Dog Exercise: Common Questions Answered by Our Trusted Veterinarian

Answers to commonly asked questions regarding dog exercise and enrichment, provided by Dr. Sharon Davis, DVM

dog running trail

 

1. How often should I walk my dog?

dog leash in mouth, ready for walk

This depends on your dog. The breed of your dog, age, weather outside, and any underlying medical conditions affect the amount of exercise your dog should receive. Your veterinarian will be able to guide you to make sure your dog gets the proper amount.

 

2. How does a dog benefit from going on walks?

dog exercise walk

Dogs like people require mental and physical stimulation to live the fullest happiest life possible. Dogs who going on walks increase their physical health as well as their mental health. Exploring new areas and new smells stimulates the mind. Getting the heart pumping and blood flowing stimulates the body to function better and longer. You, the pet parent, also receive these added benefits as well. Also dogs who get mental and physical exercise tend to be less destructive and anxious in the home.

 

3. I have a yard, can I just let my dog go into he back yard rather then go on a walk?

dog exercise, walk

Even a yard that is fenced in is not 100% safe. Unwanted wild life can get into the yard causing harm to your pet. Your pet may also eat something without your knowledge. Though a yard is great, it is always a good idea to supervise your pet. Plus going on a walk together increases your bond with your pet.

 

4. Is it important for dogs to run off leash? Why or why not?

dog exercise, trail

This depends on your dog, its breed, age, and any underlying health conditions. There are certain breeds at certain ages that require more exercise than a human can keep up with on a leash. It is however always important to make sure that your dog is well trained to follow off leash commands and it is done in a safe environment following all local laws.

 

5. Is it important for dogs to play with other dogs?

dogs playing with toy

Dogs are pack animals and enjoy the company of other dogs. It is an important part of their socialization skills. Dogs who play together should be closely supervised, up to date on their vaccinations, and temperament compatible.

 

6. Does playing with other dogs eliminate unwanted behavior at home?

dog resting bed after exercise

Physical activity tires the body and the mind. It can prevent unwanted behavior that results from boredom. It is also an important way that dogs learn to socialize and understand social cues from other dogs.

 

7. My dog has not been in daycare or has been out of daycare for a few months. How do I ease the transition for him to go back to daycare?

Best Friends Pet Hotel Doggy Day Camp dogs
Doggy Day Camp friends at Best Friends Pet Hotel

This is where bringing your dog to a day care facility that has trained staff and you trust is very important. If your dog has never been to a daycare before the staff should do a temperament test on your dog to ensure he is put into a play circle that will work. It is also important that they gradually introduce your dog to one dog at a time. It can be overwhelming for a dog to be introduced to a pack of unknown dogs running at him. If your dog has just been out of daycare for a few months, the transition back should still be gradual but it will be much easier and quicker.

 

Doggy Day Camp at Best Friends Pet Hotel
To learn more about Doggy Day Camp at your local Best Friends Pet Hotel or to book a reservation, visit our Doggy Day Camp page. Or call your local center.

Puppy 101: A Quick-Start Guide to Caring for Your New Puppy

new puppy

Bringing home a new puppy is an exciting, but sometimes overwhelming experience. Whether this is your first puppy or it’s been a while since you’ve had a pup, we’d like to help by answering the most common questions and offering tips to ensure you give your new pet the best care possible.

 

What do I feed my puppy?

puppy food

There are many choices out there in dog food, so it can be tough to feel confident you’ve found the right food to nourish your puppy. For starters, it’s important that you feed a high-quality food that is specially formulated for growing puppies. This food will have higher protein and fat levels, added DHA and EPA, and other vitamins and nutrients (such as calcium), all perfectly balanced to provide proper nutrition during growth.

Puppies’ nutritional needs change quickly as they grow, so be sure to revisit the amount you’re feeding frequently to make sure your pup is getting the proper amount for their growth stage. If you have a large breed puppy, like a lab or a golden retriever, you’ll want to avoid overfeeding, as this can cause issues with bone development as your pup grows.

