social distancing is the thing these days, but how do we keep from going nuts and what are the best practices to stay productive and efficient when working or learning from home. Dealing with the social aspect of isolation. Aly shares some top tips for how to be productive while staying home, including staying engaged and avoiding passivity. The use of rituals of physical, technical and mental preparation in staying efficient at home.

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The Changing Role & Responsibility of Rescues & Shelters

There may have been a time when schools only needed to be charged with teaching students reading, writing and arithmetic. But as society changes schools become responsible for instruction that either used to be provided at home, or represents a new field of study. When I was in high school we had a choice of […]

The post The Changing Role & Responsibility of Rescues & Shelters appeared first on Fearful Dogs.

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Three Secrets to Safe & Effective Exercise for Your Dog

It’s no secret that exercising your dog can lead to a happier and healthier pup – not to mention a quieter house and a happier you. The complication is that exercising your dog takes time and sometimes we struggle to find time to exercise ourselves. However, without safe and effective exercise, your dog can gain weight, risk costly injury, and tear apart the house in response to pent up energy. Consider how you exercise your dog now: perhaps you play tug with your Chihuahua in the living room, jog or play fetch with your active retriever, or ask your senior mixed breed to sit in the kitchen — all of these activities can exercise your dog both physically and mentally. Let’s further explore how you can make the most of your time with your dog while safely and effectively gaining the benefits of exercise.

Here are three secrets to safely and effectively exercising your dog through activities and games that you probably already play.

1. Discuss with your veterinarian

Before beginning any exercise (even training class!), it’s important to get a full health check with your local veterinarian. Let your vet know which activities you are thinking about pursuing, and ask which activities would be most appropriate for your dog’s age, musculoskeletal structure, and preferences. Remember, just like with children, jumping from high places or playing on hard surfaces can be detrimental to joints. Be sure to ask how long the activities should last, how intense they should be, and about any necessary equipment or weather precautions. Just because your dog wants to fetch constantly, doesn’t necessarily mean that this high impact, sustained exercise is healthy. Describe the activity and environment to your vet in detail, and be sure to get clearance before enjoying with your pup.

2. Explore variation

After speaking with your veterinarian about appropriate activities for your dog, plan to vary the types of activities each day. If your veterinarian approved some shorter distance jogs for your pup, perhaps the next day you could spread his food in the backyard as a scavenger hunt. Varying high intensity with low intensity workouts is just as stimulating for your pup, and the variation will keep him engaged. You can also vary exercises within the activity itself. For example, if you frequently throw a ball or disc for your dog until she lies down and pants, consider asking for tricks between different types of throws. By varying distances and body movements you can help your dog regulate her arousal and stay safe.

3. Remember warms up & cool down

Before beginning any activity, it’s important to set up your dog for success. Dogs have the same basic musculoskeletal components as people, and therefore they can sustain similar injuries from rigorous use or clumsy accidents. However, dogs are more athletic compared to humans (even your couch potato probably has a higher VO2max than you!), and they can exert a lot of energy at playtime. It’s important to warm up and cool down your dog’s muscles before use. Consider the type of exercise and what body parts are involved, and plan for a warm up. For example, if you’re about to open the back door for your dog to dash out with his powerful hind legs, take a couple walking laps around the living room first. Ask for a few repetitions of sit and put a treat in front of his nose to lure him in a few circles before opening the door. Much like a short jog, squats, and plyometrics before a sprint, these exercises can help protect your dog’s soft tissue before dashing off. The easiest part is that the same exercises can be performed in reverse for a quick cool down.

Using these three secrets, you can safely and effectively exercise your dog in the same amount of time and help you and your pup enjoy the benefits. Through warms ups/cool downs and varying your dog’s activities you can tire your pup out in no time at all. Talking to your veterinarian about the type, duration, and intensity of activity can also tailor the exercise to your dog and avoid costly injury. 

Many caretakers believe that their dog needs to sprint in order to get tired, when in reality sniffing, training, or a combination can be just as taxing. Check out the table below for more ideas! Challenge yourself this week to change one thing about your dog’s exercise routine, and see if you enjoy a calmer, healthier dog!

