“My goal in life is to be as good a person as my dog thinks I am.”
APRIL IS CANINE FITNESS MONTH
Canine Fitness Month focuses on keeping your loyal companions active and healthy.
Your dog spends its life waiting for you to come home, waiting for you to get off the couch and waiting for you to play. Canine Fitness Month reminds you not to make your dog wait any longer. Your dog needs physical and mental exercise to stay healthy – just like you.
If you’re a Portlander then you and your dog have suffered through day after days of winter storms. Downpours, wind blusters, snow and sleet. Now your cooped-up sedentary ways are catching up to you and your dog.
Seniors especially are prone to getting de-conditioned. It’s sometimes harder for them to grab a leash and head outside. If you know a senior who has a dog, help add some fitness fun to their life. Here’s a list of fun indoor and outdoor activities:
Offer to walk a struggling senior’s dog for them or hire a dog walker.
Take the dog to the dog park (either indoor or out).
See if the dog will chase a laser light (healthy treats might help).
Play hide and seek with healthy treats. Place them behind doors, under bowls and chairs. Get pup to go find the treats.
Run through the dog’s repertoire of tricks: roll over (and over and over), shake, play dead, jump, etc.
Create obstacle courses indoors and out. Get the dog to jump up, jump down, walk across a row of chairs, crawl through a tube, etc.
Play fetch or purchase an automatic ball launcher.
Consider a pooch treadmill.
Dogs add so much to our lives: companionship, unconditional love and humor. Studies show that seniors who own pets have decreased depression, loneliness, lower pulse rate, decreased heart attacks and are generally more active.
Many Retirement and Assisted living communities recognize the benefits of pet ownership. Most facilities these days are “Pet Friendly” and welcome a resident’s fur baby. Some things to keep in mind when moving to a senior community with a pet are:
There may be size and weight restrictions.
Communities require proof of current vaccinations.
A photo of the pet is needed for records.
The lease contract will stipulate that the community can ask a pet to leave. A pet eviction notice is based on unsafe/unfriendly behavior, loud or constant barking and inability of senior to care for pet.
Some Assisted Living communities offer pet care in their menu of services – most do not.
Don’t let April showers dampen your relationship with your four-legged best friend. Take time to play and enjoy fitness activities together – it’s good for you both.
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