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Cool tips for a walk with your 4 legged friend

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  • 1. Walk Your Dog When It's Cool

    This is an obvious tip, but one that folks sometimes don't consider enough. Spring, summer, and even fall are great seasons to take your dog out on sunny walks, but be mindful of the temperature and when and where you walk him. The best time to walk your dog is in the morning or late evening, when the pavement is cool. Avoid walking your dog in the afternoon or early evening when it's hot outside, because the pavement will be its hottest.

    2. Toughen Your Dog's Paws

    During cool times of the day, you should walk your dog on pavement, because the hard and rough surfaces will toughen the pads on your dog's paws. This will help to make her pads tougher, providing a natural resistance to damage from hot surfaces.

    3. Stay On The Grass When It's Hot

    If you end up taking your dog out during the warmer times of the day, be sure to stay on the grass and stick to shady areas. Stay away from sidewalks or any paved areas to avoid burning. A shady park can be a great place to take your dog on a warm afternoon.

  • 4. Moisturize Your Dog's Paws

    You want your dog to have tough paws, but you don't want them to get too dry or they will be more susceptible to cracking, peeling, and cuts. These dry signs in your dog's paws can also make them more susceptible to burns from hot pavement. Consider moisturizing your dog's pads daily, especially in hot weather, to help prevent injuries and burns.  Paw Nectar is a highly-rated, 100 percent natural, treatment for dry, cracked paws.  Use it regularly.  It will not hurt your pup if he licks it.  Paw Nectar can also be used on a dog's dry or cracking nose.


    5. Use Paw Wax

    Paw wax can easily be spread on your dog's paw pads prior to walking to protect them from rough or hot surfaces. Paw wax is designed to protect your dog's feet from several potentially harmful surfaces and chemicals, like road salts. A favorite is Musher's Secret Paw Wax, which dog owners apply for many surface solutions - ice, snow, heat, sand, rocks, gravel...etc.

  • 6. Try Dog Shoes

    Dog shoes are a good way protect your dog's paws from all kinds of harmful surfaces and potential injuries if your dog will wear them. Also, they must fit her properly or they might pose a danger.  Be aware that not all dogs can get used to dog shoes, and some might have a hard time walking in them.

    Make sure you get the right size and purchase shoes with rubber or neoprene soles, as they are most protective against damaging surfaces. There will definitely be an adjustment period for your dog trying to walk with dog shoes on, but if you can get your dog used to using them, they could be a solution for hot and cold weather hazards. You might want to read this article on how to encourage your dog to wear shoes.

  • 7. Consider All-Terrain Boots

    All-terrain boots are similar to other dog boots, but they are more rugged and, generally, more expensive. But if you have an active, athletic dog and she hikes, runs, loves the snow, sand, water, and well... hot pavement... the cost of the boots are well worth it.  Canine Equipment's Ultimate Trail Dog Boots are made of recycled rubber and have snug wrap-around closures. 

  • 8. Grab Some Socks For Your Dog's Paws

    Dog socks are intended for indoors and are a last resort solution if you need to take your dog onto the hot pavement. Make sure the socks have rubber or neoprene soles or your dog will burn his feet. Sock soles are much thinner than shoe soles.

  • 9. Get Dog Shoe Suspenders

    I didn't believe them either, but there is a solution designed for dogs who won't wear their shoes and socks. It's called Canine Footwear Suspenders Snuggy Boots. Actually they are adjustable suspenders and they don't come with snuggy boots, or any boots, but if your dog really needs to wear boots to protect him from the hot pavement or any other surface, these suspenders may be worth a try.

  • 10. Check And Clean Your Dog's Paws Frequently

    Be sure to check your dog's paw pads daily for any signs of damage and check between his paw pads for any stones or other debris; pull them out gently.  You can wipe his paws off with a room temperature damp cloth before moisturizing the pads of his feet with Paw Nectar. If you do happen to see a problem, or if your dog is acting strangely on his feet, be sure to take him to the vet.

