From the Doctor’s Desk

With summer winding down, the air is getting cooler and kids are getting ready for school. Sports teams and extracurriculars are starting back up and families are gearing themselves up to spend their nights at the ball field. Dinner happens on the fly, sibling’s homework is done at the field and everyone has their game faces on. One of the joys of having kids playing sports are the nights spent with other families at the field. Whether it be for soccer, lax, football or cheer-leading the excitement is all the same.

If your family is like mine, you spend so much time on the sidelines that it feels like a second home. With that comfortability we feel inclined to take our dog to our kids practices and games. They are home alone all day while we are at work, they are so excited when we come home. How could we turn around and leave them again? If this sounds like you, I want to share a few things with you so that we can make it an enjoyable experience for everyone. Here are a few bullet points that I feel make all the difference in the world…

  • Know your dog. Not all dogs love groups, loud noises or unknown people coming up to them. As much as you want them there with you, forcing your pet into an environment they are uncomfortable in is disaster waiting to happen.
  • Be cognizant of non dog owners. As unbelievable as it may be, not everyone loves dogs. Do not allow your dog to go up to unknown people to nudge or smell them. Especially children. If they are interested in your dog allow them to approach you.
  • With the same thought in mind, please do not use retractable leashes. Regardless of how well behaved a dog may be, if they see something that excites them they will put every ounce of strength into getting to that “thing” as fast as they can. Retractable leashes are not as strong as you. The mechanism that locks the leash is weak compared to the strength of an excited pup. It is never bad to have more control. This is why I’m a big fan of harnesses. No matter how excited your dog is, he/she won’t choke themselves and you will always be in control.
  • Since so many families are living the same sport life you are, many families may be eating their dinner on the sidelines. Try as they might, it always seems like someone’s food or wrapper are dropped on the ground. Be careful not to let your dog get a hold of it. The last thing your busy schedule allows for is an emergency vet visit for gastric distress.
  • Make sure to check the rules of the field you are going to. Many school fields do not allow leashed dogs on their fields. If you make a mistake and bring your dog to this type of field, please do not leave them in the car while you and your family are at the game/practice. Even though the days are cooling down, cars still heat up faster than expected. You could be putting your dog in danger. Instead, play it safe and take them home.
  • Lastly but never least, keep your dog updated on vaccines. It is always better to play it safe.

Team sports are such an integral part of growing up. They help us teach our kids respect, the value of team work, how to build relationships and so much more. With a little help from you, your family dog can be the Mascot of the team for your little MVP.