Staying Fit on a Vacation With Your Four-Legged Best Friend

If you’re committed to regular exercise, particularly jogging or walking, you probably keep up that healthy habit even when you’re on vacation. And if you own a dog, chances are he or she is your exercise buddy and goes right along with you. Dogs love to be in our presence, and we truly hate to leave them behind in a kennel, pet hotel, or with a sitter for the entire time we’re on vacation, or even on a short business trip. In fact, writing in Psychology Today, Dr. Marc Bekoff claims that dogs themselves are more highly stressed than we realize, and they definitely feel the effects when we’re being away.   

 

So why not take your four-legged friend on vacation with you? In fact, make your dog part of your vacation plans. And if he’s part of your exercise routine when you’re at home, have him part of your exercise routine when you’re on vacation, too. Not only will the two of you keep up your fitness habits, but your dog will also be less stressed.

 

Here are four ways to have a great — and healthy — vacation with your dog.

 

Plan Early

 

It’s tempting to just pile the family and the dog into the minivan for a spontaneous road trip. However, since you’ll be taking your canine friend with you on your vacation, you need to factor in a dog-friendly destination. Ideally, you should try to avoid long stays at amusement parks because you’ll end up either putting the dog in a pet hotel or other type of facility, which will, of course, add to his stress. So, plan the type of vacation that you and your dog (and, yes, the rest of the family, too) will enjoy, such as a beach, a wooded area with a designated hiking trail, a place to kayak, or just strolling alongside a lake. There are also a number of dog-friendly cities that might be ideal destinations. Many cities have dog parks where your pup can get in his exercise (just make sure you supervise him and keep a close eye on any signs of aggression from other animals). Either way, find a place where you two can keep up your exercise habits together with a daily run or walk.

 

Make Sure the Dog’s Shots and Tags Are Up-to-Date

 

Before you set out, make sure your pet is vaccinated and properly licensed. In addition, if your dog hasn’t been microchipped, have that done immediately, and have a tag made with the dog’s name and your cell phone number on it. In case your dog gets away from you, you’ll want to have every chance of him coming back home safe and sound.

 

Chart a Pet-Friendly Course

 

After you choose a destination, determine where the pet-friendly hotels are along the way. This also means you’ll need to factor in the dog when you’re determining the trip’s budget since many hotels will charge a fee for the dog based on weight and other factors. You’ll also need to pack enough dog food for the entire trip, plus you’ll need to include stops for bathroom and water breaks. It’s also a good idea to make some time for a few extra scenic stops (so you and your friend so you can have a nice run or walk together).

 

Include Some of the Essentials of Home

 

No matter where you end up staying (resort, hotel, or lodge or cabin), make sure your dog has some of his belongings, such as a blanket, some toys, rawhide chews, or anything of his that has the scent of home. This not only gives him things to do when you’re not out having fun together but also gives some comfort for those times when you are out on your own or with your family. You should also invest in a foldable crate for him to stay in so he won’t wander freely around the room and possibly do some damage.

 

It’s not hard for you and your dog to keep up your regular exercise routine together when you’re on vacation. Just plan it well, keep it pet-friendly, and that way you can make some great memories together.

Photo Credit: Pexels

How to Keep Your Canine From Causing Chaos

You know how much you love dogs, especially that little one that lives in your home and fills your heart with laughter and joy. But there’s a less pleasant side that comes with that goodness.

Canines cause trouble, pure and simple. This involves anything from spilling food on the floor to tearing up sofa cushions to doing their business on the carpet, any of which could make you tear your hair out as you yell and scream at the little feller in the hopes that they’ll learn a lesson for a change. However, that’s not the worst of it; sometimes, your dog’s naughtiness puts them in danger, like when they devour a bar of chocolate, which can be deadly.

It’s not their fault, though. They don’t have the same self-control as we humans, and they often don’t even know they’re doing something wrong. As their guardian, it’s up to you to keep them safe and secure. Here’s what you need to know.

Banish Poisonous Plants

Autumn crocus, azalea, and daffodil are just a few on the long list of species that could cause grave harm if your pooch were to take a nibble, according to an article in PetMD. The best bet would be to rid your home of all of them — or at least put them out of the reach.

Hide the Cleaning Products

You wouldn’t leave dangerous and potentially deadly chemicals out in the open where a toddler could get at them and take a swig, and the same should go for your furry friend. Behind closed doors that can’t be easily opened is where your bleach, detergents, and fabric softeners belong — unless you buy the non-toxic, pet-friendly versions.

Beware of Certain Foods

There’s a lot more than just chocolate that could give your four-legged friend a sore tummy — or worse. Anything containing caffeine or alcohol is a strict “no,” along with onions, garlic, and chives. Make sure to store these items and others up high or in a pantry to avoid mishaps, and throw out anything moldy, as that can be highly toxic, too.

