Just as you need regular exercise to stay healthy, so does your dog. So why not exercise together? The best part is you will find Fluffy to be the most reliable and enthusiastic exercise partner you could ever want. However, it is important to remember that your canine friend won’t be able to let you know when he has had enough of the exercise, so make sure to watch out for signs that may highlight his reluctance. Listed below are the dos and don’ts of exercising with your dog.
Take into account the fitness levels of both you and your dog. If he isn’t very fit, don’t impose heavy, endurance exercises on him – that will only create issues later. In fact, it is extremely important that you first have him checked by a vet before starting any exercise plan.
Choose the time of exercise. Choose a cool time of the day, such as evenings or early mornings. This will help keep you and your canine buddy out of the heat and the harmful UV rays preventing skin problems in your dog. It will also protect your dog from getting a heat stroke.
Do a brief warmup with your dog prior to exercising. Although this is not always necessary for dogs that are fit, it does come in helpful for canines experiencing joint problems. You can try warming-up with your dog by playing fetch for a couple of minutes so you don’t wear him off.
Do know the signs that your puppy is overdoing the exercise. A canine that is having fun in the process will appear alert and happy, not fretful and tired. Lying or sitting down, randomly stopping and dropping behind you are good indicators that your dog is tired. Don’t mistake these signs for stubbornness. Furthermore, if you detect lameness in your dog’s attitude, check with your vet as soon as possible.
Reward and hydrate yourself and your dog at the completion of the exercise. Drink some water; give him some water along with a doggy treat for good behavior. Pick out a healthy treat instead of one that will just pack on the pounds and entirely waste your exercise efforts. You can try options such as frozen blueberries or bananas. Both of these fruits contain plenty of minerals and also taste great, especially when frozen. You can also try making homemade fruit popsicles that will just be the perfect option for both you and your dog after a hot and tiring exercising session.
Allow your dog to rest. Let him sleep for a little while, which will help restore the energy and prepare for the day’s activities ahead.
Don’t just assume that your dog will be great at exercising. Understand the breed first. Remember that not all canines are naturally born to do specific exercises such as running. For some breeds, especially pugs and bulldogs, distance running can be downright dangerous because their mechanism for processing air is different, which makes them more vulnerable to heat-related problems. On the other hand, breeds such as Golden retrievers, collies, and Weimaraners make good running partners. Still, it is best to know the physical traits and capabilities of your puppy before rushing him into an exercise.
Don’t force a puppy to indulge in exercising. Intense physical exertion can be dangerous to a puppy’s bones as they are still in the developing process. Consult with your vet about the best time to get started.
Don’t forget tick protection, especially if you will be exercising outdoors for long periods of time.