Did you realize that your dog might require special care after a run, hike, power walk, or game of fetch? Dogs that work hard or play hard need their owners to look out for them. Here are some basic tips for post-exercise care year-round.
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
When out for a long hike or run with your pet, be sure to bring along plenty of water for the both of you. Stop periodically for water breaks and give your dog moderate amounts to drink each time. However, try not to allow him to gulp large amounts of water at one time, as this can lead stomach upset or bloating.
Just as a cool-down period is important for humans, dogs should be allowed to do the same. After exercising, slow things down and take a walk around for several minutes to allow your dog’s body temperature and heart rate to slow down. You might even consider giving your pet a rub-down or stretch your dog’s limbs once he’s relaxed.
If it’s a particularly warm day, rinse a towel in cool water and drape it over the dog’s shoulders. If your dog’s panting doesn’t slow down or he becomes disoriented or weak, call a veterinarian right away.
Food Comes After
Pets shouldn’t be exercised on a full stomach, as this can lead to digestive upset or bloat. Because of this, your pet will no doubt be hungry after a long workout. After a period of cooling down, rehydrate him and allow him to eat his normal meal.
If you have spent your time exercising outdoors, it’s important to give your pet a good examination for ticks or fleas. Check inside the ears, under the belly, and between folds of skin where the insects might hide. Run your fingers through the haircoat and remove any foreign objects like burrs. In fact, this would be a good time for a brushing too.
The feet are an important part of your dog’s body and should be given special care. Inspecting the toe pads and nails after a day out running or playing is of vital importance. Look carefully for any cuts, cracks, blisters, or dirt stuck between the toes. If necessary, wash your pet’s feet and dry them carefully before checking them over. If you see any serious wounds or damage to the foot pads, check with your veterinarian for care instructions.