Tue, Apr 20, 2010 – by Amy Loeffler

Changing Seasons, Changing Routines

The leaves are changing, kids are back in school and work is as hectic as ever. You and your pooch may have fond memories of long, lazy summer walks, but as temperatures cool it’s important to make sure your furry friend doesn’t get lost in the shuffle of changing fall routines and holiday hub-bub. Keep Rover happy and healthy by maintaining his schedule of exercise and play.

Why is routine important? Your canine companion thrives on the habitual events of everyday life. Dr. Amy Lewis of Falls Village Animal Hospital in Raleigh, North Carolina says, "Pets thrive on routine. It is important to maintain a regular daily routine of feeding, exercise and rest throughout the year."

Keeping up with daily exercise is one way to maintain a regular schedule. But, let's be honest, even for the most dedicated pet owner, this can be easier said than done. When your day planner gets jammed, allow yourself extra time in the morning and evenings to exercise with your pet by penciling in Fido during a lull in activity. In the morning, get up and get Fido out the door right away. Don't let yourself get wrapped up in the scramble for breakfast before you've taken your pet for his constitutional. In the evening take a moment before the dinner rush and crush of homework to log some more miles with your pooch.

Dr. Lewis stresses the importance of keeping your pet active, "Exercise is the most important thing you can do with and for your pet. Even the smaller breeds need regular walks and playtime. Dogs are easily bored, and a bored, lonely dog can lead to the development of a destructive, neurotic dog. It is vital to exercise your dog at least twice daily and this means more than letting them out into the backyard."

If bad weather rains on your exercise parade, substitute organized indoor play time with your four-legged family member. Dr. Lewis suggests chew toys, rawhides and kong toys for indoor activities. [Toys that enable chewing] act like pacifiers, giving the pet a quiet activity which helps to get the teeth and gums healthy."

Extremely busy families may want to consider doggie day care or regular visits from a pet sitter if work and school keep them away from home for extended parts of the day. This is an excellent way to ensure your fur-kid is on a schedule and getting the exercise he needs, even when you can't be there.

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