Safely Ramping Up Your Dog’s Fitness Level

As with people, regular activity helps your dog maintain their weight, retain their overall good health, and it can even boost their mood. Plus, spending time together being active can be fun for you both! Here are some tips for getting them started while avoiding injuries, and keeping them excited for more!

Start slowly and easily
You wouldn’t begin an exercise routine by running a marathon if you’ve never even walked around the block, so don’t expect your dog to go from lap dog to mountain trekker. Start out by taking slow, gentle walks to get your pet accustomed to the new activity. Avoid walking just after or just before they have eaten to avoid tummy troubles, and be sure to bring fresh water for your dog to drink.

Make exercise fun!
Don’t simply turn your dog loose in the back yard every day; where’s the fun in that? Instead, try taking walks around your neighbourhood or visit local dog-friendly parks. If you have to stay close to home, make the walk interesting by varying the pace and direction, challenging your dog to think and work to follow you during the walk. It’s the perfect time to practice good leadership, which will keep your dog feeling safe and more interested in you than in the many distractions around them.

Watch your dog for signs of distress
Make sure you are monitoring your dog while they exercise. If they seem too tired, are breathing too heavily, or appear to be otherwise uncomfortable, cut the session short. Make sure to avoid walking your pet during the hottest hours of the day, and keep an eye on the pads of their feet, which can become blistered on hot pavement.

Be considerate
Remember to take a bag to collect any waste your dog leaves behind, and keep your dog out of places where they shouldn’t be during your walks.

Enjoy being active with your dog, and you could prolong their life, giving your friend more time with you in the long run!