It's Pokemon Go – the latest craze sweeping the nation. Even though the game hasn't been out that long, Pokemon Go has already become the biggest mobile game in the world. This entertaining phone app has gotten people out and about to catch these fun little creatures, and people are finding themselves walking more then ever.
Everybody knows what Pokemons are. To give you a brief explanation, Pokemon Go is a game app for Android and iOS that uses your GPS location and shows you available Pokemons in the area. If you're lucky enough to catch one of the critters, you can keep it.
In order to hatch Pokemon eggs, you have to log a certain number of kilometers by walking. The app tracks your speed as well, and if you're going too fast (like when driving in a car) your distance does not count toward egg hatching.
Of course, this craze means many people are getting more exercise than normal. For many pet owners, this means their dogs are getting more exercise too! News about this app are coming out daily, with some of the recent stories covering how the game encourages people to bring animals from shelters and even dogs being saved thanks to Pokemon Go.
Some people have been taking this craze way too far, however. One of the players has dyed his dog to look like one of the critters, Pikachu, and the public did not take that well. So if you are trying to play Pokemon Go with your dog, here are a few things to keep in mind before you head out to try to catch 'em all.
How to Play Pokemon Go With Your Dog
So why should you bring your dog with you when you play Pokemon Go? It's a great chance to have some quality time with your pet. People are finding that their dogs are more excited to go walking when their owner is excited about Pokemon Go.
If you have a dog who balks at going out, try transferring some of your own excitement while playing the game! You might be surprised to see your dog has a great time and goes farther then usual.
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Of course, another consideration is your pet's physical health. Walking is excellent exercise for you and your dog, so if your pup is a little too chubby or out of shape, Pokemon Go can be a great way to help. Most veterinarians recommend walking to improve your dog's health, and Pokemon Go will only make it more fun for both of you!
One consideration to remember – if your pup is very obese or elderly, ask your vet before taking him out to ensure he is healthy enough for a long walk.
In addition to your pup's enjoyment and health, walking regularly with your dog can improve his energy level, assist with his training and deepen your relationship. If you struggle to find the motivation to get out and take your dog for a walk, Pokemon Go might be just what you need to get going! It's an entertaining way to complete a ‘chore' that might not usually appeal to you or your pup.
Eyes and Ears Open
Pokemon Go is a great incentive to get out for some exercise, for both you and your pup. However, it can be easy to get distracted when you are chasing that elusive Snorlax. For the safety of you and your pooch, make sure you are paying attention to your surroundings while playing Pokemon Go.
While roads and crosswalks are obvious places to be careful, you should watch your environment while in a park or building too. While this is important when you are alone, it's even more important when going out with your dog. You have an extra buddy to worry about!
Fido could easily get into mischief outside, especially when distracted by all those smells and sights. You'll need to make sure you can keep an eye on him while also playing your Pokemon game.
A few tips to help you keep your dog safe:
- Use a shorter leash. Avoid retractable leashes that allow your dog to get too far away from you.
- Map out your route ahead of time. Go places you and your dog are already familiar with.
- Avoid busy roads or highways. Find routes that have good sidewalks and paths for walking.
- For evening and night walks, have reflective collars and accessories ready for both you and your pet.
- Stop when catching a Pokemon or using a Pokestop. These things require your complete attention, so don't try to keep moving while also doing these tasks.
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Many people have said that once they start hunting Pokemon, they don't realize just how far they've gone! It can be easy to walk a few miles without even realizing it. When walking with your pet, you'll need to make sure you are paying attention to how far from home you're getting.
Your dog, depending on his size, age and activity level, can only go so far. Don't wear him out too much! You'll also need to pay special attention to the weather. If the temperature is too hot, you should restrict your walks to early morning and later in the evening when it is cooler.
The other thing to remember is that your dog can get dehydrated and thirsty, especially in the heat of the summer. You can too! Before you head out to catch some Pokemon, prepare a bag for you and your pup.
A backpack will be the best option for walking, but messenger bags work well too. Ideally, you should pack the following:
- A snack/treat for both you and your pup, just in case
- Poop bags
- A spare leash/collar/ID tags, including a copy of your pup's rabies license
Help Dogs While Walking Yours
If you are taking your dog with you while you play Pokemon Go, chances are you are a canine lover. There are a few different ways you can help dogs and animals in general while playing Pokemon Go. The easiest way to to use supplemental apps on your phone while walking your dog and chasing down Pokemon.
These walking apps will log how far you go and donate money to different charities and animal shelters. Some of the most popular apps include:
To use these apps, download them and run them while you are out walking with your pup or playing Pokemon Go. Just be prepared for a bit more battery usage. Since Pokemon Go uses a lot of battery power anyway, you'll likely just be charging your phone when you get home regardless.
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Another way to help out some pups is to check at your local shelters and see if you can walk their dogs!
Many shelters are allowing virtual Pokemon trainers to take their adoptable dogs for walks. Not only is this a great way to let the dogs get some fresh air and exercise, it also promotes the shelter and lets people meet the dog who needs a home.
Pokemon Go is great fun for humans, but dogs are enjoying getting in on the action too. With these tips, you can include your dog in the fun safely and even help him become healthier and happier.
And here's a video of a Pokemon Go dog walk: