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Support Your Dog Outdoors & Indoors with Healthy Activity

Dogs are curiosity and energy on four legs, eager to experience everything that comes their way, inside or out in the backyard.

Being outside is good fun and excellent exercise for your dog. But dogs are companion animals and live their lives mostly indoors, keeping us company. So it is up to us as good dog parents to provide stimulation and exercise for mind and body. It's the interaction with you that counts. You don't want your dog to get cabin fever and chew the arm off your prized designer sofa.


Indoor play

There are a variety of activities you can play with your dog indoors. Maybe your dog likes a rousing game of fetch outdoors. No reason to stop that fun activity on cold winter days. Simply switch to a soft ball or toy and continue to play inside.

Dogs love to run, but indoors isn't usually a good mix for that kind of activity—unless, of course, you have stairs. Stand at the bottom of the stairs with your dog, toss a soft toy to the top of the stairs and ask your dog to fetch it back to you,. Repeat. For this stair-climbing workout, check with your veterinarian to make sure your dog is in good physical health. Also make sure your dog has an unobstructed path and doesn’t make the return trip downstairs too quickly to avoid collisions.

Try out a favorite game from childhood! Play hide-and-seek, the indoor version. This activity is guaranteed to exercise a dog's mind and body, along with their recall skills. Hide and call your dog's name. When they uncover your hiding spot, make sure to reward their excellent canine sleuthing skills with a dog treat.

In the wild, dogs are scavengers and foragers for food. For a real challenge, look at puzzle toys, which are both educational and engaging or try treat dispensing toys. In addition, your home is peppered with hiding spots. Take some of their favorite dog treats and hide them in safe and accessible places in your home.


Safe outdoor activities

Before you take your new puppy or adult dog outdoors, make sure the coast is clear. It is up to you as a conscientious pet parent to protect them from any hazards that might lurk around the next corner. Check the fencing to make sure there are no holes, and no items that they can hurt themselves on.

If your dog loves to chew, make sure they don't sink their teeth into a poisonous plant. Some of the top offenders include lilies, sago palms, oleander, chrysanthemum, and English ivy, all popular garden plants. For a complete list, consult the ASPCA.

Dogs will put almost anything in their mouths, and that can include mushrooms from your yard or from a walk around the block. It's up to you to find those toxic mushrooms before your dog does.

Fertilizers and herbicides are often used on lawns. This can be toxic for pets. Most of these products need to dry for 24 hours before your pet should be allowed to come into contact with them. Dogs can be very inquisitive when it comes to new smells as well, so store insecticides and pesticides out of reach. The most dangerous pesticides include snail bait, fly bait, mole or gopher bait and rat poison.

Gardens thrive on compost. Dogs do not. Coffee grounds, moldy food, and certain kinds of fruits and vegetables can be toxic to your dog. Keep compost bins fenced off and unreachable for the tail wagging set.

When doing yard work, be cautious where you store your gardening tools. Rakes, tillers, hoes, and trowels can be hazardous to dogs. Since they are curious animals, dogs will want to sniff, lick and touch garden tools. But tools can also cause trauma to sensitive body parts and dogs aren't always coordinated and agile enough to get out of the way of a falling tool.

Be aware that grass seeds have sharp points that can poke eyes and lodge in ears and noses. Steer clear of recently seeded lawns or reseeded public parks. Remember to check your dog's paws after a romp outside.

Before you put your dog outside, make sure you know what's in your yard that could possibly be harmful. Knowledge and a keen eye are the best ways to protect your dog from any outdoor hazards.

With a number of ideas on how to keep dogs safe outdoors and how to exercise them indoors, your dog will be healthy and content.