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Has Your Pooch Gained A Few Holiday Pounds?

As much as you love your dog, it can be difficult sometimes to just say “no!” We are all guilty of overindulging, especially during the holidays with parties, big holiday meals, and cookies and cakes! Well, it is no surprise that our dogs get to “clean up” after us and can gain a few extra holiday pounds, too.
Fat dog in front of lights article

Now that we have resolved to be better in the New Year, the question becomes, how? For our dogs, it can be challenging to lose a few pounds but it can be done. Of course, exercise is the best way. (Keeping out of the treat jar works, too)!

We all have good intentions; however, working long hours, raising a family, and running a household, finding the time is tough. There are only so many hours in a day, and many of us find it increasingly difficult to squeeze in the time to exercise our four-legged family members.

Obesity is one of the biggest killers in our canines, but we can do something to prevent it. We have to as it is our responsibility as dog moms and dads to protect them, and luckily there is a solution.

Once upon a time, older generations would have laughed at the idea of professional pet care, whereas today it has become commonplace in much of the country. People are working longer hours, traveling more, and treating their pets better than ever, so the rise in professional pet sitting and doggy daycare services is no surprise.

There are many options for pet care and exercise options, here are just a couple:

Professional pet sitters/walkers who can come over daily for long walks, and even provide visits to the dog park.

Your dog can have solo walks or pack walks where they spend 1 to 3 hours with a pack of dogs, get fresh air, and a lot of exercise, not to mention socialization. Of course, do not forget that your pooch needs to be a good candidate for pack walks, and be well socialized and friendly. Your pet sitter will likely have an interview process to assure everyone’s safety.

Make sure you do your homework before hiring a professional dog walker/sitter. Their primary concern must be the happiness and safety of your dog. Make sure they are bonded and licensed, and ask for references. Ask where they will go for their walks, and make sure they always pick up after your dog as you do not want to make enemies of your neighbors! What will they do in case of an emergency? Do they know canine CPR? Does he/she have a cell phone at all times?

Use your best judgment and see how he/she interacts with your pooch. Only you will know best whether it is a good match for your most precious and trusted pal.

Doggy Day Care has become increasingly popular for many reasons.

First, your dog will get a lot of playtime and exercise on a typical day. The environment can be very stimulating, both physically and mentally for your pal. However, leaving your dog in someone else’s care all day can be worrisome. There are many ways to come home to a pooped pooch and reduce your stress!

Go visit the daycare centers and ask many questions. Ask, what is their screening process to ensure that all of the dogs are truly friendly? What is their human to dog ratio for those watching the pooches? Many doggy daycare centers now offer live web cameras so you can watch your pooch from home or the office. Many allow you to come to visit and watch any time you like.

To me, these are important factors. Do the dogs go outside for bathroom breaks and how often? Is the staff competent and mature enough to handle a “situation” should it arise? After all, dogs will be dogs, and you do not want an immature and perhaps irresponsible person to be responsible for keeping your dog safe should a fight ensue.

Most of all, trust your instincts when it comes to the care of your pet. You will know in your heart better than anyone where your pooch belongs and where he will be most loved and provided for.

By Jamie Michael
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