Keeping Your Pets Healthy with an Outdoor Lifestyle
Want to go hiking up a mountain trail with your fluffy family member? Or maybe just on your daily walk around a path at the nearby park?
Going outside with your pets provides a wide range of benefits for both you and your pets. It also exposes your pets to certain risks. But with some planning, all of them are negligible when compared to the benefits the outdoors brings.
Daily Outdoor Time Means Exercise
Whether you’re summiting a mountain pass or just going for a quick stroll around the park, getting up and moving is one of the best ways to ensure your pets are getting the exercise they need to stay healthy. Dogs and cats are both prone to napping throughout the day, often due to boredom, which means they are not being actively engaged and burning off all of the food they are eating. This can lead to obesity, which may lead to increased risk of developing other diseases.
Just spending a few minutes outside everyday means increasing the heart rate beyond the resting rate, which helps improve overall heart health. This time spent exercising also means burning calories that can aid with weight control for your pets. Similar to humans, a combination of a good diet and consistent exercise is an effective method to maintaining a healthy body.
Reduces Boredom, Anxiety and Depression
While staying cooped up inside all day may sound appealing to us since we can just turn on Netflix or play a game to stimulate our senses, the same cannot be said for our furry friends. While they may play with their own toys from time to time, this is nothing if not a nod to the boredom that our pets so often face as well. This is why going outside is so important for your pet. It helps alleviate their boredom and gives them new sights and smells. These new sights and smells give them a productive way to exert their energy, rather than finding nefarious ways to spend that same energy.
All of these different sights and smells can also help them become more accustomed to new things, meaning over time, they will become less excitable when exposed to new stimuli. This can help you, as their caretaker, better understand their emotions, such as when something is making them anxious, or if they are developing a level of depression. This insight into your pets’ health will make their lives better each and every time you take notice of it
THE RISKS OF BEING OUTDOORS
Of course, there are a number of risks that come with being outdoors, especially for pets that cannot verbally describe what is wrong. This is why it is so important to be taking notice of your pets both before and after going outside with them.
While yes, getting sun and the very important vitamin D that only sunlight can provide naturally is important, it is equally important to not get too much sun. Just like us, our pets can get sunburned, especially if they have a light – colored or thin coat, or a pink nose. These pets are especially prone to sunburn quickly. Pets with dark coats don’t necessarily get off scotch free. Darker coats means a more heat absorption, which means they are at a higher risk for heat overheating, or potentially heat exhaustion and heat stroke if left unnoticed for long enough.
If your pet is unleashed, or particularly strong or crafty, there is also the potential of them running away. Depending on where you live or where you are taking your pet out to, when not under your purview, your pet also has the potential to get into other troubles. They could find themselves rolling around in a bed of poison ivy, eating some unidentified berries that could be poisonous, or even chasing after wildlife, which if caught could expose them to certain bacteria and parasites that they would not have been exposed to otherwise.
Mitigating the Risks
While these risks should pose some level of weariness, those concerns can be easily mitigated if given the right amount of foresight and preparation. For example, dogs getting sunburns happens quite often, but ensuring they are given ample opportunity to rest in the shade can help reduce the severity of any burns. If they do get burned, or happen to find the one patch of poison ivy in the whole forest, there are natural solutions you can use to help ease some of the discomfort, as well as speed up the healing process.
Overheating and heat stroke or exhaustion are easily avoidable as well, by once again providing opportunities for shade, and ensuring there is ample water to help your pets cool down.
Getting outside often to desensitize your pets to new sights and smells, combined with properly training your pets, can help if they become unleashed, though having treats on hand is never a bad idea. If they do run away, ensuring your pets are tagged in one way or another can help them find their way back home.
With proper obedience training, most of these should not be major concerns. However, if your pet happens to catch an unsuspecting victim, or eats something they shouldn’t – there is no substitute for a visit to the vet as soon as possible.
Overall, the Pros outweigh the Cons.
While there are certain risks with your pets being outdoors, they can all be easily mitigated with an ounce of prevention.
You almost always get to experience sunshine when you step outside, compared to the amount and intensity of sun needed to cause a sunburn.
Your pet’s boredom will always be alleviated by a walk outside. Each time you take your pet outside also means a certain level of exercise, even if it is just a brisk walk around the block, means a healthier heart and mind for both you and your pet.
Try Holistic Pet Care from Gou Gou Pets
At Gou Gou Pets, our aim is to promote healthy lives with a sense of balance for years of happiness for your pet. We offer a line of natural pet products that incorporate the best of Eastern and Western methodologies.
We offer a traditional and holistic-infused grooming line, joint/pain management spray and ointments, trauma, wound, and skin care and antioxidant therapy. All made in the USA. Our products are naturally based, gentle, and contain high quality Chinese herbs, essential oils, and aromatic therapy ingredients.