The Great Outdoors: Pets, Patios, and Play Dates

With spring upon us, more people are spending time outdoors, and what better way to get fresh air and exercise than with your furry friend?! Turns out, we are not the only ones guilty of a little laziness. Dogs today need more activity and fresh air; plus, more exercise is sometimes the solution to bad behavior in pets, according to Animal Planet.

Here we list suggestions to enjoy the great outdoors with your pet, followed by a look at how ISF Youth’s MobSTIRS spend quality time with their own animals.

Hikes: Taking a hike outdoors is a wonderful way for you and your dog to get some fresh air and exercise. Just be sure your furry one is protected from fleas and ticks, and that you bring fresh water for both of you.

Play date and/or dog park: Socialization is so important for dogs, and local dog parks can provide a great opportunity. However, if you don’t have one nearby, but have a fenced-in yard, invite some friends and their dogs over for a play date. Just be sure to supervise so that you can make sure everyone plays nice, advises Animal Planet.

Frisbee, fetch, or even soccer: Fetch has been a great pastime for pets and owners, probably since the beginning of time! But, have you ever tried soccer? One of our family members recently taught our family dog how to go after the soccer ball, and even “guard” it from going into the backyard soccer goal!

Outdoor café: Ask your friends or search the Internet for restaurants or coffee shops that offer outdoor patio seating. When you bring your pup, attach the leash to your chair (not the table) since your weight will make a good anchor, according to Animal Planet. Don’t forget to bring water and pet treats!

Festivals: With the arrival of beautiful spring weather, it is also the start of festival season in many cities. Festivals are usually very dog-friendly, and sometimes feature local pet supply shops (free samples!) and rescue groups. Don’t forget to keep your pup on a leash, and provide plenty of fresh water.

Water activities: While many dogs naturally know how to swim, Animal Planet suggests a Coast Guard-approved pet life preserver to make sure your dog is safe in a pool, lake, or stream. At the ocean, surfing is another option, and you can get a foam surfboard for your dog, according to the site. Splashing around can be great fun for you and your dog; just be sure you research what kind of safety gear you need if your pet will be near water. If you are uncertain, ask your vet.

Don’t forget felines: We don’t always realize it, but cats can be great fun outdoors, too! If you have a high, secure fence, you can supervise as he or she explores the back yard, or even use a portable fence enclosure for some quality outdoor time. Some people use an enclosed stroller to allow their cat some fresh air and a change of scenery.

What the ISF Youth MobSTIRS say about their favorite pet pastimes!

“Milton [a lovebird] is the greatest pet ever. I like his colors! He loves to ride on my shoulder or the top of my head, and he likes to chew on paper. I love him.” –Dominic

“I have a snake called Striker. My favorite pastime with her is taking her out of her enclosure and letting her slither around my arms and hands. I love how she looks after she's just shed her skin, and her skin that came off looks pretty cool, too!” –Sydney

“I have a large Bernese mountain dog named Heidi. She’s the best. We love to play in the snow together. It’s humorous to be around her because she thinks she’s a human and has a brain like one too. Lana (one of our cats) is fun to play fetch with. She has a small, stuffed lamb that she carries around with her and if you throw it, she’ll run, and bring it back to you.”-Clara



“My dog, Pipo, is adopted and he was afraid of lots of things at first. After some months, he has [learned to like playing] sports with me, [including] sporting, jumping or just running outside [among] nature. Now, we always go running together.” –Terezka

“[My dog, Teddy] can make me happy when I'm sad; we cuddle a lot. My favourite activity with him is just walking in a forest or running. It helps me clear my mind. I love everything we do together.” –Rozalie

“I have a cat, a dog and a tropical fish. I pet my cat. He loves head bumps and I pet him while he eats his biscuits. He loves chasing strings. My dog, Esther, loves sitting with me on the trampoline, and we stare up at the sky. When she is full of energy, we throw her teddy and she loves to fetch it. We chase her, as she is not great at dropping the teddy after.” –Timothy


–Elaine DeSimone



Photos courtesy of: Rozalie, Dominic, Sydney, Terezka, and Timothy 


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