 

Activity

Variation

Warm up/cool down

Hide a treat/toy in the house

High/low places, obstacles, multiple rooms

Walk laps, sits, crawls

Sniffy walk

Hide treats, change route

Walk laps, sits

Tug

Side to side, stop/go, 2 tugs

Jog laps, play bow, weight shift

Fetch

Short/long distances, walking breaks, sit/down/spin/beg/back

Jog laps, downs, circles

Jog

Walk/run, canicross, sniff breaks

Sniff, walk laps, sits

 

 

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Appeal Court Rules that “Certification” of a Service Dog Is Not Required by Law

People can self-teach service dogs

In a huge win for people with mental or physical disabilities, on March 30, 2021, a federal appeals court ruled that persons with disabilities can train their own service dogs and do not require formal certification to attest to their service dog’s status. The ruling upheld the goals of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

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Dry-Land Training: An Important Step for Safe Paddling with Your Dog

Preparation makes all the difference in the world when it comes to water-based activities with your dog. Practicing the skills that your dog will need on board your vessel (whether it’s a canoe, kayak, or paddleboard) on dry land can help ensure that your dog will enjoy the experience and comply with your instructions while on the water. 

PHASE ONE:  ENSURE A POSITIVE EMOTIONAL RESPONSE TO THE EQUIPMENT

Introduce the paddle craft and related equipment in a low-distraction environment where your dog is very comfortable, such as your living room or backyard. 

Merely setting up the paddle craft can make loud noises or knock over objects, so do this when your dog is not nearby to avoid creating a negative emotional response to the paddle craft. Place it on the floor or ground in such a way that it won’t wobble and then let your dog investigate it at his own pace. If your dog is cautious about approaching it, you may want to leave it out for a few days to let your dog habituate to it. 

Avoid coaxing or luring a cautious dog near or onto the craft because this might cause the dog to be much closer to the scary thing than he wants to be. It can be helpful to place bits of low-value food around and near the equipment and then let your dog independently choose to approach on his own time. 

When your dog consistently approaches the paddle craft in a relaxed, happy manner, you can start to train her to step onto it. Lure the behavior with a piece of food or free-shape it using a clicker or marker word. Remember to be generous with reinforcements at the early stages of teaching a new skill, and split the behavior into small steps that the dog finds very easy to do, for example, moving toward the craft, touching it, two paws on it, then fully onto the craft. 

It can be helpful to provide your dog mini breaks every minute or two. A short break allows the nervous system to relax a bit and serves as a test to see if your dog wants to continue to train. Your dog might stop and scratch, disengage briefly to sniff around the room, or exhibit other displacement behaviors. If he does this, it could be an indication that it’s time to modify or end that training session. Resume the session only if your dog wants to continue and is under threshold. 

Once your dog happily approaches and steps onto the craft without coaxing or luring, it’s time to try moving the craft slightly. Begin when your dog is off the craft and a distance away, to avoid startling her. Eventually you’ll let her be on the craft while you make it move slightly. 

When conditioning a positive emotional response to the craft, it’s important to give your dog the choice to leave the craft at any time. If your dog doesn’t want to stay on or in it, make things easier for her and spend more time on each small step. It might mean that your training sessions have been too long, so be sure to end the practice before your dog begins to lose interest. 

PHASE TWO:  PRACTICE RELAXATION ON THE CRAFT

If your dog seems more amped up each subsequent training session, adapt the sessions to be less intense. For example, you may want to use lower-value treats, modify your voice and body to convey calm, and incorporate earlier or more frequent breaks. 

It can also help if you pair the equipment with something the dog already feels relaxed about, such as massage or resting beside you while you read or watch a movie. 

PHASE THREE:  TEACH GOOD MANNERS AROUND THE CRAFT

When out on the water, your dog needs to be able to respond well to your verbal instructions, especially Come, Sit/Down (in a preferred place), Stay, Leave It, and On/Off the craft. Training these skills a few feet away from the paddle craft before attempting them while on or in the craft can make the training easier.

It’s imperative to avoid using coercion, corrections, or force while training, because this can create negative associations that could contribute to a fear or dislike of the paddling experience (and the subsequent behavior problems that come along with those negative emotions).

PHASE FOUR:  ADD DISTRACTIONS AND BUILD DURATION

Make sure your dog understands and will still respond to the “sit” cue while wearing a life vest – and while sitting on or in a paddle craft while you are holding a paddle.

The remaining steps for dryland training involve gradually adding distractions and duration to simulate what the dog will experience on the water. Each of these elements should be practiced separately before combining them:

• You in or on the craft in various positions

• You holding a paddle and mimicking paddling

• You moving the paddle craft slightly, then with greater intensity

• Toys placed nearby and then rolled past the craft

• Increased duration of skills and distractions 

After mastering the dryland training at home, take your craft to a park and later to the shoreline. Keep in mind that when you change the environment, your dog might need to start some of the skills back at a beginning level. 

The post Dry-Land Training: An Important Step for Safe Paddling with Your Dog appeared first on Whole Dog Journal.

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