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Vol 12 No 2

Spring Flowers


Spring 2010


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The Most Wonderful Time
Of The Year

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Tales of Gold


The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

By Bobbie Greco


As I sit down to write this, my first article as editor of Tales of Gold, the thermometer outside just hit 94 degrees, even though it is only the first week of April.  While I know the weather won’t stay this unseasonable for very long, the heat reminds me that after a long, snowy winter and the several major rainstorms we’ve recently endured, we’re all going to be pretty anxious to get outside with our dogs and enjoy the beauty of nature during the coming Spring and Summer months.  As we transition from what may have been a more complacent time, there are several things we need to remember to keep our pets safe as we explore the outdoors.

“The Proper Outfit is Key” - Just like us, our dogs need to “dress” appropriately for whatever activity we are going to participate in with them.  It is important for your dog to have a proper fitting collar or harness with appropriate identification tags attached to it.  Should you and your dog become separated for any reason, this could help in reuniting you.  If you are planning on hiking on uneven or rough terrain or pavement, you might also want to consider coating your dog’s paws with some type of paw wax to protect them against the elements.

“Mind Your Manners”- When you are out walking with your dog, you’re sure to meet other folks who are doing the same thing.  If you find yourself approaching another dog and owner, be sure to ask the owner’s permission before letting the dogs greet one another.  And don’t forget to bring plastic bags with you on your walk; cleaning up after your dog is a must!

“Just Do It … Carefully” – If the winter weather has kept you and your dog from going on long walks or hikes, it is important to remember to ease back into things slowly so as to avoid injury.  Your dog will once again need to build up tolerance for these types of exercise.  Start slowly, and gradually add to your routine.  Nothing is worse for the muscles than too much too soon.  And when you return from walking or hiking, be sure to stretch your dog.  There are a variety of stretches that you can do for shoulders, hips, quadriceps, and front and back legs.  They are easy to learn and do and will provide you with one more opportunity to bond with your dog.  Finally, it is usually best to exercise with your dog either early in the morning or later in the day when the weather tends to be a bit cooler.  If it’s too hot out, strenuous exercise can be dangerous for you and your dog.  The following websites show some excellent stretches to do with your dog.  You may also want to check your local book store for books on this topic.

http://agilitynerd.com/blog/dog/health/SimpleStretches.html
http://www.naturescornermagazine.com/dog_stretching.html
http://flyballdogs.com/stretch/

“Be Prepared” - If you happen to be heading out for a walk or hike in an unfamiliar area – say while you’re on vacation – be sure you know where the nearest emergency animal hospital is in case your dog should need care unexpectedly.  Bring fresh water with you, along with some emergency supplies.  One of the most important things to carry with you is some type of antihistamine in case your dog has a reaction to a bug bite or bee sting and starts to swell before you can get him/her to the nearest vet for proper treatment.

“Fleas and Ticks and Mosquitoes, Oh My” – Upon completion of your outings with your dogs, it is important to give them a “once over” to ensure that they haven’t brought any “visitors” home.  Fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes love to find homes on our furry friends, so take appropriate precautions.  If you choose, there are a variety of products on the market that can help reduce and/or eliminate problems with these insects. 

You will also want to look for any burrs or branches that have attached themselves to your dog;   this can be especially important for dogs with long hair as things tend to get caught in their fur very easily and can make your dog very uncomfortable.

“Location, Location, Location” – Prior to letting your dog spend time outside, even in an enclosed area, be sure to check fences for holes and other escape routes and make sure that all gates are closed and locked.  Whenever your dog is spending lots of time outside, it is vital to make sure that he/she has a place in the shade to rest and plenty of cool, fresh drinking water.  And, most importantly, dogs should NEVER be left in a car on a hot day, even with the windows open.  The temp in a car can quickly rise to dangerous – even fatal – levels so don’t take any unnecessary chances.

If you are heading to the beach, first check to be sure that dogs are permitted; many beaches have very strict rules and regulations about this.  If you do end up on the beach, remember that walking/running on the sand can be very difficult for your dog so don’t overdo it.  If your dog likes to swim in the ocean, you may want to purchase a life vest for him/her.  And make sure you keep him/her in your sight; even good swimmers get tired and may need your help to get out of the water.  After swimming, be sure to rinse your dog off as the salt water can be damaging to his/her coat.

“There’s No Place Like Home” – After you and your dog have spent time outside exercising and enjoying the beautiful weather, it is important to let your dog have some down time to rest and relax.  Upon returning home, it is fine to offer him/her some cool, fresh drinking water but meals shouldn’t be fed right before or until an hour after you’ve finished exercising so as to avoid digestive upset or, in extreme cases, bloat.

“It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” – The flowers are starting to bloom, the birds are starting to sing and the thermometer is climbing with each passing day.  Now’s the time to take your dog and get outside to enjoy the beauty that is all around us.  Enjoy all that the Spring and Summer have to offer.  Be safe, healthy, and happy!!!  And never miss a Golden opportunity!!!