Although August 26 is National Dog Day, canines deserve our appreciation year-round for the love, devotion and helpfulness they contribute to our lives. Activities for observing this celebration of humankind's best friend in Southwest Florida range from fun romps on the beach to health checkups at veterinary clinics.
Visiting a Pet Clinic
It's difficult for dogs and other furry family members to have fun if they aren't feeling well. Yet visiting an unfamiliar veterinarian while ill increases their discomfort. Getting acquainted with a vet during a low-key wellness exam makes eventual visits for urgent care less scary for pets.
Of course, you don't have to wait for National Dog Day to set an appointment.
If you are a pet owner and new to living in Fort Myers or Estero, you probably haven't yet selected a doctor for your dog or other pets. To make the task easier, here is a list of reliable, local veterinarians.
Making Frozen Doggy Treats
Another way to keep your dog healthy is by providing a well-balanced diet, including snacks. Dogs love chilly treats during hot weather. Some even like to crunch on ice cubes.
Healthy recipes for doggy ice cream often substitute lower fat, less sugary ingredients, such as bananas, strawberries and peanut butter.
Some recipes include chopped, cooked chicken or beef.
Writing at The Bark, dog owner Karen London describes how to create a layered, frozen treat inside a rubber Kong® toy. It isn't just the flavor that dogs love. London says that they also enjoy the problem solving and work involved in emptying a frozen Kong.
Attending Yappy Hour
To raise funds for the Gulf Coast Humane Society and help people meet adoptable dogs, various local restaurants host "yappy hours." You can celebrate your pet and dogs, in general, by attending one of these ongoing events held monthly.
A number of pet-friendly restaurants at Fort Myers' Bell Tower Shops, Daniels Parkway and U.S. 41, hold yappy hour 6 to 8 p.m. on the second Friday of the month. Yappy hour at Millennial Brewing Co., 1811 Royal Palm Avenue, Fort Myers, is 6 to 8 p.m. on the second Tuesday.
Playing Fetch on the Beach
Many dogs love playing fetch, and some even enjoy dashing into the surf to retrieve a stick. One location where dogs may run free is Dog Beach, 8800 Estero Boulevard, Fort Myers, which is maintained by the Lee County Parks and Recreation Department.
Taking a Cruise
The cruise company Pure Florida, which is located in Fort Myers and Naples, is offering a half-day Bark on the Ark cruise on August 26 to celebrate National Dog Day. It includes playtime on the beach at Keewaydin Island.
Romping at Dog Parks
For dry-land romps, Lee County Parks and Recreation offers six fenced, off-leash dog parks and six more pet-friendly parks where your dog needs to be on a leash. For maps, directions and phone numbers click here.
Shopping for Treats
Trips to the local pet supply store to purchase kibble, treats and toys are a favorite activity for many dogs who savor the fragrances and friendly staff. That includes local Petsmart and Petco stores.
Pet bakeries that welcome dog visitors are an extra special treat. You'll find two in Estero:
Choosing a Pet-Friendly Community
One of the easiest ways to treat your dog well is to live in an apartment community that welcomes pets, such as the Springs at Gulf Coast or the Springs at Six Mile Cypress. Both include fenced, leash-free dog playgrounds and pet spa areas. If you plan on living in Estero or Fort Myers, call us today for more information about pet friendly apartments at the Springs.