Thursdays with Mille: Spring Health & Fitness Tips For Your Dog
Spring is finally here! I don't know about you, but it's nice to not be up to my tail in snow. To celebrate the start of warmer weather, I wanted to share some health and fitness tips for spring, courtesy of our veterinary advisor, Dr. Albert Ahn.
Get up to date on vaccinations and preventative medication.
You and your pup will likely be spending more time outside as the weather gets warmer. As temperatures rise above 70 degrees, fleas, ticks and mosquitos become more active. With that, there is an increased chance that your dog will come in contact with wild critters. Make sure that your dog is getting their monthly flea and tick medicine along with heartworm medication. Fleas, ticks and mosquitos can cause more than just a bite mark on your dog. Without proper prevention, they put your dog at risk for Lyme Disease, heartworm and tapeworm. Make sure you speak to your vet about the best solutions for your dog.
Supplements for mobility
There is a good chance your dog has not been as active in the winter months as they are during warmer seasons. This, especially with older dogs, can lead to joint stiffness and muscle loss resulting in decreased mobility and vitality. Supplements with glucosamine and collagen have been show to improve joint issues while a supplement like MYOS Canine Muscle Formula can help reduce muscle loss, increase muscle mass and improve overall muscle health. An overall increase in mobility and vitality can make all of difference for making your dog’s warm weather activities more enjoyable.
Explore your community
Dogs are social, active creatures who can get bored just like us humans. Now that it is warm enough to spend some extended time outside, take Fido on an adventure. Consider straying from the usual walk route and explore new parts of your community. Try a local park or nature trail where dogs are allowed. This is a great way to break the monotony of your everyday dog walk and provide both you and your dog with exercise after a long cold winter. Always be sure to keep your dog on a leash unless you are in a designated area, such as a dog park where dogs can roam free.
If you are out and about with your four legged friend, be aware of the temperatures can affect them. On a hot day, dogs can experience heat exhaustion or even heat stroke, especially if they are highly active. If you bring your dog with you to run errands, make sure you leave the car running with the air conditioning on. A dog in a hot car can begin to experience overheating in just a couple of minutes. Signs of overheating would be heavy panting, hyperventilating or dry gums along with excessive panting and rapid pulse. If you are concerned that your dog is experiencing these symptoms, you should try to cool their body temperature by placing wet towels over his neck, between his armpits and over his hind legs. Give him fresh drinking water, but do not force him to drink it. Last, but not least be sure to contact your vet for further evaluation if your dog.
Know your plants
It is not uncommon for dogs to eat grass and plants. As new foliage blooms be conscious of the fact that certain plants and flowers can be toxic for dogs. As an example, lilies are beautiful flowers that will make any garden look amazing, but they can also be toxic for pets. I recommend before planting anything new this season to make sure that they are pet friendly.
Spring is a great time to bond with your pet over new activities and exploring new places. It’s also a great time to make sure that they are current with any recommendations that your veterinarian may have. Taking some precautionary steps and exploring new ways to keep your dog active, happy and healthy.