Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Do you exercise with your dog?

"Throw the ball. Pleeeaaase!"
Many American dogs and cats struggle with their weight, probably because well-meaning owners don't want their pets to have to be hungry. It can be difficult to resist pleading eyes asking for another cookie or just a little more food. Unfortunately, being overweight can lead to a number of health problems both in humans and in pets.

To remedy the problem, make sure to always measure the amount of food you give your pets, and take any treats given during the day into account.

It's also a great idea to exercise together with your pet. Here are some ideas:

Playtime is a great opportunity for exercise and bonding. Playing ball or frisbee is fun for both dog and human.

Take your dog for an extra walk, or go a little further than usual. It might be really exciting for your dog to just go the other direction than you usually do. Regular walks are great both for dogs and people - walking gives a stronger heart, more energy, lower blood pressure, and a lower risk of depression.

If you're more into jogging than walking, consider your dog breed. Some breeds love jogging, others are built for short distance sprints. Do five minutes of warm-up, 20 minutes of jogging, and five minutes of cool-down. If you're in a hot area, avoid jogging in the heat of the day, and stop if your dog shows any signs of not keeping up with you.

Dog dancing is another fun thing to try that will give both you and your four-footed friend some exercise. (Dog dancing does not mean having your dog standing up on the back legs and slow dancing with you.)The sport is also called musical freestyle, and you choreograph and train a dance routine with your dog to music.

Training for dog dancing will build a strong bond between you and your dog - and get you in shape as a bonus. Watch this video to get some ideas.

 

Swimming is another great workout, particularly good for dogs and people with arthritis. Swimming works many different groups of muscles, improves endurance, and improves both heart and lungs. Not all dogs like to swim, and some breeds aren't good at swimming, so make sure your dog is comfortable.

Do you exercise with your dog? What is your favorite type of exercise?

~ Maria Sadowski ~

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