Summer has finally arrived! Okay, it’s not officially summer, but the weather is a vast improvement from what it was in April! Warm weather, plants growing and birds chirping can be quite invigorating as we make that winter to summer changeover. We can make good use of the longer days and nice weather to help strengthen our bond with our pets and make them glad summer is here too. Let’s see how we can make the summer of 2018 a memorable one:
- Plan to take your dog on a new walking trail, many conservation areas permit dogs on leash. Be sure to bring lots of water and some treats to help keep your pet hydrated and nourished.
- Teach a new command or trick. It’s true the older dogs may need a little more patience and time, but it can be done. The learning process helps us learn patience and enjoy our pet more. Our pets learn how to make us happy; this is a win-win situation for anyone. Any dog would be excited to learn how to earn an extra treat, more time with a favourite toy and most of all, lots of praise and snuggles from the people they love most on the planet!
- What about something you can both learn together? Agility, flyball and even advancing obedience skills can be fun to try together. You may find something you both like to do, and want to continue. Check with various trainers and obedience centres about what they offer.
- Are you ready to experiment? Try a different type of groom or cut job. Hey, it’ll grow back, and you’ll know what you like and don’t. Be sure to check with your groomer to find out what options there are.
- Attend an event with your dog; there are many events like Woofstock that are pet-friendly. Be sure to be prepared for rest stops, water and snacks. Your pet may or may not be able to stay all day, so be ready to go home a little earlier than expected if it seems like your pet pal is tuckered out.
Don’t forget the cats!
- Build an outdoor enclosure for feline outdoors adventures; there are a variety of types available. These enclosures allow your cat to enjoy the outdoors safe from predators, and it just may help reduce the amount of vacuuming required indoors. Your cat will need parasite prevention if it’s not a sealed enclosure, but that’s a small price to pay for some Vitamin D!
- Train your cat. I know, sounds funny right? Cats learn best through positive reinforcement. Clicker training helps to let them instantly understand what behaviour you want. Be prepared to use some of their regular cat food or even some special treats, but remember everything in moderation. Won’t your friends be impressed! Even the cat will think it’s one up on you, with a new way to coerce you into giving out more food.
- Hello, playtime! A new toy or increasing the number of designated play times will make your cat’s summer a wonderful experience. Playing laser tag is a fun game that many cats enjoy. However, be sure to end the game with a toy for them to chew and scratch so that they have something tangible to touch and know that they have “won.” A new cat tree or a tunnel can also make a wonderful addition. Environmental enrichment is a wonderful way to increase health and reduce stress, and make cats and their people happy!
Our cats and dogs bring joy to our hearts, let’s provide a little joy for them too. Make 2018 a summer to remember!
Written by Dr. Rhonda Boulter, DVM