These days it may seem like your four-legged friend loves nothing more than to nap on the couch, cuddled up with you while you both binge on Netflix.
However, just like people, dogs need regular exercise to stay healthy. From a daily game of fetch to long walks, starting a fitness routine with your pup will keep them happy and healthy for years to come.
Exercising together not only benefits your dog’s health, but yours as well. So, while long days of snoozing and cuddling may be tempting, it’s essential for your physical and mental health that you both stay active. Keep reading for six ideas for burning calories and bonding with your furry friend.
Swimming is one of the best all-around workouts and has many advantages. Let your dog try it out, and you can swim together for healthy minds and bodies. Some of the benefits include:
- Swimming is a low impact, which excellent for older dogs.
- It will bring you both closer to nature.
- Water is calming for the soul.
- Builds muscle strength while developing cardio abilities.
- It assists in maintaining healthy lungs.
Your first step is to find a clean body of water and let your pooch try it out. If your dog seems interested, lead him to the water and encourage him to get his feet wet. If not, don’t let him down. Give lots of praise and encouragement, but don’t be overbearing. As he learns to like the water, try throwing a floatable toy to encourage his paddling.
Walking is the simplest way to exercise and spend more time with your dog. It maintains heart health, builds reflexes, burns calories, and helps create a good relationship between you and your four-legged pal.
You can make it an everyday routine or mix it up a bit. Take your pooch on mini-adventures like a hike, explore the park, check out the beach, or head to a new neighborhood for a change of scenery. Walking is the easiest way to get rid of doggie fats, enjoy the sunshine, and get some fresh air.
Just like for us humans, running all about preparation and training. If you have a puppy, you need to get them accustomed to walking and running by your side for the first year. Jog for a few hundred meters when out for a walk from time to time. As soon as your dog stays by your side, you can start increasing the running distance step by step.
As they get older, let your dog do a daily running activity but start the routine slowly. Your dog may take it too seriously and injure himself. Start with a walk, pick up the pace, then a walking-running combination. The next day, try jogging a little then do the run.
Check out these doggy running dos and don’ts from Health.com.
If you have an agile, active dog, teach him to take on an agility course. Not only can you get your pooch’s blood pumping, but you can test their smarts, fulfill their natural instincts, and build a strong bond. As the handler, you will be running alongside your dog, and assisting him with soaring over jumps, weaving through poles, and crawling out of collapsed tunnels. While you and your dog compete to finish the course, you will be treated to a fun cardiovascular workout.
While now may not be the best time to get to an actual course, you can prepare you both by simulating obstacles in your yard. There are items you can purchase online for your backyard course, or you can use what you have. That way, you and your pup will be experts by the time you can get to an actual class.
Yoga with dogs is a trend many pet parents are embracing. Many dog owners are getting their dogs involved in yoga by teaching their dogs to do some of the stretches. Let’s face it; dogs naturally are great at downward facing dog!
Getting fit with your pet doesn’t have to stop at yoga or walking, you can enjoy all the great outdoors has to offer with your dog. So, think outside the box! Some of the activities you can enjoy together are:
- Paddle Boarding
- Trail Running
- The dog park
Before you get started, it is essential to make sure your dog is well-trained for these activities. Your dog needs to be calm and non-reactive to make these excursions a success.
Watch for signs of exhaustion.
Before beginning any exercise routine with your four-legged friend, consult your veterinarian to ensure your dog is in good physical condition for the exercise you’re envisioning.
Because of their facial structure, some dogs may struggle with breathing during fast-paced training, so be sure to do your research and don’t push too hard. Some warning signs include:
- Excessive wear and tear on paws
- Heavy panting during or after exercise.
- Extreme thirst.
- Lagging behind.
- Limping, lameness, or lethargy.
- Confusion, dazed expression, or lack of focus.
- Red gums or tongue.
As an owner, it is your primary responsibility to provide the needs of your pet. Don’t let your dog be chubby and lazy. Choose the best way to give him even the purest form of exercise and spend more time together to make him feel comfortable and fit. Know everything about proper diet, the right amount of food, and a suitable workout for your dog.