Your puppy’s food will be complete and balanced, providing all the nutrients he or she needs in the correct proportions. While it might be tempting, you should avoid switching between foods or feeding table scraps because these can lead to a very picky eater in the future! Plus, some people foods can cause stomach upset and some can even be toxic. If you do give your puppy a little something on the side, we recommend these treats and other foods make up less than 10% of a pet’s daily food intake. And If you must switch your puppy’s food, be sure to gradually change the foods over two weeks to avoid an upset stomach.

 

When should I transition from a puppy formula to an adult food?

puppy

Our recommendation is that your pup should stay on puppy food until they are full grown, but know that “full grown” varies significantly depending on the breed. Many are done growing and can change to adult food by a year old, but some large breed puppies, such as Great Danes, will continue to grow for up to two years!

 

How do I set my puppy up for potty training success?

puppy potty training

Potty training is a much happier adventure for all involved when you make the experience positive by encouraging your pup when it succeeds rather than scolding when it has accidents. Puppies are still developing the muscles they need to hold their urine for the first 12 weeks, so you’ll need to take them out frequently and praise them when they go outside. Eating usually stimulates movement through their system, so you should take them out within 20 minutes after mealtime. It’s also a good idea to take your puppy out after sleeping, drinking, and playing. And always try to give a verbal cue such as “go potty” that the puppy can catch on to, along with plenty of praise as soon as they have gone.

Always keep your puppy in your sight while potty training to foster success. This is easier said than done, we know. So if you find that your puppy has had an accident and urinated or pooped inside, do not punish them after the fact. The puppy will only understand why you are upset if you actually catch him or her in the act. If you do catch your puppy going in the house, immediately interrupt the behavior with a verbal “no,” and take him or her quickly outdoors to finish. Be sure to offer plenty of praise when he or she goes outside.

Any time you’re not able to supervise your puppy, he or she should be kept in a crate. Puppies become comfortable and consider the crate their safe place to rest. They are also less likely to go to the bathroom in their crate as long as it’s not too big. For optimal success, you should allow your puppy to go to the bathroom before putting him or her in and as soon as they come out of the crate. Short periods of time in the crate will help your puppy learn to hold off until an appropriate potty time is offered. Another benefit of crating your puppy is that it prevents them from chewing on or eating things in the house while you’re not looking.

Remember that puppies often make mistakes during potty training, so do your best to keep up the positivity! If training seems to be really off course, it’s always good to check with your vet to rule out medical causes for the challenges. A professional trainer can also help smooth out the process if issues persist.

 

What can I expect from visits to the vet?

puppy vet clinic

You should schedule a vet visit as soon as possible after getting a new puppy and do whatever you can to make every vet visit as low-stress as possible. Be sure to give plenty of praise (and treats!) to make each visit a positive experience. This will help your puppy see the vet as a normal outing rather than an unpleasant experience as they grow older.

The vet will give your puppy a physical exam to look for any problems he or she may have been born with (such as hernias, luxating patellas, soft spots on their head, heart murmurs, etc.) or any other medical issues. In addition, your vet will deworm your puppy and get you started on a proper vaccination schedule. You’ll also want to talk about having your puppy spayed or neutered at the appropriate age.

Vaccinations are a proactive way to protect and support your puppy’s immune system from exposure to new diseases. Your veterinarian will create a plan for your puppy based on your unique lifestyle and routines, but they usually start vaccines around 6  to 8 weeks of age and booster them every 2 to 3 weeks until they’re 16 weeks old. It’s important to follow your vet’s plan as getting all recommended boosters in with the correct intervals will ensure your puppy is fully protected. Some vaccines are considered core vaccines (rabies, distemper combo vaccine) and are given to almost all puppies. There are other non-core vaccines (bordetella, lyme, lepto, influenza) that are given based on an individual puppy’s chance of future exposure. This often depends on where you live and what your puppy will be in contact with, both in the environment and from other dogs. For example, does your puppy spend almost all of their time inside or do they go to dog parks or a groomer? Will you take them for a hike in the woods every weekend? Your vet will also likely start your puppy on a heartworm preventative and possibly a flea and tick preventative regimen.

