The Dog Days Are Here! | Integrated Counseling and Wellness
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By Gerda Purdy

Life can be hectic and often times, stressful. Exercise plays an important role in reducing stress, strengthening our bodies and rejuvenating our minds. The same holds true for “man’s best friend.” The benefits of daily walking and playing for our dogs are endless. However, during the hot summer months, it takes a little more thought and creativity to fulfill your dog’s need for exercise and play. Consider the following ideas to help your dog get the exercise he/she needs.

Go swimming with your dog. If you don’t have a pool, your dog might still enjoy a plastic children’s pool or simply turn on the sprinklers. You might also check out “Rummy’s Beach Club”.

Get a “Flirt Pole” (for additional information, visit ““). This game should be played in the early morning or late evening. It’s a very efficient way to wear out your dog without wearing out the human. A good rule of thumb is that a heat index above 84 degrees is too hot to put a dog through strenuous exercise.

Go for a walk. In addition to observing the temperatures, place your hand on the pavement for five seconds. If it’s hot for you, it’s too hot for your dog’s pads as well.

Indoor activities might include a dog-powered treadmill (a regular treadmill will work as well, however compact ones will not, due to safety concerns).

Remote Food Dispensers are a wonderful way to have your dog earn his kibbles. Have the dog perform a task, then dispense a little food.

Tracking food/treats will challenge your dog’s sense of smell. Hiding treats throughout the house and sending your dog to find them is very entertaining and an activity any family member can participate in.

Last but not least: have fun! It is so important to have some meaningful interaction with your dog every day. Treat your dog like the friend that he/she is and build trust and relationship one day at a time.

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