Walking Can Be Fun
If the suggestion of a family walk is met with groans in your household, then perhaps it’s time to introduce some new twists to make it fun.
Try a nature scavenger hunt
Your scavenger hunt list can include whatever you’d like to get your kids moving, searching and just having fun!
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Sticks in the shape of a letter
- Insects: ant, ladybug, caterpillar, earthworm
- Something blue
- Birds: brown, red, bluePerson playing a sport
- A butterfly
- Something red
- A squirrel
- A yellow flower
- A rock
- A dog or cat
- Trash – pick it up and throw it away!
Still no takers? Perhaps you can offer a healthy reward to the winner of the hunt. Whoever finds the most items gets to pick the next family outing.
No bones about it!
Outdoor physical activities aren’t just for two-legged creatures. Our four-legged companions really do become our best friends when given the opportunity to roam the great outdoors.
If you’re tired of the normal walk around the block, here are a few other ideas to get moving with your companion dog:
Dog Parks: Dog parks are a great way to meet new friends — for both of you! (No equipment required.)
Frisbee: If your dog loves to run and jump, frisbee may be just what the vet ordered! (Equipment: frisbee and running shoes for you!)
Canicross*: Short for canine cross country, canicross is a competitive sport in many parts of Europe. But it’s not just for the “die-hards.” It’s becoming more of a recreational activity for those who simply want to walk or jog with their dog without holding a leash. (Equipment: Canicross belt, bungee line and harness for your dog.)
Bikjoring*: Bikjoring combines biking for you and running for your dog. Your dog is hooked up to your bike with a harness and runs alongside while you bike. (Equipment: Bikjoring/skijoring belt, a towline and a harness for your dog.)
*If you decide to try these sports with your dog, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) recommends first teaching your dog to run beside you without pulling — to prevent exertion or, worse, an accident. The ASPCA also advises you to use specially designed leashes for biker dogs and to always attach the leash to a harness, not a regular collar.
Helping your dog stay fit
Dogs need good food and exercise as much as their guardians so they make the perfect exercise companions. But before you start exercising with your four-legged buddy, keep in mind these important safety tips:
- Start with a vet visit to have your dog evaluated for any heart, lung or other health problems.
- Watch for signs that your dog is over-exerting: fast breathing, excessive panting, staggering or refusing to follow.
- Bring along a water bottle and foldable drinking bowl to prevent dehydration.
- Feed your dog treats with wholesome ingredients that promote dental health, provide vitamins and antioxidants and assist with achy joints...like our homemade doggie snack recipe!
Recipe: Healthy Dog Snacks [PDF]
Living with a fat cat
Believe it or not, cats need exercise, too. While cats don’t go on walks or bike rides, you can help them watch their weight.
Experts say the best exercise is object play that lets them use their hunting skills. They are predators, after all.
Here are some ideas to bring out the prowl in your companion cat:
- Use squeaky toys to mimic the actions of an animal a cat would hunt, such as a mouse, bird, lizard, rabbit or bug.
- Shine a laser pointer and move it fast across the floor.
- Roll a ball from side to side.
- Tie a piece of string around your ankle so your cat can chase it as you walk.
Cats like special treats just as much as we do. Here’s one homemade treat from Freecathealthtips.com that will give your cat something to purr about:
Recipe: Cat Crackers [PDF]