Enjoy the warm weather with outdoor activities that come naturally to your pet - WJTV News Channel 12

Enjoy the warm weather with outdoor activities that come naturally to your pet

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(ARA) - During the long, cold winter months, dogs are unable to enjoy the outdoor activities that put into use their natural senses to play, run and fetch. To protect themselves and their dogs from the frigid air, many dog owners avoid the outdoors - only bringing their pets outside for a brief walk, or to load them in and out of the car for appointments. Unfortunately this inactive way of living becomes the "norm" for dogs, and inhibits their intuitions as adventurous beings outdoors.

Now that warm weather is here, it's time to hang up your coat, put away the paw-protecting booties, and bring your dog outdoors so he can enjoy real, natural living.

Here are a few ways you can help your dog rediscover their naturally active characters to help keep them healthy - you might just find that you belong outdoors, as well.

Take a hike
Though it provides slight exercise for your dog, going up and down the same set of stairs day in and day out isn't exactly the kind of easy activity for which your dog's body was built. Climbing stairs in one's home does not provide enough exercise to get your dog's heart rate going. In fact, your dog might give up on the stairs all together and stick to the main floor, as the scenery typically does not change since the last time he escalated those stairs. So, grab your leash, some water and a few treats and hit the trails. As you take in the new scenery and fresh air, your dog is able to enjoy his real, active lifestyle outdoors - not to mention, you both get a great workout as speed walking and running can help to increase your heart rate and shed extra pounds you may have accumulated during the winter months.

Play ball
Playing fetch in the living room can help your dog stay active and provides the opportunity for you both to play, however, how far are you actually able to throw before you knock over a lamp or the ball rolls under the couch? If your dog has the catching skills of a wide receiver, find a park or field to play fetch and help bring out your dog's natural talents. Or, if you think your dog would likely sit on the sidelines, he might just need that open space to bring out the MVP in him. While you're both enjoying the outdoors, you'll be amazed at how quickly time flies, and how much fun you're having bonding with your dog.

Be a social butterfly
While humans are able to interact at work, dinner or in other social settings during the winter, the social schedule of a dog seems to decrease as they are not able to frolic in the park for an afternoon. Instead, they are taken on brief walks a few times a day. Like humans, dogs like to interact with other beings, and they need that interaction to help them stay healthy and active. Help unleash the playfulness of your pup by bringing him to a local dog park. You'll be all smiles as you watch your dog playing, running and communicating with other dogs. Just be sure you read up on the rules and guidelines for that specific dog park.

Eat right
When it comes to helping your dog live up to his full potential, what you feed your dog is just as important as the activities you do with him. In fact, while the activities mentioned above can only be enjoyed for a limited time when the weather is warm, providing your dog with food containing real and natural ingredients can be a year-round routine. Nutro Natural Choice dog food uses only high-quality ingredients like farm-raised chicken, deboned lamb, and whole brown rice with added vitamins and minerals - each targeting a specific need to deliver a visible difference in your dog's health. Not to mention, Nutro Natural Choice dog food comes in multiple varieties to meet your dog's breed size and life stage. For more information about a natural diet for your dog, go to www.nutro.com.

So, what are you waiting for? Get off the couch, grab your pooch and head for the door. While you're taking in the sun's rays you'll also help your dog get back to the real activity they like to do - explore the great outdoors with you.

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