Winter Sports for Your Dog by Margaret H. Bonham

Get away from that fireplace! Put down that cup of cocoa! Winter sports abound, whether you hear the call of the wild or would just like a taste of some fun things to do with your dog.

Try sledding. No, not talking running thousands of miles across the frozen tundra. If you have one to three dogs over 35 pounds, you can try hooking up a team for racing around the frozen trails around home. Lightweight kicksleds and sprint sleds work well for small teams. If you feel adventurous, you might even try racing your team – but don’t worry. Sprint races usually run one mile per dog. Check out:

If you’re a skier, try skijoring, where your dog pulls you on skis. Skijoring requires minimal equipment: a harnass for you and the dog, a towline, and of course, ski equipment for you. Check out:

Does your dog drag you around? Try weightpulling where your dog pulls a heavy load over a short distance. This sport is great for the tiniest toy dog all the way to the giant breed with five weight divisions.

You can have great fun with these wintertime sports. You can also check out other sports in my book, The Simple Guide to Getting Active with Your Dog (TFH: 2002), available at bookstores, on, and on my site Check out my website for a list of suppliers.

Other websites to check out:

  • International Sled Dog Racing Association (ISDRA) –
  • International Federation of Sled Dog Sports (IFSS) –

Margaret H. Bonham is an award-winning author of eight books including, “The Complete Guide to Mutts’ (Howell, February 2004), The Simple Guide to Getting Active with Your Dog, and Northern Breeds (Barrons, 2002) available in better bookstores everywhere.

Posted in dog, exercise, sports, uncategorized |

Pets Feel Pain Too

Have you ever suffered from a toothache? Could you ignore that dull, throbbing ache? Could you sleep well? Eat well? Probably not. The fact is pets feel pain just like we do, but they can’t tell you where it hurts.

Well, your pet can tell you – if you pay attention. Signs of pain include unusual tiredness, limping, poor appetite, “chattering” teeth while eating, yelping, crying, excessive licking, and reluctance to use stairs. Some pets tend to be stoic (particularly cats), masking their pain. Be observant. If you have any doubts, ask your veterinarian. Being in pain is not fun for you – it’s not different for pets. You don’t want your pet to suffer.

Your veterinarian has many new, effective treatment options for controlling pain – including arthritis in dogs, one of the most common conditions to cause pain.

Yummy – one of these newer treatment options is a honey-flavored liquid pain reliever. This is perfect for pets who don’t take well to taking pills. There are also many non steroidal anti-inflammatories now on the market for pets. However, never dose your pet with over the counter drugs meant for people without veterinary advice.

Posted in dog and cats, pain treatment |

Winter Bugs

Where do you think fleas flee for winter vacation? The amazing news is that they don’t go anywhere – they can stay on your pets year-round! And, surprisingly, cats are most likely to carry fleas.

In a recent flea-combing survey of over 100,000 pets to detect these stubborn, elusive little fleas, veterinarians found that one in seven dogs, and one ouf of every three cats carry fleas in the winter! For example, in New York cats, the flea incidence was over 20%. Other northern locations with similar flea-infestation results wre Colorado, Illinois, and Ohio. Warm winter homes and cozy fur provide perfect hiding places for fleas.

Your veterinarian and staff know how to search for evidence of fleas – remember, they do hide! In most cases, year-round protection is best. Talk to your vet about flea busting products like Frontline and Frontline Plus, Aside from being down right annoying, flease are not healthy for pets or for people. You can beat the flea bug.

Posted in dog and cats, fleas |

Winter Flea Facts

  • One in seven dogs have fleas in winter.
  • One in three cats suffer from fleas in winter.
  • In a study in over 47 states, veterinarians reported that 30% of cats and 16% of dogs had fleas in December; 28% of cats and 15% of dogs in January; 24% of cats and 13% of dogs in February.
  • Dogs and cats living in warm weather states had a higher percentage of flea infestation. The infestation rates usually surpassed 40%.
  • Survey was conducted by Merial from 12/2002 – 2/2003.
Posted in dog and cats, fleas |