Do you love your dog? Of course, you do! After all, our pets are kind of a big deal. About 85 million families all over the U.S. own a pet. For many of us, they’re just like family.
Anyone fortunate enough to be a pet parent knows how rewarding it can be to have a dog in our lives, and what a big responsibility it is to balance what your furry babies want and what they really need. Just because dogs don’t go to school 10 months out of the year doesn’t mean they can’t use a winter break, too! Here are some fun ideas to help you and your dog celebrate this holiday season.
Take Your Dog Out for a Walk on the Wild Side
Most pet owners already know the health benefits of walking their dogs. What they might not realize is that walking the same path over and over every day can be just as boring for your dog as it is for you! Take the road less traveled with your pup this season. It can be a fun way to explore your neighborhood and beyond together. Just be sure you and your favorite furry companion can handle the trail before setting out, and remember to bring a doggie water bottle along with your own. If weather permits, a camping trip can also be a great way to bond with your dog with some camp out cuddles. It’s the kind of closeness that’s hard to get anywhere else but the great outdoors!
Hit the Dog Park
Besides park trails and campgrounds, you can also find lots of dog parks and even dog-friendly beaches in South Florida. Large patches of land are perfect for fetch or frisbee so you and your pet can exercise while having fun, too! Most parks have free admission, while others may charge yearly or per visit, so Google dog parks near you.
Does a dog park sound like it’s right up your alley? Here are the top 10 dog parks to visit in Broward County. Just remember to be considerate and brush up on your dog park etiquette if you’re new to the scene. Who knows? You and your pooch just might find your new favorite bark park this winter.
Play Something with Your Dog
Playing with your pup not only helps to curb their boredom, but can also provide comfort for your dog when left alone, and reduce or even eliminate many unwanted behaviors. This one might sound like a no-brainer, but it bears repeating.
The right toys can even be useful for teaching your dog new games and commands. Here are just a few easy ways you can play with your pet every day:
- Tug-of-War – ropes should be both soft and durable for best results
- Play Frisbee – nothing is quite as exciting as that mid-air catch!
- Fetch (Chuck It) – a “Chuck It” thrower can make for longer sessions
These toys are on the nice list for
Train with Your Dog
Do you like teaching your dog new commands? Does your dog enjoy taking direction? Getting together with other dog lovers and their pets through local dog agility groups may be just the ticket! Got a show-dog champion in the makes? Check out your local SPCA or Humane Society chapter for more info on events in your area.
If you have a 5kto train for next year, this might also be the perfect way to make your daily walk count! Or, if your dog is a docile caregiver, you may have a natural therapy dog on your hands. Chances are there are nursing homes and hospitals near you where you and your pup can spread a little cheer. Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? Make 2019 the year you and your dog become your best selves yet!
Play with Pups, Make Some Bucks
Of course, you know your pet best, but many dogs love the opportunity to socialize as much as we do! If you just can’t get enough of your favorite fuzzy friends (and you know your little bundles of fur can’t either), consider pet-sitting or dog-walking on the side. Puppy playdates and sleepovers can help you and your dog make even more four-legged friends this holiday season, and can even get you some serious green if you have the time (and energy!) to do it. Sure, it’s not all fun and games, but dog lovers know, when it comes to furry babies, there’s never a dull moment.
Studies suggest that people who involve their pets in their daily activities build longer lasting friendship and deeper bonds. This also opens your pup to new experiences, which can make your pet’s more confident and reduce their anxiety in situations they aren’t used to. In layman’s terms, spending time with your pooch is good for both of you!
No matter what kind of fun you and your furry friends are up to this winter be prepared! That way, these new situations are as positive as possible. Make sure they’re up to date on their shots and consult your vet about possible health risks and precautions you can take. The fond memories you create this year can translate to a more well-rounded pup and future adventures down the road. Season’s Greetings, and happy trails (and tails!) to you and yours.