Because they are so little, puppies can get sick quickly. Watch for any diarrhea, vomiting, weakness, lethargy, sneezing, coughing, discharge from the eyes or nose, fever, decreased appetite, limping, or general changes in health or behavior. Contact your vet right away if you notice any of these.
Always remember that your vet is your ally, and you both want the best for your puppy. If you have questions about something or if you miss a vaccine booster or dose of preventative medication, be sure to check in with your vet. They will be happy to get you back on track.

 

Time for training!

puppies playing

It’s important to socialize puppies with people and dogs, but be careful about who you introduce your puppy to until they’ve gotten all of their puppy vaccines at 16 weeks. Until then, it’s best to keep your puppy in a fenced-in yard and only let them interact with fully-vaccinated dogs. You’ll want to avoid places where other dogs frequent (such as dog parks and pet stores), and carry them in and out of vet clinics to help reduce their exposure to diseases.

Puppy classes are strongly encouraged for training and socialization, and reputable classes will require that all puppies be up-to-date on vaccines. These classes are great for both you and your puppy, and they will foster a positive long-term relationship by teaching you how to communicate and interact with each other.

Your puppy will lose its baby teeth and get adult teeth throughout its first eight months. Chewing and biting is a normal play behavior between puppies, and it provides relief to pesky teething pain. You can teach your puppy that biting you is inappropriate using a high-pitched sound to mimic the noises puppies use with each other when playtime gets too rough. Immediately give your puppy a toy to play with and praise them for playing with the toy.

 

Brushing up on grooming tips

puppy grooming

Now is the perfect time to get your puppy comfortable with things they will encounter in the future, such as vet visits, nail trims, ear cleaning, and brushing their coat and teeth, so they will not be afraid of these things as an adult dog. Trimming nails can be done at home, but ask your vet to show you how.  Cutting them too short can cause a bit of pain and bleeding, and it might make them wary of nail trims in the future. It’s also great to get your puppy used to daily tooth brushing. Dental disease can be detrimental to the body later in life, so keeping the teeth clean is a great way to keep them healthy. You can use a regular toothbrush or a finger brush, but be sure to use toothpaste specially made for dogs because human toothpaste is toxic to pets.

Puppies can be messy, but we only recommend giving a full bath every two weeks if possible. More frequent baths can dry out the skin. Between baths, you can spot wash your puppy as needed. It’s important to use a shampoo that’s made for dogs because the pH of their skin is different than that of people, so our soaps and shampoos can dry out or irritate their skin.

 

Anything else I should know? I’m a bit overwhelmed!

puppy beagle

Exercise, plenty of toys, and playing are important to keep your puppy’s mind stimulated. Gradually introduce exercise (but don’t overdo it) and keep a close eye on your puppy when it’s playing with toys. Remove any strings or small parts that can come off the toy, as they can cause choking or blockages in the intestines if swallowed. Always supervise your puppy if he or she is playing with plush toys. Their sharp little teeth can cut through and get the stuffing and squeakers out easily, and these can be hazardous when swallowed.

Most important of all, enjoy your puppy! Take lots of pictures to look back on later. They don’t stay small for long, and there’s nothing better than puppy kisses to brighten any day.

 

Best Friends Pet Hotel – Puppy Wellness Resources:

Puppy Play Group

Give your puppy a strong foundation for life! At our Puppy Play Group sessions, your puppy gets to play in a supervised pack environment that teaches them proper socialization, manners and play skills to prepare them for adulthood.

Click here to learn more about Puppy Play Group and to book a reservation.

 

Puppy Nutrition

We are proud to have partnered with Freely® – our Exclusive Nutrition Partner – to offer pet food recipes (for puppies and beyond) that are made with limited, purposeful ingredients.

Click here to learn more about Freely.

 

Puppy Grooming

Whether you need a quick shampoo or “the works, our expert groomers will make your furry friend fabulous. Each appointment includes a free consultation to discuss your pup’s personal grooming needs. Bonus: First time puppies receive a discounted bath for only $10 and a discounted bath and haircut for only $20!

