It’s important that you get an exercise routine going with your dog if you want them to be healthy and be around for a while!
The American Kennel Club has highlighted some important tips on how you and your dog can get healthy together by starting a routine:
- Getting Started: Before starting a workout routine with your dog, make sure you check with your veterinarian. Consider your dog’s age, health, condition and current activity level. If your dog is overweight, you may want to “weigh in” at the vet to determine how much weight he needs to lose. Keep a journal to write down and track your fitness goals for you and your dog.
- Building endurance: When starting a new workout plan with your pup, begin slowly to build up your and your dog’s endurance level. A workout that’s too vigorous can cause injury to you and your canine friend. A good start is to take your dog for a walk or jog, play at a dog park or engage in a game of fetch.
- Vary your workout routine: There are many options when it comes to working out with your dog. Activities such as rollerblading, biking, dancing, hiking, swimming and playing Frisbee with your dog are fun workouts. Another option is agility training with your dog. In agility, dogs and their handlers run through an obstacle course racing against the clock. The sport requires conditioning, concentration, teamwork and training. For a more advanced workout, you can also try skijoring – a fun winter sport where you cross country ski while being pulled in a harness by your dog.
- Hydrate and Fuel: It’s very important that you and your dog stay hydrated during your workout. Along with your water bottle, be sure to bring clean water and a portable bowl for your dog. If your dog starts to pant too rapidly, stop exercising immediately. Make sure that you and your dog are getting the proper nutrition to fuel your workouts.
Pay special attention to your dog’s footpads and toenails. If there are any abrasions or cuts, stop exercising until they have completely healed.
When starting your dog on any exercise program, begin slowly to build up its endurance level; too vigorous a workout may cause injury.
Additional resources on responsible dog ownership can be found on the American Kennel Club Web site at http://www.akc.org.