Friday, 11 August 2017 12:06

Porky & Buddy Column: Does Barley Needs More Exercise?

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Dear Porky and Buddy: Don’t you just hate the word obese? I know I do. I just got back from the vet and she told me my dog Barley is “on the verge” of being considered obese. She suggested that I cut down on his food and treats (which I will do) and exercise him more. But he spends most of the day out in our fenced yard while I’m at work and I assume he gets plenty of exercise then. What more can I do? Signed, Ken

Dear Ken,

For starters stop being silly and whiny—we have enough of that in the national news without hearing it from you. You know perfectly well what Barley does in your fenced yard while you are gone. He barks wildly for a minute or two, takes a nap, barks again, takes another nap, and so on and so on through the day. That’s not exercise.

You need to be doing things with Barley. But remember that dogs don’t get the concept of exercise. They get the concept of spending time with their people and if that involves walking or jogging or playing catch or whatever, they will gladly do that, but only because they like being in the company of their people.

So, do your neighbors a kindness and leave Barley inside during the day if you can and when you get home, break out the leash and take him for a walk, or play ball or do something to spend active time with him. (Your vet may have some suggestions about what is safe and appropriate given Barley’s age and health.) But if he is like most dogs, he just wants to please you and he loves loves loves spending time with you, even if it does entail walking mindlessly forever or fetching a stupid ball over and over.

Given this new routine that you are going to embark on (which we suspect will also be good for you), there are some common-sense precautions you need to keep in mind. Pay attention the weather. Dogs cannot tolerate heat as efficiently as you can, and they are at greater risk for heat stroke or dehydration during warm weather. So, plan to exercise in the morning or at the end of the day in warm weather. And bring enough water for yourself and Barley. If you see signs of overheating, stop immediately and cool him down slowly with cool (not icy cold) water. Signs of overheating include excessive panting, increased salivation, red gums, increased heart rate, vomiting, diarrhea, and general weakness.

Pay attention to the ground you're exercising on. Barley does not have Nike’s; he just has his own pads. If he has mostly been a couch potato, give him time to build endurance by limiting the time you spend on hard or rough surfaces like asphalt or gravel.

Even more important—unless you are playing with him in your fenced yard or a dog park, keep Barley leashed, for his protection and the protection of others. Even if he is very good about not running off, this is a new experience for him and you cannot know for sure how he will react to traffic or other dogs (or how they will react to him.) So be safe. And have fun.

Speaking of having fun, bring Barley to the Rover Run 5K and Family Fun Day on Sunday, September 10th at Fallbrook Recreation Center. There will be the 5K, which you can run either timed or untimed, a 1 Mile Family Walk, lunch, kids’ games and races, and a demonstration by the New York State Police K-9 Unit. You can learn more and sign up at www.oswegohumane.org.

The Oswego County Humane Society provides spay/neuter services and assistance, fostering and adoption of animals in urgent need, humane education programs, and information and referrals to animal lovers throughout Oswego County. Our office is located at 29 West Seneca Street, Oswego, New York. Phone (315) 207-1070. Email:[email protected] Because people & pets are good for each other.

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