Upcoming Fun Ideas for Pets & Pet Owners in Springtime

by Dr. Doug Pernikoff, DVM

Clarkson-Wilson Veterinary Clinic

Vet Pet Rescue


If you are anything like me, you are praying for snow to leave sooner than later, and for warm springtime weather to take over. Sunshine changes my whole mood, making me happy, excited to get out and about, and just encourages me to explore. I was thinking that maybe, just maybe, my 4 year old French bulldog, Bruno, who is actually my ‘grand-dog’, might just be feeling similarly. So, one of my favorite springtime activities that I share with him, is simply putting on some old tennies, and heading into the woodlands behind my home. Winter’s stripping of greenery has not recovered just yet, but it is not uncommon to note small budding episodes on distal tree branching, or even along the forest floor. Melted snows and early season rains blanket the woodland slopes with seasonal spring overflows, filling the many shallow creek channels, converting them instantly into intermittent torrents of water wash. Bruno loves to explore with me, never moving more than 20 or so feet distance from me, his head often buried in a leaf pile or rooting under a decaying stump. I really love to watch him enjoy his adventure, and I find we really bond through the experience. And aside from the obligatory bath upon returning home, this sort of activity is great for pet and pet owner. Certainly, if the woodlands are not your thing, the same enjoyment comes from playing in your back yard, or even spending regular time walking the neighborhood roadways, can offer the same pleasure. Just be sure to use a leash when obvious; avoid streets with heavy traffic; watch out for non-leashed dogs to avoid; and, be sure your pets are up to date with immunizations and parasite preventatives, as these adventures can introduce many health risks as well as pleasure.

Another great activity is to join your local ‘dogpark’ program. They are rapidly materializing in many of our St. Louis communities. Dogparks provide another great opportunity for both dogs and dog owners to socialize. Dog to dog; dog to human; human to human. Regardless, these sites bring back what I remember about our childhood neighborhoods, wherein a community of friends, shared pet relations and more, existed. Be a responsible dog owner, and be clear about specific dogpark rules and guidelines that help make these visits fun, social and safe for our pets and for our pet owners.

Checkout special training programs, possibly at one of the big chain pet stores, or by reference from your veterinarian or groomer. Classes for both puppies as well as adult dogs, can prove to be great fun. Often, there are breed specific ‘meet-ups’ scheduled and advertised on line. My Bruno genuinely appears to recognize other Frenchie’s, maybe because their physical and behavioral social actions are fairly consistent and unique to the breed? Nonetheless, enjoying a whole group of 30-50 Frenchies in one space is pretty exciting and energy spending.

Finally, any time spent with your beloved pets, is a good thing. If you are simply not physically able to enjoy some of these mentioned activities, you can have just as much fun at a large pet shop, milling through the aisles, exploring treats, unique supplies and toys. Of course, it is another great opportunity to share your pet with others and for your pet to socialize with new animals as well as people. Again, I always caution folks to control the amount of freedom allowed in any dog to dog interactions, at least until you can validate safety for all concerned.

Take advantage of the upcoming springtime. Get out and about with your beloved pets. It is healthy for you and for them both. Enjoy, be safe and be well! And, be sure to visit us on Sunday, March 4th at the upcoming Healthy Planet Natural Living Expo. Check out directions and other pertinent information in the Healthy Planet publication or online at www.thehealthyplanet.com.



Fondly, Dr. Doug Pernikoff