We’ve always been told that more exercise lessens the risk of heart disease. Now that you’re a dog parent, there may be more facts to get you both on your feet. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, obesity has already affected 93.3 million US adults in 2015-2016 alone. The numbers for obese dogs are equally as alarming with 50 million effected in 2018-2019. This calls for action. You don’t want your dog suffering from obesity or heart disease. Unlike humans, dogs aren’t that good in expressing pain or discomfort. As a dog parent, you can start living a healthier lifestyle with your pet by checking dog care tips online and incorporating easy exercises into your daily routine. Don’t forget to consult your vet before starting any of these exercises.
This is the most recommended form of exercise because it requires the least effort and it’s simpler to do. This is especially great if you’re only starting to exercise or if you’re not used to strenuous physical activities. Walking is a great way to build up your exercise routine with your dog. It builds a stronger heart, lowers blood pressure, increases bone density, and lowers depression risks. You can start by spending at least 20 minutes a day brisk walking and build from there. Try increasing your speed and the distance of your walk.
Just like you would with walking, it’s best to check with your vet before starting to incorporate running as an exercise for you and your dog in case your pet’s condition requires you to take extra precaution. The great thing about dogs and running is that they love the speed and with their energy, they could easily keep up with you. Keep in mind though that dogs can’t sweat like us so be aware of heat and humidity. If your dog is a flat-nosed breed, make sure that your runs don’t exceed five miles or he’ll have breathing problems.
This may not seem as common as walking or running, but dancing can be a great alternative if you’re not a fan of long walks. And if you don’t know already, dancing with your dog or “Musical Canine Freestyle” is an actual sport. It’s a fun and creative way to get you and your pet to bond and move around.
If you’re worried about the stress on your dog’s joints, swimming can be a fun exercise for both you and your dog. It’s therapeutic and it strengthens joints while improving your circulation. If your dog has arthritis or dysplasia, a regular swim with him is the best choice. Creeks, ponds, or even pools can be great swimming places for your dog. If you want a more relaxing exercise, try using warm water. Don’t forget to keep an eye on your dog while swimming.
5. Frisbee or Catch
If you and your dog want a more challenging sport, playing Frisbee is the one to beat. Dogs love chasing things and it’s fun to watch them run after the disc as soon as you throw it out. This is an active sport and Frisbee for puppies and old dogs is not recommended, as you’d want to avoid injury, so make sure to check with your vet before trying it out.
6. Dog Yoga or Doga
This isn’t an exercise you’d want for losing weight, but doing yoga with your dog can improve your bond with him. This emerging trend among pet owners has been popular for many good reasons. It’s relaxing, and it also improves circulation and flexibility. Doing Doga is a great alternative exercise if your pet is recovering from an injury or illness and you want him to regain his strength.
If you’re a fan of classes, you may want to join a Doga group. It’s a great way to socialize with other dogs and dog parents. It’s also a clever way to get your do to get used to strangers and other dogs.
Preparing for Exercise
It’s best that your vet knows what kinds of exercise you intend on having with your dog. Your vet can evaluate the health condition of your dog and confirm if you’re both good to go. Skipping the vet visit or even at least checking dog care tips online can put your dog at risk. If your dog has arthritis that you’re not aware of, for example, a run or a game of fetch may be dangerous for him.
Make sure to establish a routine and reduce agitation and fear by slowly introducing the physical activity to your dog. Start small and work your way up until your dog is completely comfortable with your routine. Most importantly, know when to stop. Watch for signs that tell you your dog has already worked too hard. Excessive panting and disobedience are some of the symptoms of an overworked dog. Take it easy and enjoy the process.