A Guide to Canine Fitness

At last, 2019 is finally here and with a new year comes a New Year’s resolution. Often, we decide to make a new year a healthier one. As veterinary professionals, might we suggest that you go on this journey for a fitter life with your dog? As stated in a previous blog, over half of our nation’s dogs are overweight. Obesity puts pets at risk for developing health conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, kidney and heart disease, high blood pressure and cancer. Take a look at some activities below that you can do with your dog to help him/her live a fitter, happier life.

 

Activity is a very important aspect of the relationship between you and your dog. It strengthens your bond and most importantly can help keep you and your pet healthy. Some canines need to be challenged mentally and physically to keep certain behavior problems at bay.  Diet and lack of activity are two major factors to blame for obesity. Whether it be mental activity or physical, in this post we will briefly discuss some activities you can do with your dog to help keep you and your best friend active and healthy together.

Backyard Games

Playing fetch or frisbee is a good way to practice recall with your dog. Recall is the most important foundation your dog will need to know in life for his or her safety. Practicing this skill can be fun and enriching for your pet. This is the start of daily exercise but often for some breeds not enough to keep them fit and healthy. To determine if your dog is a breed that requires more than backyard games to keep him/her happy click on the link below.

https://www.petmd.com/dog/wellness/evr_dg_exercising_with_your_dog101

 

Obedience and Agility

Working on obedience with your dog is another way to release some of their pent-up energy. From basic obedience all the way up to agility trials or dock diving, each activity will help keep your dog mentally and physically active.

Walking and Running

Your dog looks forward to the daily walk in the neighborhood. Why not make this activity more fun and turn it into a run? You and your pet may benefit from the increase in exercise. Start out slow though and don’t overdo it.

Hiking with Dogs

Hiking is a great activity you and your dog will enjoy.  Start small with a 1 or 2-mile hike and work up to bigger trekking adventures. Just remember to follow leash laws for the area you are hiking and learn trail etiquette.

In a future blog we will go more in depth about hiking with dogs.

Biking with Dogs

Biking with your dog is a bit more intense than a 2-mile hike. You can go much faster and therefore your dog will be running most of the time. Take your time and ride at your dog’s pace not your own.

There are many ways to bike with your dog, either by using a dog specific attachment for the side of your bike, Bikejoring (urban mushing), or mountain biking. We will talk a lot more about this subject in a future blog.

 

It is very important to remember that when you are choosing an activity for you and your dog, be sure to educate yourself first to avoid any hazards that might be lurking with each activity. Gear it towards your dog’s health needs. Is your dog overweight and you are looking for a potential weight loss routine? Are you looking to burn some excess energy to hopefully lessen behavioral problems? Whatever the reason take the information in this blog and do your research. Most importantly stay safe and HAVE FUN!!

 

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