Get ready to ‘spring’ into action! April is Canine Fitness Month and what better time to grab your running shoes and a leash and get outside with your favorite furry friend.
Just like people, dogs need regular exercise to stay healthy and keeping them active is important for both their physical and mental health.
From preventing diabetes and weight-related stress on joints to meeting their mental needs, the impact of canine fitness is vital no matter the age, breed or size. Every dog needs regular exercise.
Some other benefits of keeping your canine fit include:
- Healthy weight and body condition can lead to a longer and happier life.
- Regular exercise helps older dogs move their joints and maintain muscle.
- Exercise and interactive play can reduce stress, anxiety, and boredom.
Walking or running with your dog can also help you as a pet owner by:
- Boosting your mood.
- Lowering your blood pressure.
- Strengthening your bond with your pet.
- Keeping you motivated to exercise regularly.
Having a canine companion gives you a great excuse to get out and exercise. Whether it’s a leisurely stroll around your neighborhood or running along a park trail, you and your dog can both benefit.
But before you begin an exercise regimen, you should take your pet to a veterinarian to make sure there are no health concerns that might prevent your dog from exercising. Your veterinarian can recommend exercises that are right for you and your dog.
Pet owners should remember to keep puppies from exercising too strenuously or for too long to avoid damaging their developing bones and joints. Your veterinarian can tell you when it’s safe to start exercising with your puppy and what type of exercise and duration suits best. For dogs who are older, they may have arthritis or could be recovering from an injury or illness. They will need to take it a little easier or exercise for shorter periods of time.
To prevent your dog from getting heat stroke, avoid exercising during the hottest part of the day. Dawn, dusk and after dark are often the best times to run or walk with your dog.
Some Fitness ideas for you and your Canine:
Swimming can be a great activity for dogs especially on a hot day. You should follow basic safety precautions such as never leaving your dog near water unattended.
Running and Walking
While running might not suit all dogs, some pooches make great jogging buddies. You can build your dog’s endurance up slowly, by alternating walking and running. You should also pay close attention to their paws as they can develop painful burns and blisters from walking or running on hot ground. And if you’re not in the mood for a run or walk, just playing fetch in the backyard counts too!
Hiking can also be a great way to keep both you and your dog in shape. When hiking, watch for potentially dangerous areas, such as steep cliffs or spots where a run in with a wild animal is possible.
Most importantly, have fun! Keep your fitness routine enjoyable for both of you. Regular exercise is good for your minds and bodies. A happy, healthy dog means a happy and healthy dog owner too!