Have Fun Exercising Your Dog
Put on your athletic shoes, grab a leash, attach it to your dog’s collar, and get out there! If your aim is to shape up physically, your dog can benefit, too. He may not be able to accompany you at Bloomsday or the Cherry Picker’s Trot, but he can be a wonderful training companion. (Check with your dog’s veterinarian before starting an exercise program.)
If you are planning to jog with your dog, remember to start slowly. Dogs need to build up strength and stamina just as we do. Plus his pads need to toughen up gradually. A good rule of thumb – if your dog can walk briskly for 20-30 minutes without tiring, you can start him on a jog. Begin with short, easy runs and then progress to longer ones. Your pal is eager to please and will be thrilled to be out running with you. Unlike you, he may ignore or even be unaware of pain. So if you see him struggling or tiring, slow down to a walk. (Know the signs of overexertion and how to administer care if needed.)
Tips for your dog’s health and safety:
- Keep toenails trimmed to avoid snagging on twigs or branches.
- Carry plenty of water and offer to your dog frequently. Never force him/her to drink. Teach your dog how to drink from a water bottle or carry a portable doggie dish to put water in.
- Make sure your dog is wearing ID tags in case you become separated.
- Never run in the heat of the day. Dogs dehydrate more quickly than humans.
- Asphalt retains heat even after the sun goes down and can burn a dog’s pads.
- If jogging at twilight, wear reflectors, both you and your dog. Note: Some leashes and collars are made of reflective material.
- Feed your dog after a run.
- Check paw pads after each run for blisters, tears, or tenderness. If you notice tenderness, raw spots or bleeding, give him a few days off from running.
- Be willing to cut a run short if your dog seems tired or overexerted.
- For young pups and big dogs of any age sustained jogging or running is too hard on the joints.
Exercise Benefits For Your Dog
• Decreases risk of heart disease
• Helps lessen digestive problems and leads to proper weight maintenance.
• Helps curb negative behaviors, such as chewing, barking, digging, and anxiety.
• Leads to a healthier, more agile, and longer life.