Keeping Cool

You want to exercise your dog but you also know the summer temperature and humidity can be dangerous. How do you keep your pooch cool and yet enjoy the outdoors? Try some of these options!
1. Walk early morning and later in the evening. The morning is the preferred time as the ground has had all night to cool off, therefore cooling the asphalt and cement so it is better on the paws.
2. For longer fur, clip the belly allowing for more ventilation.
3. Wet him down before you hit the road. Take a spray bottle of water to moisten as needed, helping to evaporate the heat. You can use it for his drinking water too.
4. Find outlets where there are water sources like ponds, creeks, and pools. Minimally get a few stops where he can at least get his feet wet to help in cooling. Or make your own canine water park and have some fun playing in the water of your own back yard!
5. Neck coolie wraps are a lightweight, easy to apply, and an underutilized cooling method. Small plastic cooling gels covered with fabric that can be tied around the neck and sit over the carotid artery and jugular vein. As the blood in these vessels passes by the cooling wrap, the temperature of the internal arterial and venous blood is lowered. Keep these in your freezer and apply before you take your dog for a walk or outdoor play time in the summer.
6. Similar to the neck coolie is a body vest of similar design. This will be heavier but for a capable individual this will add additional body cooling on hot days.
7. If exercising outside is just not possible consider the underwater treadmill. It’s like you mall-walking; indoors, climate-controlled, gets the circulation going yet avoiding the heat and humidity. Another advantage for this exercise is that the overweight or older pet can walk easier since they weigh less in the water.
Exercise can be fun for your pooch, and good for your health as well. Take plenty of water for both of you. If it will be a hotter day consider Pedialyte or Gator-aid type products to keep electrolytes in circulation. And by the way, those neck coolies work for you too!

© Integrative Veterinary Education, Inc.

A Good Night’s Sleep

Nothing is better than a good night’s sleep. Right? Well, for some pets that means day and night. Aside from looking out the window longingly, eating if they can find something, or grooming themselves, what do they do while you are at work? Sleep. Depending on who you are quality of sleep can be even more important than quantity of sleep. Smaller animals, which often have higher rates of brain metabolism, tend to require more sleep, while larger animals generally get less sleep. Herbivores and land-grazing animals use so much time eating they don’t have much time left for sleep.
A lot of research is spent studying sleep patterns in animals. “The only way to understand human sleep is to study animals,” says Jerome Siegel, PhD, professor of Psychiatry at the UCLA Center for Sleep Research. “If we could better understand animal sleep, we could better understand the core aspects of sleep.”
Rapid eye movement (REM) and the brain wave pattern during REM sleep are similar in animals and humans. REM is the sleep state that is associated with dreams. Both humans and all other mammals display the same level of brain activity and increased heart rate variability during REM sleep. You have probably seen your dogs bark or twitch their legs while sleeping. That is REM sleep.
Then there’s the biological clock. Much of the sleep pattern – feeling sleepy at night and awake during the day – is regulated by light and darkness. Light – strong light, like bright outdoor light (which is brighter than indoor light even on cloudy days) – is the most powerful regulator of a body’s biological clock. The biological clock influences when one feels sleepy and when one feels alert. As a result, finding the balance of light and darkness exposure is important.


  • Light – For diurnal creatures light during the day sets the internal clock for the night’s rest and repair. Make sure to expose yourself and your dog to enough bright light during the day. Find time for sunlight, take the dog for a walk or ride the horse. Infrared sauna is good for this too. Then before bedtime start dimming the lights in the house so that by bedtime all is dark. Cats are somewhat nocturnal so who knows what they will decide to do!
  • Noise – Animals are even more tuned in to changes in sounds around them than humans are. Avoid a lot of commotion when it’s sleep time.
  • Temperature – Better to be a little cooler than too hot. The internal thermostat lowers as sleep ensues so a bit cooler environment will accommodate that natural effect.
  • Age – Along with the physical changes that occur as everyone gets older, changes to sleep patterns are a part of the aging process. The older one gets the harder it can be to fall asleep and more trouble staying asleep than when they were younger. However, sleep needs remain constant throughout one’s life. Medical problems and physical illnesses tend to increase with age and the effects of medication on the body can further aggravate sleep disorders. Arthritis can make it difficult to get comfortable and then stay asleep. Cognitive dysfunction in dogs typifies sleep disorders in the elderly.
  • Surface – Nobody likes to be cramped. It is clear that the sleep surface plays a role in getting a good night’s sleep. The bed needs to provide good support. Research on patients with back pain found a supple comforting mattress may lead to better sleep. If your dog has allergies you may also wish to purchase hypo-allergenic covers designed to protect from possible allergic triggers such as the dust mite.