Pet-Proof Everywhere

Hiding dangerous foods and chemicals from prying paws is just part of it. There are some rooms, particularly ones with lots of cables or cords, that should be off limits. Remember to close doors behind you whenever you enter or exit, or use baby gates to keep them from walking up or down the stairs. And don’t leave dirty laundry lying around on the floor.

Get an Electronic Feeder

A hungry dog is an angry dog that’s likely to take their wrath out on your interior. These devices dispense a small meal at specified hours of the day so you don’t have to think about it. You’ll no longer worry whether you left food in the bowl while you’re at work or out running errands.

Schedule Your Playtime

Dogs have a lot of energy, and they need to get it out or they’ll throw a fit. Lamps get knocked over, vases get shattered — it’s ugly. Tire your dog out with a spirited game of fetch, and build that into your daily routine so you don’t forget to spend quality time together.

Find a Dog Park Nearby

Visit a dog park so your pooch can socialize — with other dogs, that is. It’s more important than you think, says a writer with PetHelpful. Not only does it boost their self-esteem, but it also helps your pooch develop their communication skills, as they interact with members of their own species. Their rougher style of play will also make them calmer at home.

Make Regular Visits to the Vet

Once a year is the general rule of thumb, though that may change based on age and health condition of your dog. Dogs should get a checkup once a month until they’re four months old, while senior woofers need frequent expert checkups as well.

Now your pooch will be safe when you’re not home, and that gives you one less thing to worry about. Having a dog should be about enjoying the good times, not worrying about the bad.

A Guide For First-Time Pet Owners

selective focus photography of black, white, and brown cat lying on wooden table

Photo credit by Unsplash

Owning a new pet is a big responsibility. If you’ve decided to take the plunge, here is what you need to welcome your new pet to the family.

 

Selecting The Right Pet

Your first step is choosing a pet that’s a good fit for your home, your family, and your time. Avoiding impulse buys is an important piece of advice from 2nd Chance. Here is how to determine which pet and/or breed is right for you.

Why Do You Want A Pet?

This is the first question to ask. Do you want a constant companion or some interesting entertainment? Would you prefer a bit of wildlife or an animal that can provide unconditional love? You must also consider personality: are you active or sedentary? All pets have different personalities, too. Learn more from Deliberate Magazine.

Many people opt for companion pets. These are not trained like service animals. (Read what sets the two apart in this article from The Independence Center.) Companion pets can be beneficial to people with various emotional support needs, like those who have been diagnosed with depression or anxiety, or people in substance abuse recovery. Petting a dog, for example, can reduce stress and calm the spirit. They can also provide love, support, and a sense of responsibility.

What Is Your Commitment?

Large pets, such as cats and dogs, require a larger time commitment than hamsters and fish. Keep in mind that dogs almost always will need some training in a new family. Do you travel a lot or work very long hours?  Will you be the primary person responsible for this pet? If you’re a parent, learn how to choose the right dog for your child from Cesar’s Way.

Allergies

Make sure that you and anyone you live with are not allergic to the pet you are considering. If you’re unsure, you can always get tested.

Home Size And Budget

How much square footage is required for this pet or breed? Will your pet need a yard? Do you have a safe and sturdy place for a habitat or fish tank? If you are getting a cat or a dog, decide which areas or rooms are off-limits beforehand so you can block them off.

When You’re Away

Determine who will care for your pet when you’re away. Is there someone who can come in to feed them? Remember that if you have a pet that eats bugs or mice, make sure that person is not squeamish! For larger pets, will you use a kennel or do you have a reliable friend who can watch him?

Here are even more questions to ask yourself from Monterey County SPCA.

 

Preparing Your Home

Before bringing any pet home, complete these tasks:

  • Make sure your home is safe. This can mean anything from putting up a fence to checking areas for broken glass or toxic chemicals.
  • Instruct your family or housemates on how to treat your new pet and what not to do to prevent mishaps. Vetstreet.com recommends bringing home your pet when you have a few days off (like a weekend) so you have time to bond with him.
  • When you bring home your pet, help him to acclimate by having food, toys, bedding, and all his needed items on hand in advance. When you’re choosing your pet supplies, be discerning, especially when it comes to food. What you feed your pet has a major impact on his or her overall, long-term health. Research online before you buy, check ingredients lists for organic fruits and veggies, and consider any allergies your pet may have.
  • For those choosing a rescue pet, keep in mind he may have fears he can’t express and could be skittish. Take your time introducing him to your home, and be calm around him. Woof.com has advice on how to handle this situation.

Bringing home a new pet is exciting, but make sure you choose the right pet for you and your home. Take the time to prep your home, acclimate your pet, and bond with him to create a wonderful experience.