10 things you can do to make life better for you and your dog
1. Keep them safe in the cold
We all know how silly they can be and many of them LOVE the snow but they can get frostbite very quickly.
Even hearty northern breeds can suffer frostbite in the extremities (nose, ears and tails) if out too long.
Coats and boots help, but we also wear those. Easy rule or thumb, if you’re cold so are they.
2. Protect them from salt
Yup, this is a real picture taken in 2016 when there was “a chance of snow”.
It’s a pain in the ass but outfit your dog with boots or those balloon shoes. A protective paw balm can help if the salt is sparse, but in this case change course and alert the City.
Read all the ice melter ingredients, just ‘cos it says pet friendly doesn’t mean it’s not toxic. Dogs will lick their paws and ingest the chemicals. Eco Traction is a good choice, as is no clumping kitty litter.
3. Use their mind to tire them, not just their body
It’s super easy to assume that the more exercise a dog gets the more tired it will be, but some activities can be very detrimental to your dog’s health.
“When we make our dogs chase a ball each day, fight or flight hormones (adrenalin and cortisol) are released into their bodies as a means of boosting muscle power to assist with the catching of prey. The body does not distinguish between a simulated experience and a natural one. With prey felled and eaten, a dog would typically sleep for a number of hours so as to allow the elevated hormone levels to diminish.” – Helen Moore of Wholesome Canine (read the full article here)
“Sniffy walks” are a great way to exercise your dog’s brain, trust me, it WILL tire them out.
4. You wouldn’t do that with someone’s kid …
You wouldn’t hand out candy in a playground so why is OK to do so in a dog park?
I know it’s hard to ignore those big pleading eyes but really, you don’t need to give a treat to every dog that comes to you. They may have allergies, be on a specific diet or on meds that can be affected by certain foods.
It really messes up their training if their guardian is trying to keep them close by. If you attract enough mouths vying for a treat at once, more often than not someone’s gonna get hurt.
Also, if you’re dangling a cookie over a dog’s head while you ask the owner if they can have a treat think about how much you are tormenting that dog. Best to keep your goodies for your own dog.
5. Respect people’s choices
Would you approach a pregnant woman and say, “Oh dear, I see you’ve already started breeding. Next time please consider adoption, there are so many children in need of homes.” ?
Probably not, so when someone posts on social media looking for a reputable breeder, don’t get all judgy. If you know one, share. If not, scroll on.
6. Use common sense before declaring an emergency
Yes, there are times when dogs need your intervention but use common sense before sending out the Bat Signal.
Before you react, snap and post, make sure the dog is not in immediate danger. Is the owner grabbing a coffee or are they passed out in a bar? What are the weather conditions? Are they at risk of stepping onto the road? Are they clearly in distrses?
Try to communicate your concerns to the owner before you call in the cavalry.
Be prepared to get an earful back though ‘cos that’s what usually happens.
7. Pay attention at the dog park
^ refer to above picture ^
8. Leash your dog when you’re not in an off leash area
I’m sure your dog is super obedient, never leaves your side and is the friendliest dog ever but why chance it?Anything can distract them and then what? Plus it’s illegal and unfair to those that appreciate not having a dog run up to them. Respect the rules and no one gets hurt.
9. Spend quality time together
This might seem obvious but sometimes just sitting quietly with your dog and enjoying your surroundings can be just the thing to bring you two together. If you can calm your mind it’s a great stress reliever.
10. Do some training
There’s always something that needs working on. Most dogs love to learn and please their people so this is a great exercise to sharpen their minds, and its something you can do together. There are so many classes, courses and activities out there. Have a look around and make it “date night”. You’ll learn something new too.
Happy New Year!
2018, The Year of the Dog
Find your Chinese astrology predictions here