So you’ve made it through the dog days of summer. Now that the heat and humidity levels have eased, you and your dog can look forward to a new season of hiking, pumpkin picking and more. Why not add some of our favorite dog-friendly activities to your fall bucket list? These ideas will help keep you and your furry pal active and healthy all autumn long.
The colors are radiant, the air is crisp and you and your dog can cover more ground before breaking a sweat than during the hotter months. Now is the perfect time to enjoy the great outdoors!
Before heading out, check to make sure dogs are permitted on your chosen trail. Always bring:
A leash; most trail regulations stipulate that dogs must be leashed
Fresh drinking water for both of you
Something yummy to munch on — trail mix for you and a tasty DENTASTIX™ treat for your pup
Bags to scoop your dog’s poop
If your dog isn’t up for a long hike, there’s nothing wrong with a shorter trek. The fresh air and scenery will still do you and your dog good.
Dog Park Adventures
Not in the mood for a hiking trail? Enjoy the beauty of the season and some canine companionship at your favorite dog park. The crisp fall weather brings out dogs and owners who took refuge in their air-conditioned homes during the summer.
Make sure your pup has a collar and leash for your trip to the dog park, and pay attention to whether areas are marked as leashed or off-leash.
Remember to keep an eye on your dog at all times to make sure they’re not getting into trouble or a disagreement with other dogs. Above all, have fun!
Remember the fun you had as a kid jumping into leaf piles? Lots of energetic dogs enjoy this type of autumnal mayhem, too. For older dogs, a fluffy leaf pile can be a nice bed to relax in.
Turn your yardwork into a bonding activity by raking or blowing leaves into one big pile or several smaller piles around your yard. Just make sure there’s nothing hidden in the leaf pile, like a branch or rock, that could hurt your dog.
While your dog probably isn’t interested in picking pumpkins, they’ll undoubtedly enjoy walking around the pumpkin patch with your family. Check with the pumpkin patch’s owner to make sure the location is dog-friendly. And keep your pooch on their leash, of course.
Speaking of pumpkin, did you know many dogs enjoy the taste of this classic fall flavor? Try adding a dollop of plain canned pumpkin to your dog’s food and see if it gets their tail wagging.
You and your dog can get into the holiday spirit by dressing up in costumes and hitting the streets with your kids for some trick-or-treating. Bonus points if your costumes coordinate! Just make sure your dog is comfortable in their costume. If they protest, let them go trick-or-treating as … a dog. And always keep your pup on a leash.
Important trick-or-treat safety reminder: Keep candy — especially chocolate — away from your dog. While you and the kids enjoy the Halloween candy you collected, give your pal a tasty treat of their own.
Check local listings to see if any pet parades are scheduled in your area. Many towns hold these popular events for dogs in the fall. Can’t find one close by? Consider partnering with a local animal organization and starting your own!
Many pet parades have fun themes, such as “harvest” or “Halloween,” and may require costumes — the perfect opportunity to show off your pup’s cutest, creepiest or funniest ensemble! Check for other fun activities for your dog before or after the parade, such as a best-trick contest or a pet expo.
Cozy Up Together
While fall offers lots of fun outdoor activities for you and your pup, dogs — and humans! — need some quiet relaxation time, too. The cooler evenings are a great time to cuddle up with your dog and a blanket to read a book, watch TV or just enjoy some quiet time together.
As your dog ages, you’ll likely notice changes in your best pal’s energy levels, routine and even muzzle. Older pets may require adjustments to help them get around, exercise and live their best life as a senior. One important aspect of caring for a dog entering their golden years is diet.
When it comes to diet, every dog has unique, individual needs, regardless of age. So, there's no one easy answer to the question of soft food versus hard food. Both types of food can provide your dog with the nutrition they need — as long as you feed your dog a high-quality dog food that’s nutritionally balanced and complete.
Signs Your Senior Dog May Benefit from Wet Food
If your dog has very specific health concerns, such as aging joints or weight issues, consult with your vet for more information about what type of food best addresses your dog's needs. That being said, there are a few reasons why you may consider switching your senior dog to soft food.
As your dog gets older, their teeth may become more sensitive, which can make chewing kibble more difficult and even uncomfortable. Switching to a soft food can help to alleviate your pet’s oral discomfort when eating.
However, if your dog is experiencing serious pain at mealtime from a condition like tooth decay or gingivitis, switching to soft food won't remedy the problem. Make sure you talk to your vet about oral care and dental treatment.
Digestion begins in the mouth with saliva, so if your dog has a tendency to scarf down meals, they may not be adequately chewing the food or adding enough saliva to it. Soft food can aid with digestion because it's more easily chewed.
It’s no surprise that wet food has a higher moisture content when compared to dry kibble. If your senior pup is prone to urinary-tract issues or simply needs a little help staying hydrated, canned dog food may be a good choice.
Aging dogs tend to have a slower metabolic rate compared to their younger years, which puts them at a higher risk of becoming overweight or obese. Many nutritionally balanced wet dog foods offer high protein content with fewer carbs than dry food, which can benefit older dogs with slower metabolism. Always talk to your vet if you have concerns about your pup’s weight.
While wet food may be less than appetizing to humans, the opposite is true for dogs! If your aging best friend has started turning their snout up to dry food, wet food tends to be more appealing to picky eaters. Mixing wet food and kibble offers your pup a variety of flavors and textures; try adding wet food as a topper on dry food for a real treat!
Whether you choose dry food, soft food or a mix of both, ask your vet before making any transition. And when it's time to switch your dog's food, remember to do it slowly — even if it's the same brand and flavor — to help prevent stomach upset and allow your dog time to adjust.