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Phuket Lifestyle: Keeping your dog fit

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PHUKET: Exercising your dog on a daily basis is essential. The best exercise channels the activity of both mind and body and for that, you need to take your dog out for a walk. Lack of proper exercise can lead to obesity, poor muscle tone, heart ailments and a host of emotional and behavioral problems.

Take your dog different places for them to explore and also play different games to help exercise them mentally as well as physically. Simply taking them around the same block, or just letting them run around the garden will frustrate them.

EXERCISES

Phuket may not have a wealth of bespoke “dog parks”, and taking them to certain beaches can be an issue at times – but there are still a number of places you can go with your dogs, and lots of things you can still do to jazz up the exercise routine.

Walking your dog up and down a beach, down a new road, or if you can find a track in the fast reducing woodland areas of Phuket then make the most of it. New places means new sights, smells and information for your dog to learn about his surroundings. Most dogs who do the same walk each day know it by heart. They stop in the same places, smell the same things and it gets boring. Go somewhere new and you’ll see a different dog, probably more alert, more focused and absorbing as much information from his surroundings as he possibly can. He’ll probably also be more tired after the walk too!

Taking your dog for a run is also a great way to burn energy, especially with the higher drive dogs like shepherds, or labs. However, you need to ease them into it, as well as yourself. Start with short runs and build up slowly from there.

Retrieving sticks, tennis balls or a Frisbee is great exercise for your dog although be sure they are not jumping too high in the air and landing on their hind legs as this can cause serious injuries to the knees and spine. Simply getting your dog to jump over, or balance on a fallen tree log, or scamper over a large rock are also fun things for our dogs to do.

Make a tunnel or a maze with some old cardboard boxes and encourage them to explore and go through it. Or place some treats under an overturned bowl and let them work out how to get the them.

Remember, getting out and about with your dog, allowing them to have off-leash time to properly run, be free and explore is really important for a well balanced dog. So many people tell me that they have huge gardens and that “the dog seems happy to just run around it till he’s tired”.

This is not only not enough, but detrimental to your dogs mental health. How would you feel being kept in the same house and never let out?

KEEPING COOL

Phuket, in case you haven’t noticed, can be hot and keeping your dog cool is vitally important. Make sure they have constant access to fresh, clean water at all times. Also, a lot of people here make the mistake of shaving their dogs coats thinking that will help keep them cool, when in truth, it can have the reverse effect. A dog’s fur coat is designed to both keep them warm, and keep them cool – they will shed what they don’t need, but shaving them is not the answer.

Plus, dogs don’t sweat like we do, and if they are hot, placing cool towels, or a cool tiled floor, on their bellies is far more effective than cool water on their backs.

AND RELAX…

So you’ve been for a new walk, gone for a run, or taken Fido for a swim. Rather than just letting him come home and collapse, why not help him out a bit with a stretch, and a nice rub down? There are various stretching exercises you can do (carefully) with your dog, but there’s also some obedience commands you can teach which themselves act as a stretch. Getting your dog to offer a play “bow on cue” is not only really cool, but also stretches their fore limbs and their back, as does does a simple circle spin.

So with Fido thoroughly exercised, and rubbed down – allowing them to relax is also important. Here at Thailand Canine Academy we’ve just launched our very own brand of dog beds, designed for maximum comfort, whilst also helping your dog keep cool at the same time.

Remember, a mentally and physically well exercised dog is a calmer dog and will sleep and rest better at home.

For more information on dogs in general, or to inquire about training classes contact the Thailand Canine Academy on 089 588 4050, canineworld@me.com or check www.tk9a.com.

— Russell D Russell

 

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