Get Your Pet’s Beach Bodies Ready… Safely
By Dr. Lindsay Lane, Veterinarian
No one wants your pet to be their healthiest more than your Veterinarian. But we also want you to be aware of some of the safest ways to achieve your pet’s best! Each and every one of us is different and believe it or not every dog and every cat are different too! As such there are things to consider before taking your pup for a jog or tossing some cat toys around to get your feline friend moving!
Now that the weather is warming up, everyone tends to get into the mindset of a healthier version of themselves – and why not pass along that desire to your furry friends. So here are some “Do’s and Don’ts” to keep in mind while you set up your – and your pet’s – exercise plans.
Enjoy a stroll or jog with your pet, or even better yet, SWIM!! Easy walks around your neighborhood are great for some of our senior pets and even cats to get out in a controlled and safe setting to get moving. Early morning or evening times are a great time of day to enjoy. Jogging can be a great cardio workout for you and your dog with an appropriate warm up and cool down session, and swimming is an excellent exercise for any who enjoy the water! (Just don’t ask the cat to tag along please!)
Don’t take your pet on a long walk or jog in the hottest part of the day. You know those color codes the weather channel puts out for people depending on how hot or humid it is? Yeah, those are important for our pets too, whose body temperatures on average run about 1-4 degrees higher than humans at rest! Be cautious of your pet’s overall health condition; pets with heart disease shouldn’t go on that jog or hike or chase a ball in the yard for 30 minutes. Brachycephalic breeds (pugs, bulldogs, bostons, etc.) should never be out active in the heat of the day, as they take even longer to appropriately aerate and cool their bodies.
Allow plenty of shade and water especially if you plan to be out with your pet being active and give them periods of rest! Instead of treats as rewards while you are out, you can substitute small ice cubes. For those walks/jogs, keep your pet safe on a leash or long lead; even the best trained dog can be lured away and not all dogs are friendly to go running up to! Be respectful of others who are also out enjoying the summer sun.
Allow your pet to stand for extended periods of time on hot asphalt. Those paw pads aren’t made of rubber and can burn just as easily as skin! If you think your pet is overheating or too hot, don’t give them ice-cold water to gulp down. Cooler/tepid water is best in smaller quantities. NEVER cool your overheating dog down with freezing or ice cold water if they are in a crisis! Get them to your Veterinarian ASAP.
Talk to your Veterinarian about an appropriate diet or calorie amount that is suitable for your individual pet and their activity level and health/growth status. There are many things to consider when picking out an appropriate diet and there are so many opinions on the subject; ask your Veterinarian about the facts on nutrition!
Don’t feed your pet based on a commercial/internet/pet store claim that it “worked for their dog or cat”, as you may have a completely different situation! Only you and your Veterinarian can figure out together what is best for your pet based on their individual needs and your preferences.
Finally, enjoy your pet and the fun things you can do together especially if it keeps them healthy. Just keep in mind some of these tips as we venture into the lovely hot and humid days to come, and don’t forget your monthly flea, tick and heartworm preventatives to keep those nasty bugs away! The Doctors and Staff at Rocky Gorge are always here to lend you a helping hand or advice 24/7.