Click here to learn more about grooming and to book a reservation.

 

Vet Clinics

In conjunction with Vetco, we offer vaccination and wellness services, monthly, in almost all of our convenient locations.

Click here to learn more about our vet care, see our upcoming clinic dates and locations, and to make a reservation.

 

 

Blog Post Source: https://freelypet.com/blogs/nutrition-articles/puppy-101-a-quick-start-guide-to-caring-for-your-new-canine-companion

 

 

Doggy Day Camp: Ready For A New Adventure For Your Dog?

By Christine A. Bournias

happy do our car window road

​Is Your Dog Ready For A New Adventure? Perhaps It’s Camp Time!​

So, you and your dog have been cooped up in the house. If you think you’re restless, can you imagine how your dog feels?

dog in hammock

As the weather turns nice outside, it just might be time for you and your dogs to venture out of your normal routine. Maybe you’re ready for an adventure — something new in your pet’s busy schedule?

Doggy Day Camp Provides A Favorable Outlet For Dogs

Current dog camp regulars may need to be reacquainted to their normal routine. And, dog owners that have never tried a ​Doggy Day Camp ​might find today an ideal time to try one out.

Whether your dog functions best with individual playtimes, or if they thrive in a canine group setting, Doggy Day Camp allows your dog the opportunity to be their own dog.

dogs running and playing outside

7 Doggy Day Camp Tips

1. Take Medical Responsibility

Keep current with your pet’s vaccinations before entering any populated dog park or canine group setting. Before you venture out into a new place with your dog — regardless if it’s Doggy Day Camp or a beach just for dogs — it’s your duty as a pet owner to make sure that your dog is up-to-date on their vaccinations.

dog vaccinations veterinarian

Whether your dog is a young pup, or an aging senior, you owe it to your furry friend(s) to take special care of their medical needs. For your health and well-being of your pet, ​regular medical check-ups, conducted by your Veterinarian or trustworthy veterinary clinic, are a critical part of responsible pet ownership.

Be sure to consult with a ​trusted Veterinarian for medical care that’s appropriate for your pet.

2. Ask Questions, Consult With A Pet Expert

It’s beneficial to explore all of your boarding and daycare options.

Your dog may be the life of the party while other dogs may not. They may need more space from other people or dogs during playtime. Your dog may be a curious puppy transitioning into society or they might be an older dog that has little tolerance of rambunctious dogs.

In a Camp setting with other dog guests, they may even become possessive of a furry family member from the same household. ​Resource guarding ​can be minimized and/or avoided within an ideal environment and with properly trained staff.

“Once I allowed my dog to have a few days away from the house, Butch was calm and content with the whole family when he returned home.” ​—Tom D.

Within a different pack at Camp, dogs have a language all their own. Proper introduction and socialization into this new world is required for a well-adjusted pet at Doggy Day Camp—and at home as well.

Determine If 1:1 Care Is Right For You

Your dog may be different. That’s okay. Every pet is extraordinary and they should be cared for
as such. They may excel with individual care instead of within a large group setting.

dog peeking through heart cutout in fence

Dogs that need extra attention—or owners who prefer to have their pets play as a family—may find that a crowded play area is not right for them. Find a Pet Hotel that caters to your individual dog’s needs. True pet professionals are trained for safety and thrive on creating a happy, healthy experience for your pet.

You owe it to your furry friend to ​ask questions and explore the best route to take. Ask for a Pet Hotel interview at various times of the day, slow days—and at peak hours. If you know your pet well enough, you’ll immediately know if this is the place for your pet.

Many accommodating places are known to board cats and Pocket Pets, offering you the opportunity to design your pet’s own stay. Rest assured, whether you’re the proud owner of a pug, parrot, or pocket pig, there are essential professionals that can help you care for them. These pet professionals know how to think in terms of pet behavior and will help you find ​the ideal play and/or stay environment for your dog.

dogs puppies playing with ball in grass

3. Get An Assessment First

Look for the best environment for your dog to play or stay.