I have found a revolutionary new dog (and cat) mattress based on superior science. The Underdog Comfort Rest System is the only brand of dog mattress that uses Comfort Float Technology™ to provide medically-proven, therapeutic benefits. Based on 35 years of science applied to humans restricted to wheel chairs and bedridden, this system uses a network of soft, flexible air cells interconnected by small channels that allow air to flow from one cell to another at a controlled rate. Infrared thermography has proven that the pressure points are protected when a body lies on this type of cushion or bed. The liner and cover are hypoallergenic, durable, and easy to clean. You can find more information at
According to the National Sleep Foundation’s 2005 Sleep in America poll, 67% of respondents reported that their bed partner snores. It didn’t say if that partner was an English Bull Dog or a Pug. Sweet dreams!

© Integrative Veterinary Education, Inc.

FitPAWS® “Power to the Dog, Fun Dog Fitness”

If you are looking to find fun ways to build a stronger bond between you and your dog, then learning the FitPAWS® way could be just the ticket! FitPAWS® is a successful conditioning program designed by veterinarians, physical therapists, and trainers that relies upon in-depth communication between the Master Trainer™, the dog handler, and of course the dog.

Canine total health focuses on mental stimulation, balance, flexibility, strength, and cardio fitness. Each plays a varying role throughout the many stages of the fitness program. Not only will the conditioning exercises help the physical components of dogs, they also bring about behavior modification, helping dogs live a healthier, longer life.

FitPAWS has developed canine conditioning, fitness and performance tools and techniques for dogs of all abilities, life stages, and jobs. Their program model is based upon scientific research from canine and other animal species including horses, as well as quadruped robotic research. They utilize new technology and uniquely designed equipment to accelerate the training goal with novel approaches, while increasing the fun index. Some of the tools include paw pods, balancing disc, K9FITbone™, wobble board, donuts, peanuts, rocker boards, agility cones and hurdles.

Each tool will be introduced at just the right time for the dog’s safe and successful progression. A goal-oriented exercise program with frequent fine-tuned assessments by a Master Trainer ensure deeper development and improved outcomes for participating dogs and their handlers. The Canine FitPAWS model works to establish a connection between all parties, to identify body performance, and then train toward a goal.

Exercise alone has been shown to decrease the risk of chronic disease in humans and dogs. Overall muscle function improves with daily exercise. If there is an injury, even with devastating issues, often these dogs will return to high quality function that defies the odds. Dogs with musculoskeletal imbalances and weaknesses tend to have higher rates of injury. A dog that has a good base of fitness developed over several years will be able to move on to tougher challenges with fewer injuries compared to a less fit dog of similar age, mental focus and body shape without a fitness base.

We realize that all dogs do not start at the same point or have the same capabilities. Whether your dog is a puppy or a senior, a performance or working dog, a family pet, or one with special conditions (like obesity), our program concepts can be applied across all life stages. Keeping our dogs fit throughout their life will ultimately reduce injuries, increase self-confidence and improve our dog’s ability to enjoy a full and high functioning life.

Some of the benefits of the training activities include:

  • Improved reaction and control
  • Increased trunk and core strength
  • Stabilization of weak areas
  • Improved balance and proprioception (awareness of the body’s position in space)
  • Increased range of motion in joints & elongation of the muscles
  • Improved sensory & body awareness
  • Preventing sports-related injuries

Contact the FitPAWS® Master Trainer™ Canine Fitness Coaches at Pet Rehab & Pain Clinic today to start having private lesson fun with your dog. “Git Fit – Play Fit – Stay Fit!”

© Integrative Veterinary Education, Inc.