We recently moved to a house in the hills with no yard at all. This requires me to give the dogs regular scheduled walks on a variety of routes around the neighborhood. It’s not even for very long, sometimes just a brisk 20 minutes twice a day if that’s all I can fit in. And every few days we have a two-hour off-leash hike where they can go full speed up and down the trails. That is the only change.
With this routine, the labradoodle’s stools are now healthy, and the other male dog has stopped marking inside -- though that may be due to less stimulation from other dogs walking past the house.
I just want to reinforce to your readers the importance of brisk and perhaps routinely scheduled walks.
— G.W., Topanga, Calif.
Dear G.W.: Brisk, routinely scheduled walks and off-leash romps in safe and dog-sanctioned open space are all part of holistic canine health care. Experienced veterinarians always determine such lifestyle factors in making a diagnosis and in recommending appropriate treatment for a variety of health problems.
A strict activity routine before meals helps prime the dog’s appetite and digestive system before coming home and anticipating food. This mimics the dog’s natural hunting/gathering/scavenging behavior — physical activity to various degrees of strenuousness before eating two or three small meals daily. One big meal can mean bloating, vomiting, indigestion and loose stools.
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