As the weather begins to chill and the leaves begin to fall, your exercise routine with your dog may also change. More frequent rain storms and colder weather may have you dashing indoors and exercising less.
However, cooler weather doesn’t mean you can’t still be active with your canine buddy!
The outdoors is still a great place to be active even as the weather changes. Parks are especially fun this time of year as the leaves begin to change and the weather cools.
The falling leaves can become a fun place for your dog to jump and play, and the change in scenery will offer him a variety of new smells.
Be sure to have your dog on a flea and tick medication if you continue outdoor activities, as ticks and other parasites may find that leaf pile fun to hide in as well.
The dog park is another great place to visit in fall. Many dog parks are maintained by park services, and will have thicker grass courses and maintained trails even if the weather turns rainy.
Your dog will still be able to play with others and get a good walk with a lessened chance of falling into a mud puddle. However at some parks those mud puddles may become features!
If the weather is just too bad to have some fun outside, there are still a lot of activities that can be done indoors.
If a long hallway is available, games of fetch can happen with a soft frisbee or ball that won’t hurt furniture or walls when tossed. Getting your dog to do several “laps” back and forth can help burn off energy and keep him less antsy indoors.
For adventurous dogs, the treadmill for people is great too! Training should be done SLOWLY and if your dog doesn’t seem interested, don’t force him to continue.
Be sure to always monitor your dog when he is on a treadmill in case injury occurs. Start off on the slowest walking speed, and begin to walk your dog on it like you would normally outdoors.
Treats can be used to help keep him focused forward and should be given when he walks calmly on the track. Again, if he’s too nervous, other activities may be better!
Puzzle toys are another great indoor energy burner, and can be filled with a few treats and a lot of the daily portion of dog kibble to prevent excessive weight gain.
These can be frozen with peanut butter or water, or even have wet food added to increase the difficulty level for bored or very smart dogs. Chewing activities help burn off energy and keep your dog occupied when he can’t go outside.
While most people think of summer as the time for fleas, external parasites are still active in the fall months.
Keeping your dog on a flea and tick medication is helpful, especially if you are taking walks outdoors on trails or in areas where there is brush or lots of fallen leaves.
Ticks, spiders and other parasites may lurk in these areas, so the skin should be checked after an outing to remove them and look for any bites.
Leaves and rain may also hide potentially dangerous areas of terrain as well and your dog should not be off-leash unless the area is well known.
Puddles that are deeper than expected, leaves covering sharp rocks, and even changes to hillsides may cause your dog to trip, fall or hurt a limb. If you do see your pet trip and fall it is best to stop the outing and return home for some rest and recovery.
A trip to the vet is unlikely, but there are a few times when outings that resulted in injury may need it. It is best to make a vet appointment if your dog trips and falls and is visibly limping, or has a minor limp for more than a day or two.
It is also a good idea to schedule a vet visit if your dog has a reaction to a bite of unknown origin (such as a spider) or has a large tick load that needs to be removed. Your vet can then offer treatment plans and additional advice as needed.Fall doesn’t have to be a time to stop exercising and staying in shape, so get out there with your pumpkin spice, your leash and your dog for a fun new adventure! You’ll both be very glad you did.