Most dog owners already know that their fuzzy friends need plenty of activity to stay fit and healthy, which usually means ample walks and playtime. But that’s not the only way to make sure your pup stays in good shape! Your dog can also become a part of your own efforts to stay in shape, get active, and improve your health. If you haven’t tried before, there are plenty of good reasons to bring your dog into your own personal fitness routine, so be sure to try it out the next time you lace up those hiking boots or running shoes.
However, there are a few important things to keep in mind when incorporating your dog into your own fitness activities. So before you consider leashing up your Pomeranian for that half marathon you’ve got scheduled for the afternoon, consider that any exercise you want to get your dog involved with should suit their physique, personality, and physical abilities. For older dogs, puppies, smaller dogs, and dogs with joint problems or any other health issues start slow and small. Make sure they can keep up with you and your exercises without exhausting or hurting them. They should let you know if they’re not up to the task.
With 2020 being a stagnant year for many people and pups, it’s more important than ever to make sure you and your dog are staying active. Having a friend with you during your scheduled exercise time can help you stick with your routine, and you can bet your dog will benefit from the quality time and exercise too!
What exercises work best for your dog?
Certain dogs may be better suited for some exercises than others, so keep an eye on your dog’s reaction to a new exercise to make sure they’re comfortable and safe.
For all outdoor activities, pay attention to the weather to ensure a fur-coated creature won’t overheat. If it’s especially hot, consider keeping your outside exercise a bit shorter than you might otherwise.
Bring a LOT of water to keep you and your dog hydrated. yourself and your dog. A water bowl to make drinking easier is helpful, too.
Walking is almost always a great choice for you and your dog. While most dogs get a regular walk, fitness-centered walking can involve longer treks around the neighborhood, or even nature walks at a park nearby. Whether you’re going for a quick stroll through the neighborhood or several miles further, the benefits of walking can be profound for both you and your dog.
For more laborious walks or hikes, follow all leash laws and be mindful of local wildlife, and make sure your dog is able to handle the terrain. A harness leash can be helpful when the paths are dangerous or highly-trafficked.
Make sure to scope out reviews and photos of the intended hike, when possible. Some hikes can be strenuous for older dogs or dogs with shorter limbs.
If you’ve never run with your dog before, be sure to start slowly. A light jog to start is a good way to gauge how fast your dog is willing to go and for how long. Once you’re comfortable at one speed, make sure your dog is running comfortably before increasing your speed more.
While it’s true there are some dogs that could run a marathon alongside their owner, that kind of stamina needs to be built up over a significant amount of time. Many dogs will actually tire out much quicker than you may think. If your dog slows down, don’t force it to keep up.
Getting on the floor at a dog’s eye-level changes the dynamic between you and your pet. They might react playfully for a while but are likely to eventually mellow out and relax as you go through your routine. Eye contact with your dog during yoga can help improve your bond and contribute to the sense of peace you gain from the experience.
Other Stationary Exercises
As long as you’re not using heavy or dangerous equipment, exercising around dogs is a good way to engage with them and motivate them to stay active and healthy too. Squats, pushups, lunges, jumping jacks, burpees, or any other exercise with a lot of movement can be adapted into fun, playful activities for both you and your dog.
As well-trained as your dog may be, accidents can happen, so don’t bring your dog into the weight room.
Playing is Exercising!
A bit of fetch in the backyard or tug-of-war in the living room can contribute to your bond and overall health. The occasional stroll down the street or trip to the dog park can help you and your dog stay on your feet throughout the day, which is a big part of staying healthy. It’s easy to forget the importance of getting a bit of fresh air, so enjoying some time outside with your dog is a great way to burn a few calories, connect with nature, and give your pup some quality playtime.
Keeping Your Dog Active While Your Away
When you have to hit the road for a few days, make sure your best friend stays with someone who will keep them entertained and active right until you return. Greenlin Pet Resorts cares about the quality of your dog’s time in our care and will keep them safe and happy for the duration of their stay — whether it’s just an afternoon or a few weeks! We have many activities specifically designed to keep dogs active and engaged. Our staff is highly trained to facilitate playgroups, which are separated by size, age, and temperament to ensure the best time for everyone involved.
Get in touch with a dog daycare and pet resort location near you to schedule your dog’s next stay.