Now that school is out and we are all anticipating summer activities with family and friends, please try to do some things that include your pets.  I am so excited to take some river and camping trips and I know the dogs will be too!  
A friend and I were just discussing destructive behavior in our dogs and as I walked away from the conversation I realized there is an area that may be a contributing factor – exercise.  My dogs run and play in a fenced area but this year has been so busy that I have not spent the time walking, running and working with them as I have in the past.  I do believe that fifteen or twenty extra minutes a few times a week could benefit both me and my dogs.
Dogs’ need for exercise varies depending on their age, size, breed and individual traits.  Choose activities that suit your dog’s individual personality and natural interests. Experiment with different activities to see what’s most practical and enjoyable for your dog and for you.
 Now that school is out and we are all anticipating summer activities with family and friends, please try to do some things that include your pets.  Personally, I am so excited to take some river and camping trips and I know the dogs will be too!  Make sure that when you choose to include your pet you make allowances for the summer heat, particularly vehicles.  Your animal can overheat in a vehicle in minutes…don’t leave them unattended and always have fresh water for cooling and drinking on hand.
The following information comes from HealthyPetU.com   
THE ADVANTAGES
Besides getting in better cardiovascular and physical shape, walking or running with your dog can also help:
•  Boost your mood
•  Lower your blood pressure
•  Strengthen your bond with your pet
•  Keep you motivated to exercise regularly (your dog will bug you to stay on your routine)
WHAT YOUR DOG GETS OUT OF THE DEAL
Running or walking with your dog isn’t just good for you; it’s also good for your dog. Exercising keeps his heart, lungs, joints, and digestive and circulatory systems healthy, and it helps him control weight and expend energy. If you’ve ever noticed your dog racing extra fast around your house or yard (sometimes referred to as zooming), you’ve witnessed him trying to burn up excess energy.
Regular exercise can also keep your dog’s not-so-fun behaviors under control. It can help prevent destructive chewing, biting, and digging and can calm hyperactivity and anxiety.
KEEP IN MIND
Dogs can run (or walk) farther and faster than people, but that doesn’t mean they should leap off the sofa and run for miles. If they’re just starting out, they need to build up distance gradually.
It’s also a good idea to keep puppies from exercising too strenuously or for too long to avoid damaging their developing bones and joints. In addition, dogs that are older or recovering from an injury or illness may need to take it a little easier or exercise for shorter periods. For instance, you can switch from a 30-minute run to two 15- minute walks. Especially for older or recovering pets, swimming can be a good alternative to running or walking.
To prevent your dog from getting heat stroke, avoid exercising during the hottest part of the day. Dawn, dusk, and after dark are often the best times to run or walk.
Visit your physician and veterinarian before you and your pet begin an exercise regimen. They can recommend what type of exercise is best for you and your dog and how long you should both spend exercising.
THE ULTIMATE REWARD
Running or walking with your dog can keep you motivated to stay on track and get healthy together. Plus, what could be better than spending quality time with your best friend?
TIPS FOR PROTECTING YOUR DOG'S PAWS
•  In hot weather, walk your dog in grassy areas as much as possible to avoid burning his paws.
•  In cold weather, consider having your dog wear booties to prevent paw contact with ice and de-icing chemicals.
•  Once inside, wipe off his paws.
•  Make sure you inspect his paws after every walk or run.
I hope that as we begin this summer season we can all make some changes for better health for ourselves and our pets.  Please consider the precautions mentioned above for your specific pet and of course if questions arise you should consult your veterinarian.  I am looking forward to everybody feeling better in my household and a little bit of exercise curbing some naughty habits – both mine and my dogs!
If you need a dog to walk – contact the shelter nearest you or of course our Loving Paws Adoption Center.
Until they all have a home…