 

 

 

 

Exercise for kids should be fun. Instead of "working out," think of it as "exercise play." It helps them to do better both academically and behaviorally.


 

Running

Boy running outside with two girls in background

Running is just about the simplest form of exercise there is, and it's perfect for kids. They love it! Kids can run outdoors but also inside: in a gym, down a hallway, or even around (and around, and around) a large table. Running can also be combined with other moves into games, like relay races. More on that later!

Change things up while running: Vary movement patterns by having kids switch from running to skipping, or try running in place with feet very close to the ground (this is called "fast feet").

Kids can also run with high knees (lifting alternating knees toward the chest with each step) or "butt kicks" (kicking alternating heels toward buttocks with each step). Changes of direction (side-to-side or reverse) work both muscles and brains, improving kids' coordination.

Four kids jumping

Get those feet up and off the ground for easy exercise that kids will want to do. Jumps build muscle strength, cardiovascular fitness, and endurance. Fun jumps for kids to try include:

  • Jumping Jacks: stretch arms and legs out to the side like a starfish while jumping; on the second jump, return arms to sides and legs to center on landing
  • Tuck Jumps: bend knees and lift heels high while jumping
  • Hurdle Hops: jump side-to-side or front-to-back over pretend hurdle
  • One-Foot Hops: lift one knee and jump on standing leg; alternate (this is a great balance challenge too!)
  • Criss-Cross Feet: jump straight up, then cross one foot in front of the other; on next jump, switch feet and continue.
 

Squats and Lunges 

Kids doing squats in gym
Hero Images / Getty Images

You do them, and kids can do them too: Bend those knees (but not too far) for squats and lunges! These simple exercises build leg strength to give kids a good foundation for all kinds of sports and fitness activities. Try forward, backward, and side lunges as well as classic squats.

You can incorporate jumps into a squat sequence by having kids hop after they stand up in between squats.

 

Sit-Ups and Push-Ups

Girl doing sit-ups in gym class
CulturaRM / Annie Engel / Getty Images

Hit the floor for basic exercises that work the core: Sit-ups, push-ups, and planks. Kids can do traditional abdominal crunches, bicycle crunches, legs-up sit-ups, and more. There are so many variations on the classic sit-up.

Kids can also learn to do basic push-ups and planks to strengthen their upper bodies and core muscles in the abs and back. As with other exercises like squats and lunges, incorporate these into games and other exercise activities (see next step) to keep kids engaged and having fun.

 

Exercise Games

Kids running in gym
John Giustina / Getty Images

To make exercise more fun for kids, turn it into a game. 

  • Squat Relay: Have kids line up on opposite sides of the room, facing each other. On "go," all kids run toward the center of the room and meet in the middle. They do three squats, giving each other a high-five with both hands in between each rep. Then they return to the starting point and repeat. The focus is on the high-fives and the social interaction. If you have a large group, you could have the lines shift sideways between reps so kids meet a different friend in the middle of the room each time.
  • Corners: Divide kids up so that they each have a home corner. Then have them run around the room in a circle, On your cue, they return to their home corner and do a few easy exercises (say, 5 jumping jacks or one 30-second plank). Let kids decide what exercises to do in each corner to give them ownership over their game.
  • Go Back and Hit It: On "go," kids run forward in designated lines (see photo). Then call out "Back" so they have to run in reverse. Finally, cue "Hit it!" to incorporate another skill, such as a tuck jump or squat. Again, give kids input on choosing the "hit it" skill.
  • Traffic: Kids stop and start at red and green lights, but they also do a side shuffle for a yellow light, do bunny hops at speed bumps, link elbows and run with a partner for a "carpool," and even gallop when the cue is "deer crossing." Make up some more moves with your kids!
 

Finish With Stretching

Group of young kids stretching
Ariel Skelley / Getty Images

After exercise play with kids, follow up with some simple stretches to keep muscles strong and healthy. A stretching sequence and cool-down can also help transition kids into a more relaxed state post-workout (hey, we can dream!) and help prevent injuries.