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Assistance Dogs in Florida don’t always get needed exercise.

Assistance Dogs in Florida don’t always get needed exercise. As I watch Andrew and Motive working and enjoying time together in the pool, I am reminded once again of the importance of keeping your assistance dog healthy and fit. Motive has always struggled with his weight. Our vet has worked diligently with Andrew to develop a feeding plan that would help Motive lose ten pounds, and for a time it was all working well. Just as with humans, Motive hit a plateau and stopped losing.

What Andrew tried

Motive relaxing after a swim

Andrew introduced string beans into Motive’s diet and reduced his kibble intake slightly. This worked for a while too; but not enough to get him to his ideal weight. On a visit to Cloud9 Goldens to meet a new litter of puppies (Finn’s litter), Megan Cloudman noticed Motive’s chunkiness and suggested that Andrew bring Motive into FloridaWild Veterinary Hospital for a check up on his thyroid and an examination by Dr. Mason. 

Motive’s trip to FloridaWild Veterinary Hospital

Motive received a thorough examination and a blood draw. Thankfully, his thyroid levels were good. It was suggested that he begin a daily supplement routine to give it a wee boost.  Mo was adjusted by Dr. Humbert, who is a certified veterinary orthopedic mobilization vet. I equated it to receiving a chiropractic adjustment. From both Dr. Mason and Dr. Humbert Andrew learned a variety of exercises to do with Motive to help him remain flexible and to assist in maintaining joint health. The goal is to keep Motive in service with Andrew for as long as possible.

They have been visiting Dr. Mason and her team monthly since they began, and Motive is just 2 pounds shy of reaching his goal. On their most recent trip yesterday, Andrew was given additional exercises to add into Motive’s routine that the entire family can do to keep him active. Their visits are now being adjusted to every other month. Andrew demonstrated the new routine to the family. Mo seems thrilled with getting even more attention than usual. I hope to be sharing more information with you about FloridaWild Veterinary Hospital soon.

What you can do to help your partner

Assistance Dogs in Florida don’t always get needed exercise due to the extreme heat and humidity. The pavement is way too hot for dogs paws and serious injury can occur with exposure. Dogs can also succumb to heat stroke.  The heat is also hard on their human counterparts who are typically medically fragile to some degree.  Alternatives such as swimming, romping in the grass in the early mornings, regular play time, and an indoor exercise routine is very beneficial to maintaining a healthy weight and keeping your service dog fit. The additional activity is great for their partners too! 

This common-sense approach to the health and well-being is working well for Motive. It requires devotion and adherence to a routine. Andrew is looking forward to many more happy, healthy years of team-work with his best friend. Assistance Dogs in Florida don’t always get needed exercise as a result of the weather. There are creative and fun ways to work around the heat and humidity to keep your service dog fit and trim.


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