Sheryl Matthys, The Dog Expert and Founder of Leashes and Lovers
March, 2009
For most of the country, wintertime is not as active for our dogs or us. I love the renewal of spring and along with that a fresh start on organizing, exercise, and health. Here are some tips!

Either create or tidy up a drawer/closet where you have your dog’s items. Have separate baskets for hygiene items like flea/tick medication, heartworm pills, and any nutrients/vitamins. Then in a different basket, place a toothbrush and paste. Ideally, it’s good to brush your dog’s teeth everyday as they get plaque just like we do. While I don’t necessarily get to it every day, I mark on the calendar Sun./Wed./Fri. as my dogs grooming days. While organizing their baskets, toss anything old and make a list of supplies needed (medications, new collar, new ID tag where your contact info is easily readable and up-to-date.)

When it’s cold, it’s a challenge to stay in a routine. Spring is a great time to refresh a schedule. Designate a time of day, and select days for a nice walk – at least 30 minutes. I have on my calendar 30 – 45 minute walks on Monday, Thursday, and Saturdays. Fifteen minute walks on the alternate days. Plan out what’s best for you and your dog based on health and age. Aim to exercise either morning or evening hours avoiding the heat of the day. And, remember even little dogs need exercise. It’s easy to forget that the “purse dog” needs to stretch those legs too for optimum health.

Do you know your dogs ideal weight? You should actually be able to feel your dogs ribs and see a waist tapering in front of the hips if your dog isn’t too furry. If not, guess what? Your dog probably needs to shed a few pounds. While it may look cute to have a somewhat pudgy pooch, this could lead to diabetes and arthritis.

Author Bio: Sheryl Matthys is The Dog Expert, a dog trainer, and Founder of Leashes and Lovers. Sheryl Matthys talks with dog lovers on how their dogs impact their personal relationships and doles out advice, tips and information everything dog. Leashes and Lovers offers online connections on FetchaFriend where dog lovers can connect for friendship, networking, doggie playdates, same breed of dog, find products/services, a date or even possibly love! Sheryl has two children, two greyhounds and is a certified dog trainer. She’s a former TV/radio newsreporter and adjunct professor for the Univ. of Notre Dame, St. Mary’s, and Indiana University – SB.