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Bark at the Picture of Health!

“Working out” and eating healthily diet can lead to a host of benefits including increased energy, happiness, and even a long life. Exercise and diet are pivotal to not only determining our own health, but our dog’s overall health too. So it’s absolutely essential that you make them both part of your dog’s lifestyle. It can make a dramatic difference in how they look and feel. So, in honour of summer, we present our guide to summer food and exercise:

DIET

We all know that dogs love meat; I’ve yet to meet a self-imposed vegetarian pup. But did you know that dogs also enjoy vegetables? Yes, vegetables. But not exactly in the same way we do.

While we might love our spinach sauteed in olive oil with lots of garlic and spices, that recipe should not be on our dog’s menu. Fruits can be eaten raw but remember to remove the pits, seeds, rinds and inedible skins. Cut them into small pieces or thin slices to prevent choking. Vegetables should be steamed, boiled or baked so they are easier to digest. Again, cut the veggies into small pieces or you might mash or puree them. This also makes it easier to incorporate the veggies into your dog’s usual food. You can also add fruits and veggies into homemade treats that will have your dog excitedly wagging their tail. But before you do that, make sure to...

Plan Before You Change Your Dog’s Diet:

Introducing new foods into your dog’s diet may lead to changes in digestion. We suggest you Introduce only one new fruit or vegetable at a time. Observe your dog for any responses to the change. Keep in mind that every dog is different so please check with your veterinarian to see which ingredients are suitable for your dog.

Know What NOT to Feed Your Dog:

Some plant foods are toxic to dogs, so make yourself familiar with the foods you need to avoid. The following is a general list of foods dogs should avoid: onions, garlic, leeks, shallots, rhubarb, wild mushrooms, grapes, raisins, avocado, citrus fruits, nuts (especially macadamia nuts) and the pits, seeds and rinds of fruits.

EXERCISE - SWIMMING

Like a small child, no dog should be given unsupervised access to a backyard pool, neighbourhood pond or creek. Before letting your dog swim in natural surroundings, survey the area for safety. Rivers and oceans can change frequently, and an area that was once safe for swimming can become treacherous. Consider currents, tides, underwater hazards and even the condition of the water. In the late summer, algae scum on the top of standing water can be toxic, producing substances that can kill a pet who swallows the water. When in doubt, treat it like you would a child: better safe than sorry.

Obedience training is extremely important. Your dog should come when called, even when swimming. Just in case, make sure to have a toy around. A dog who is heading into a dangerous area after a ball or stick can often be lured back to shore with a favourite toy. It's no substitute for training, but it could save your dog's life.

Remember that even swimming dogs can get hot, so bring fresh water and offer it at every opportunity. When your dog is tiring, call it a day. A tired dog is a good dog, but an exhausted dog is in danger of drowning.

Also, be particularly careful with young pup and old dogs. Young pups can panic in the water, and old dogs may not realise they aren't as strong as they used to be. Keep them close to shore, and keep swimming sessions short.