Gained A Few Pounds During Quarantine? So Has Your Furry Friend.
We all know the benefits of exercise. Those benefits also apply to your dog. According to The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, 52.5% of dogs and 58.3% of cats are overweight or obese. Being overweight or obese — whether it’s you or your pet — can lead to heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and even cancer.
Lack of exercise can also contribute to bad behavior. Many canine behavior problems occur simply because dogs are bored. Increasing physical and mental exercise is a great way to redirect your dogs attention away from problem behaviors and toward desirable ones.
It’s always a good idea to check with your veterinarian before you exercise with your dog. Some exercises, such as running, jogging, or even long walks are not recommended for puppies whose bones haven’t finished growing.
Don’t forget breed differences when exercising with your dog. Some short-legged and short-nosed breeds may need different workout plans than others. For example, short-legged dogs can’t do as much walking as larger dogs, and flat-nosed dogs can have trouble catching their breath. So make sure to check on that before diving in.
Here’s a few ways you and your dog can exercise together:
Walking Your Dog
Don’t underestimate the value of a walk. It gets your heart rate up and provides physical and mental exercise for your dog. Many of us are pressed for time. So, if you are running late in the mornings, try to get up just a little bit early — if possible. Even just a 10 minute walk with your dog a few times a week can make a big difference for both of you.
Swimming With Your Dog
Swimming is a low-impact exercise that you and your dog can do together. Of course, not everyone has access to a pool or a dog that likes water, but if you do, take advantage of it.
Play Catch With Your Dog
Play catch with your dog. Whether it’s a ball, frisbee, or another favorite KONG toy, go outside and play a game of catch. Catch can get your heart rate going too, especially if you do more of the retrieving than your retriever.
Climb stairs in your apartment building or in your home. Go up and down a few flights (remember to start slow) with your dog at your side. If you have a treadmill in your home, you and your dog can use that too.
Introducing yoga with your dog. It’s called Doga and it’s incorporating your dog into your yoga practice. You can use your furry friend as resistance in the different poses. It’s a great opportunity for teaching your dog to like handling and finish with some doggie massage. They will love it.
Dog agility is key. Running your dog from obstacle to obstacle is good cardio for you and your dog. Setting up and taking down the equipment can also provide you with some good weight training while your dog watches.
The best exercise is always the one that you will do. If you can do it with your dog, it makes it more fun and increases the chance you will actually do it. You’ll look forward to it each day and so will your furry bestie. So get up and exercise with your dog – it’s a win win.
Cindy Scott, Certified Master Trainer
The Dogs Etc
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