Determine if the facility is an ideal environment for your pet well in advance—not the day before you hop in the car or board an airplane to leave town. Your dog is family and they need a safe, healthy place to stay. Investing this time upfront is critical.

A thorough interview process needs to be conducted ​before​ attending any Doggy Day Camp activity. If your dog hasn’t attended Camp (or never stepped paw) in a boarding facility, it’s important to get your dog evaluated by​ leaders in the pet hospitality business. Pet Experts are trained to assess your pet for proper size and temperament​ during their initial visit.

Scheduling an interview for your dog well in advance of your drop off date will give you and your Pet Hotel time to make appropriate accommodations for your pet. In addition, reintroductions are necessary for Camp “regulars” to get back to normal at their local Pet Hotel.

dog friends hanging out at camp
Photo Credit: Breanna Elizabeth, Best Friends Pet Hotel (Willow Grove)

“If your dog has been away from boarding or Doggy Day Camp for more than a year, it’s time to schedule an interview to reevaluate your pet’s profile at Camp. As your dog adapts back into their canine group routine—and to ensure safety measures—we like to observe your dog’s behavior, check for up-to-date vaccines, and assess their overall demeanor when attending an area with new dogs and people. Our goal is to make sure all dogs have a fun, yet safe experience.” —​ Jessica H., Hotel Area Manager, ​Best Friends Pet Hotel

4. Ease Into Camp

Your pet needs plenty of physical activity, mental stimulation, and training time throughout all stages of their lives. But make sure you don’t do too much too soon.

dogs meeting each other, becoming friends

While dogs like variety, they’re creatures of habit and often become anxious with sudden changes to their new daily routine. They may even resist leaving their familiar humans. If your dog is showing signs of ​separation anxiety, try lessening the duration of sustained play. This plan might help ease their way back to their normal dog time at Camp.

“Your dog needs mental stimulation and physical exercise at Doggy Day Camp. If your pet has been stuck indoors for awhile, the sooner you get back to a regular schedule the better.” —Jenn C., Hotel Manager, ​Best Friends Pet Hotel (Wakefield)

Doggy Day Camp “Regulars” returning back to Camp might want to limit their high activity days and a lot of dogs all at once. If it’s been a few months, perhaps a handful of half days would be beneficial. The sooner your dog gets acclimated to their regular Camp days, the faster they can get adjusted to a healthy schedule of events. Dogs who are mentally stimulated—with lots of healthy exercise—have dependable eating and sleeping schedules also.

two dogs playing

When it’s time for your dog to get out of the house and have some fun with other dogs, you owe it to your pooch to make an appointment. Reserve something new and special for your pet and notice a difference in their overall behavior.

5. Allow Consistent Camp Time

Before shaking things up to their daily at home routine, it’s wise to establish a ​predictable​ and rewarding Doggy Day Camp schedule for your pet. Fill their ‘dog days of summer’ with lots of playtime, frequent rest breaks, and proper hydration.

“Healthy rest allows your dog the chance to recharge and refocus their energy at Camp. In contrast to popular belief, an exhausted dog is n​ ot​ necessarily a happy dog. In addition to all the extra fun and activity, we provide our pets plenty of rest time so t​ hey can excel in the play area.​” —M​elissa A., Hotel Manager,​ Best Friends Pet Hotel (Clinton Township) ​

If your dog has been stuck indoors with you for too long, ask your selected facility for a trial sleepover. This overnight stay is a good test on how well they do away from home. It could be just the vacation you both need! And if budget is a concern, seek out attractive first time overnight offers.

little dog sleeping with teddy bear

Even if your dog attends Camp one day a week, your dog will thank you for the variety of mental stimulation, physical exercise, and yes—a little time away from their human caregivers.

6. Get A New “Do” After Camp

Dogs like to play and get dirty. They also enjoy feeling fresh and clean. A little pampering will make your dog feel good all over. A day at the spa is always a treat — even for your dogs.

Scrub their teeth, clip their dew claws, and clean their ears. If your dog has gone too long without a good trim, it may be a great time for a ‘new hairdo.’

dog getting groomed by dog groomer

Seek out specialized ​grooming professionals ​who keep current with industry certifications and pet trends.

