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Spring Into Action: April Is Active Dog Month

Dogs in a field

After a frosty winter, what better way to get outside and enjoy the sunshine than spending quality time with your best fur friend? April is Active Dog Month, which encourages pet parents and their pups to get moving.

What Is Active Dog Month All About?

Active Dog Month, or Canine Fitness Month as it’s also known, promotes the importance of exercise for dogs. A 2018 study by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) revealed that 56% of dogs were either obese or overweight. Interestingly, 2018 was also the start of Active Dog Month.

The primary focus of this dog-centered celebration is reinforcing the importance of physical activity for dogs of all ages. April is the perfect time to remind people and pups to stay active as dreary winter months begin making way for sunshine and warmer days.

Physical and mental activities are critical for your dog’s health and keep them out of trouble. No matter how old or young, big or small, or what breed your dog is, getting exercise is essential.

Dogs sitting outside

Take It Outside in April for Active Dog Month

There’s a reason Active Dog Month is in April. The idea is to encourage exercise by showcasing the pleasant, warmer spring days and tempt people to emerge from their winter cocoons. Therefore, plenty of the things you’ll find to do with your dog during Active Dog Month are outdoors.

1. Take Your Dog for a Walk

One of the most popular ways to exercise your dog is to take them for a walk. All you need is a durable, reflective leash, collar or harness, and some poop bags (always scoop when your pup poops). Walking is a great way for you and your dog to stay active.

When Is the Best Time to Take Your Dog for a Walk?

The main consideration for timing your walks is the temperature. For example, during summer, midafternoon isn’t the best time to walk your pup because of the increased risk of heat exhaustion and sunburn. 

It’s also important to think about how hot the ground gets. Therefore, walking during the early morning and the evening hours are your best options.

However, when it’s cooler outside, walking too early or too late might make things a bit too frigid for your pup (and you). Therefore, during these times of year, wait until later in the morning when things warm up slightly. Dogs thrive on routine, so once you decide on the best times to walk your pooch, try your best to stick to those times.

How Long Should a Dog Walk Last?

The length of your walk depends on your dog’s age, activity level, and health. A larger, high-energy dog may need multiple lengthier walks, while a small pup is happy with a 15-minute stroll around the block. If you’re unsure, discuss things with your vet.

Always monitor your dog during a walk. Make sure they’re maintaining the pace and don’t seem overheated. Allow them to rest if necessary, and don’t force them beyond their limits.

Where Should You Walk Your Dog?

Always keep safety in mind when going for a walk. Choose populated areas you are familiar with so you don’t get lost. Also, make sure the place you pick is dog-friendly. For example, a walking path or sidewalk is available so you don’t end up walking in the street or having to cross busy roads.

2. Let Your Dog Make a Splash

Go swimming with your pup, but only if your canine pal enjoys being in the water. Before heading to a pond, pool, or lake, go over swimming safety with your dog. It’s also a good idea to buy a doggy life vest if your dog can’t stand with their head above the water easily.

If your pup loves water but isn’t a strong swimmer, fill a kiddie pool with a few inches of water and let them splash around with some of their favorite toys. No matter what the water depth, always watch your dog and never leave them unsupervised.

3. Visit a Local Dog Park

Take your fur friend to a local dog park to play and romp with other eager pups. Review dog park etiquette before going so your pal stays on their best behavior and knows how to play nice with his doggy friends.

4. Go Hiking with Your Pup

Enjoy a hiking excursion with your dog. Find a local trail or take a trip to a dog-friendly hiking trail near you. Pack everything you need for your trek, and choose a trail that fits your dog’s abilities.

5. Toss a Ball or Frisbee

It’s an oldie but a goodie - a classic game of fetch or frisbee with your fur baby. Smaller pups might be fine playing a game like this in your backyard. For bigger pups, you may want to take it to a larger field or dog park.

6. Create an Outdoor Ball Pit or Dig Site

Set up a plastic kiddie pool and fill it with balls. Your dog will love digging, jumping, and playing in their new ball pit. If you don't mind a little mess, turn the pool into a dig site (a great idea to keep dogs who love to dig out of your garden).

7. Go Geocaching with Your Dog

Ever wonder what it would be like to search for hidden treasure? Thanks to geocaching opportunities, you can play treasure hunter, and get in some good exercise while doing it. You search for items others have hidden during their adventures, following clues and your GPS to uncover the goods.

8. Have Fun Out on the Water

If you love being out on the water, bring your pup on a boat, kayak, or paddleboard. Make sure your dog has the proper gear (especially a life vest) before setting out on your adventure.

9. Sign Up for Tracking Trials

Does your dog love to sniff out prizes and go on the hunt? Tracking trials allow dogs to follow their noses by showing them a particular scent. Your dog follows the scent trail until they find the hidden prize. Ask your vet about tracking trial opportunities in your area.

10. Bring Your Dog Camping

Go camping with your dog and plan a few outdoor activities to do during your trip. It’s a great way to bond with your pup and stay active. But be prepared. It takes planning to ensure you have everything you need for a fun and safe adventure. Make sure you bring your Camping Bowl with you!

Indoor Activities During Active Dog Month

Of course, there’s always the chance of rain or other issues that might prevent you from taking Fido outside. But that doesn’t mean the fun has to stop. It’s possible to celebrate Active Dog Month when you're stuck indoors, too.

There are plenty of dog-friendly indoor activities to enjoy with your canine companion. Playing hide-and-seek, creating an indoor-friendly dig pit, and dedicated play sessions are all excellent ways to stay active. Other options are training sessions, setting up an obstacle course, and inviting a furry pal over for a playdate.

Enjoy an Active April with Your Dog

Now that you have a bunch of ideas on how to stay active with your dog, the only thing left to do is decide which one you want to do first. April is the perfect time to try out these fun-filled outdoor activities. If you need more ideas and tips, check out the rest of the Neater Pets blog

Here’s to a fantastic Active Dog Month! Show us how you and your dog decide to celebrate it.


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