January means a time of resolutions and BlogPaws is resolving to help you, pet bloggers and microbloggers and all pet parents, get fit with your pets!
Each month, BlogPaws hosts a theme and we build many of our posts and chats around that particular theme. We’re kicking off 2014 with a dedicated bang. As a part of Get Fit With Your Pet Month, there are things you can do, no matter the age or species of your pet to “get fit.” Getting fit means a lot of things: From physical to mental and the entire emotional gamut.
Resolve to do something every day with your pet to help them get “fit” and include yourself in those goals and resolutions, too. If you need a jump start, you’ve come to the right place.
Here are seven things you can do with your pet to get fit and start the year off on a fresh and positive note:
Start the process by getting rid of anything stale or leftover that both you and your pet no longer need. Stale food should be avoided, as bacteria can quickly infiltrate improperly stored dog food. Double-check that all containers are airtight and sealed properly. Dispose of any expired canned foods.
The same holds true for a pet’s bowls. Inspect pet bowls to ensure they are clean and sturdy. Germs and bacteria can easily transfer themselves from bowl to mouth in the swoop of a tongue.
Breathe in, breathe out, repeat. Canine CPR and first aid classes are available throughout the country, both in person and online. Check with a local chapter of the American Red Cross for more information or do a simple Internet search for canine first aid classes. Knowing what to do if a dog is choking, in shock or is injured can mean the difference between life and death, as precious seconds count. Classes often feature canine replica models to learn CPR and the Heimlich maneuver.
You can also engage in the petMD University and get skilled in a variety of pet health topics.
I’ve heard pet parents say, “I can’t play with my dog any longer, he has arthritis” or “I want to play with my cat, but he’s old and can’t last long.” My advice? Make do with what you have! Ease a dog into swimming, do slow walks around the neighborhood, join a dog lovers group where fellow seniors can mingle. Whatever the case, growing old is a mindset. Yes, we should always take precautions when a dog is older but never should we simply “give up” or “stop playing.” Modify the methods but keep the dog moving in some way, shape, or do-able form. A bored dog will get used to a boring lifestyle, after all.
If you have a cat, modify exercises to those the cat can and will do: Mental stimulation is important, as well.
Indoor Activity During Cold Winter Months
Who says an old dog can’t learn new tricks? Hide-and-seek is a perfect year-round game for dogs (and other pets) of all ages. Not only does this game work perfectly on rainy and snowy days, but it heightens a dog’s sense of smell in a fun and rewarding manner. This game requires two people initially. One person stays with the dog in a room while the other hides. When ready to be sought, the “hidee” lets out a sound to initiate the game. As your pooch scours room to room, occasionally let out a verbal signal. Once found, praise him like he just won an Olympic medal and reward with a treat. Repeat. One caveat: be sure to remove any glass or breakables out of the way: this game stirs up a dog’s inner puppy!
Keep the Mind Wheels Turning
If you have a group of friends and do a meetup with dogs, here’s a fun mentally stimulating game. Have each dog line up for some slight of hand and treat. Place a treat into one closed fist, keeping the other fist empty. Ask each dog, “Which hand?” When your dog touches its nose to the fist that contains the treat, reveal the treat and reward your dog. For a competitive spin, time each dog. The quickest canine is dubbed the winner.
The Olympics are coming, so get your pets involved. Dogs can get cabin fever, too, especially if the weather outside is frightful and he or she is stuck inside. All dogs need some form of exercise, whether to lose weight or to maintain a healthy level of fitness. The same holds true for all pets.
Something I have done with my dog while the weather outside if frightful is a fun game of tug of war. Be careful not to lift the dog’s head back when playing tug of war, as this can injure a neck.
The belly crawl is a fun indoor game as well. Rover does a commando crawl for about 10 feet in pursuit of a snack. This exercise engages the mind but it also good for the butt, core muscles, and shoulders. Be sure to practice at home first. Let your pooch or pet be an Olympic athlete in his or her own right.
Though dogs are more sedentary in winter months, gaining weight as a form of insulation is not always advised. Indoor dogs who participate in strenuous activities or winter sports may require additional food in colder months. A recent study from the Association for Pet Obesity revealed that 53 percent of cats and 55 percent of dogs are overweight or obese in the United States. Keep a pet’s heart, organs, and joints healthy and keep an eye on their weight year round.
What are you doing to keep your pet fit this month? Let us know in the comments below.