What are the best ways to exercise with your dog?

woman working out

Working out with your canine can be a great experience for both you and your dog. Conversely, if not approached in the correct way, it can be a terrible experience for all involved. By following a few guidelines, you can experience a fun and a playful way to bond while reaping the benefits of cardiovascular activity.

You should respect the health of your pet as you do your own well-being. Before exercising with your dog, take him in for a check-up to make sure your dog is physically fit enough to handle a long run or longer periods of play. Consider your dog’s age, health issues and the obstacles you may encounter while on your excursions.

Remember, this workout is more for your dog’s benefit than yours. If you have an older dog, you may have to take it a little easier than if your dog is just a pup. However, if you have a puppy, make sure he or she is up to the task before getting too far to turn around and make it back safely.

Tips for Working Out with Your Dog

Start off slow to increase longevity

In regards to working out with your canine pal, always start slow to warm up. After warming up, be sure to build up your dog’s stamina over a period of time before attempting to perform a long run or hard work out. Again, make sure they have the ability to do so before attempting physical activity. Humans would train for a marathon months out before competing on race day, building up mileage over time. Take this same thought process into your dog’s regimen as well. Don’t forget the post-workout routine.  It is recommended that you walk your pooch for at least 10 minutes after they are through working out to make sure their muscles can properly cool down.

Consider your dog’s breed

Whether you have a large retriever or a small weenie dog, exercise is important. Weight issues can adversely affect the way they live and even worse, their lifespan. Consider your dog’s breed before implementing a workout routine. Some dogs are built as sprinters, so bringing them along for your 10K training runs may not be your best bet, but going to the park and playing fetch will be right up their alley. Other dog breeds can handle longer endurance-based activities and can tolerate longer distances.

Weather will affect their performance

The environment and its elements are commonly disregarded when thinking about pets. A cool, damp morning might be perfect temperature-wise but can increase the chance of your dog slipping while running. During the summer, cooler morning runs or late evening walks will help both you and your pet to avoid heat strokes. Restricting activity to the cooler times in the day will also help your pet avoid hot surfaces that may burn their pads and cause damage to their paws. Humans have shoes to protect our feet in the middle of the day, but our pets don’t have that luxury.

Hydration is Key

If you take anything away from this article, make sure it’s this: stay hydrated. It’s always a great idea to have water on your for both you and your pooch to keep the liquids flowing. Remember, our pets depend on us greatly. Don’t push it too hard, as exercising should always be fun for our furry friends.

Afterward, be sure to check up on your pet. If you go on a hike, check for burrs and ticks, scrapes and cuts and allow your pet to properly rest before your next outing.

Advice from Professional Dog Trainer, Kris Butler, at American Dog Obedience Center

Consider your dog’s stage of life and current physical condition

Kris emphasizes that when trying to assess an exercise regimen for your dog, you should also consider the age of the dog and the individual’s current condition. Young dogs’ growth plates should be monitored closely by a veterinarian before engaging them in strenuous activity. Kris is a certified a Fit Paws Master Trainer. She recommends once you’ve decided on an exercise program, look at using Fit Paws inflatable equipment. Because the surface is unstable, like that of a yoga ball, it will work your dog’s physical core and will help increase their balance. Utilizing an effective workout plan for you dog will help add to their quality of life.

Working out should never be work for your pet. Make a game out of it and make sure they’re enjoying themselves. Always engage with your pet throughout the workout and be aware of your pet’s tendencies during activity. A quick run or a long hike can be an extremely gratifying activity for you and as long as you both are happy, you’ll have a very satisfied and equally grateful pup.