Outdoor Fun With Your Pooch!

Fun activities you can enjoy with your dog on your next family picnic.

Now that the warm weather has arrived, everyone loves to spend more time outdoors, including your dog! When planning family picnics and outings, make sure you include activities that your dog will enjoy too. But, before you hop in the car and head off to your Local Park or favorite picnic spot, remember to outfit your dog with a collar and ID tag that includes your name, address and telephone number. No matter how careful you are, there's always a chance your companion may become lost or separated from you—an ID tag greatly increases the chance that your pet will be returned safely.  Also, make sure that your pet is not allowed to roam unattended, even with a valid license, rabies tag and ID tag.

While packing up the picnic basket with all your delicious goodies and cool drinks, don’t forget to take foods that your dog can eat, as well as a water dish you can keep filled with cool, fresh water. You know how hot you get chasing Frisbees or playing ball, so don’t forget your dog is wearing a fur coat and will need the same things to keep him cool and comfortable. It’s also a good idea to choose a shady spot for his water dish and for him to rest between games.

Most dogs love to pay catch, whether it’s a ball, or a Frisbee or some silly toy. It’s a good way to get exercise for you as well. Make sure whatever toy you choose for “catch” has no sharp edges or cracks in it, to reduce of risk of cuts or injuries to your dog’s mouth. You will also want to make sure that the item is not too hard, or too heavy, as it could damage an eye or your pet’s head if he misses when trying to catch the toy. Most pet stores, and some retails stores and grocery stores carry a variety of suitable and safe toys for you to toss to your dog.

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Many people like to picnic near lakes and along seashores or rivers, which makes swimming a great activities for both you and your pet. Unlike a pool with all its chlorine and chemicals, a freshwater lake may not be as clean, but the water won’t irritate your pet’s skin. However, the lake’s bottom may damage the pads of his feet if it contains a lot of rocks or tree roots. It’s a good idea to check your dog’s feet before he goes into the water, and each time after he comes out, to make sure he hasn’t sustained any new cuts or gotten any debris caught in the pads of his paws.
Picnics in warm weather are wonderful ways for families to spend time together, but it can get hot, especially when chasing a Frisbee or running around in the park, so an excellent way to cool off and add a little more fun to your outing is to bring a kiddie pool along. Splashing around in the water or having your dog chase a ball in the water will cool him off.

One game dog owners enjoy is “tug-o-war”, however this is not a good game, primarily because it can damage the dog’s teeth, but also because it may increase your pet’s aggressive behavior. Instead, try setting up an obstacle course using coolers, backpacks and other picnic items and lead your dog through the course by enticing him with one of his treats or his favorite ball. This is great exercise for both of you without overexerting yourselves in the heat, plus you will find your dog gets better the more you play! What a great way to bond with your furry friend.

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