“Your dog’s grooming needs is important to their overall health and well-being. The recent global pandemic has changed the landscape of pet care and grooming precautions, however, our attention to detail in the pet hospitality business hasn’t changed. With a new series of health protocols to follow, we abide by all COVID-19 animal guidelines to ensure proper care for your beloved pet.” —​ Kim M., Hotel Manager,​ ​Best Friends Pet Hotel (North Plainfield)

7. Try New Things

Getting outdoors more often is a good feeling. If your dog gets a little wind in their nose, they are happy and content. Walking in nature or taking a new route on your hiking trail usually does the trick. But, if your dog is restless with their typical walks, they could be ready to attend Doggy Day Camp.

dog playing in tent at day care
Photo Credit: Best Friends Pet Hotel (Cincinnati)

No matter how macho your dog is, all dogs love extra attention.

Life is never mundane with Doggy Day Camp. Dogs of all shapes, sizes, and ages enjoy Camp. There are lots of interesting themed parties and loads of fun that benefit your dog.

Doggy Day Camp: It’s Like A Dog’s Bucket List:​

dog training with dog trainer

Play + Training + Treats

Keep things interesting by enrolling your dog in training courses. Even if your dog is well-behaved and was top of their class at puppy class, sign them up for a refresher course. 1. It keeps your dog’s mind sharp and 2. training class is something you can do together.

DID YOU KNOW?

A dog performs best with conditioning. Positive reinforcement is not about “positive” in the positive/negative way. In dog training, positive reinforcement means “adding” on to desired behavior with marking and rewarding as the addition.

A different environment can solidify training constructs. Working with your dog and investing time for ​advanced training and tricks in many environments other than your house or backyard can be beneficial.

dog playing frisbee with human

Toys. Lots and lots of toys.

Purchasing fresh pet toys, including games, are helpful to fight boredom. Interactive, dispensing devices keep your dog occupied and entertained while they learn. Check out your Hotel’s retail bins in the lobby for something new to play with or chew on. There are many ​durable toys and long lasting chews ​that will keep your dog occupied for hours when they’re not at Camp.

Even old toys can seem new if you switch things up. Rotate and replace toys in their toy bin or play the name game! Dog toys can do wonders to playtime excitement.

But, what if your dog needs more?

dog story time at doggy day care
Photo Credit: Best Friends Pet Hotel (Cincinnati)

Best Friends At Home

To supplement your pet’s learning, teach them ​new tricks at home! The new ideas are sure to keep your dog’s tail wagging and bring a smile to your face.

Fun is endless when you have a dog: Read to them, ​bake biscuits, splash around in their kiddie pool, ​dress them up ​with ​bow ties, build obstacle courses, or offer your dog a challenging ​game of shells,​ hide and seek, or peek-a-boo.

dog sitting for biscuit treat

Your Dog Needs Doggy Day Camp

They love to run on the beach and explore new scenery. Working dogs need a “job” other dogs live for new friends, new people, and new toys. Many dog Campers benefit from physical exercise, mental stimulation, and a chance to meet other canines and new people.

Dogs need to greet other dogs and all sorts of other people.

dogs playing with kong toy

Getting Fido acclimated to a dog group setting requires careful pre-planning, time, and research in order to discover the best place for both you and your pet. Invest the time you need to find a place that you and your dog feels most comfortable with. If it’s the right place for your pet, you’ll notice a calm and content dog that looks forward to going to Camp ​and​ enjoys being at home too.

Our pets need their own time away from us to be their own dog. Besides, where else can your dog read books? So, let them romp, play, and experience new things.

Ready to learn more about Doggy Day Camp and other fun adventures? VISIT: ​Best Friends Pet Hotel or call your local center.

 

 

About The Author:

Christine A. Bournias resides in Michigan with her 2-pack; two new beautiful adopted miracles. As her “Angelwriter”, Nicodemus (1997-2010) is the wisdom behind the stories she shares. Christine champions the magnitude of building the bond between a dog and their person(s) by means of respectful communication and enduring admiration.