Fun Ways to Keep You and the Pup Healthy: How to Workout with Your Dog
Over 50% of dogs in the US are overweight. And their owners aren’t doing any better.
Studies show that nearly three-quarters of American men, and 60% of American women, are overweight or obese.
Exercise will do more than control weight gain in dogs and humans. It can lead to improved muscle tone, lower blood pressure, and longer life expectancy. And don’t forget about stress reduction and those good old-fashioned endorphins.
What are the best ways to get a workout with your dog? Let’s take a look.
Table of Contents
- 1 Pre-Workout Prep
- 2 1. An Old-Fashioned Walk
- 3 2. Dance To Upbeat Music
- 4 3. Go Find It
- 5 4. Swimming
- 6 5. Chasing Bubbles
- 7 6. Jogging
- 8 7. Hiking
- 9 8. Tug-of-War
- 10 9. Fetch
- 11 10. An Obstacle Course
- 12 11. Soccer
- 13 12. Running
- 14 13. Cycling and Rollerblading
- 15 14. Cross-Country Skiing
- 16 15. Hide-and-Seek
- 17 Workout With Your Dog
Dogs need to be active for 30 minutes to two hours each day in order to be healthy. If your pup does not work out, he can become bored, depressed, and frustrated. The exact amount of time they need will depend on their breed, size, and overall health.
Before working out with your dog, be sure to take her to the doctor to see if she is healthy enough for exercise. Your vet can examine her for any heart or lung problems, as well as signs of arthritis or musculoskeletal disease. If any of these signs are present, you may have to modify your workout.
It is important to keep your dog well-hydrated and well-fed when working out. Some owners also like to provide extra support with vitamin supplements or CBD Oil for Dogs.
1. An Old-Fashioned Walk
A brisk walk can provide your dog with a stronger heart, lower blood pressure, a lower risk of depression, and more energy. Walking with your dog regularly can also serve to reduce common behavioral problems.
Begin walking with your dog slowly, and you can gradually increase your speed and walk length.
If your dog is breathing too fast, he may be getting overworked. Watch out for other signs such as panting or refusing to follow you.
On hot days, be sure to keep your dog near a water source. You should also keep his paws away from asphalt or sand.
2. Dance To Upbeat Music
Dancing to upbeat, energetic music will give both you and your doggy a great workout.
Dancing can help both you and your dog develop better balance, more stamina, lower blood pressure, and improved muscle tone. You can also develop better bone density and relieve stress and anxiety.
3. Go Find It
Help your dog lose weight and improve his sniffing abilities at the same time. Try chopping up a few carrots and hiding them around the house. Encourage your dog to go find them, and keep rewarding him with treats.
Swimming is not for all dogs. However, it can be especially beneficial to dogs with arthritis. Swimming is low impact and easy on the joints.
For great places to paddle with your pooch, check out canine-friendly hydrotherapy centers, pools, public beaches, and dog parks with water features.
Start off by letting your dog swim a few minutes at a time, and alternate it with walking in the water if you are by the shore. You can use treats as encouragement. If your dog still resists swimming, it may be time to try another sport.
Swimming improves the heart and lungs, strengthens muscle mass, and increases range of motion. It also works out a variety of muscle groups.
5. Chasing Bubbles
Dogs love to chase bubbles, and running after them will increase their breathing and muscle tone. Start off by blowing a few bubbles at a time, and allow your dog to start poking them. Encourage your dog by providing treats when they chase.
Try using bubbles made for kids, as they are non-toxic. Be sure to wipe any soap off your puppy’s nose so he doesn’t get sneezy.
Jogging isn’t for every dog. Some breeds, such as greyhounds, are great at short distance sprints.
Other breeds, however, thrive on a long, comfortable run. They include Labradors, beagles, and dalmations.
You should wait until your dog is fully grown to start running. When she is, you can start with slow, five-minute runs and gradually build up to longer trips.
When you are ready to build up to longer excursions, be sure to include five minutes of warm-up and five minutes of cool-down time. Thirty minutes is a good amount of total jogging time.
Remember that dogs can’t sweat to show you that they’re overheated. Be sure to keep a water source close by. Watch for signs such as your dog panting or lagging behind you.
Lots of dogs love to hike through the woods, local parks, or beaches. You and your pooch will enjoy lower blood pressure and an increased mood while walking vigorously through nature.
Dogs love to explore smells and other animals with their owners close by. Be sure to keep up a brisk pace to maintain your elevated heart rate.
You will want to apply an ointment with DEET to protect your dog from fleas and ticks if you are going into the woods. You should also check your dog for ticks after hiking.
A great game of tug-of-war can be both mentally and physically stimulating for your dog. It will also give you a great chance to flex and stretch your muscles.
Your dog should be trained not to bite before you engage him in a tug-of-war. If you don’t have a rope, an old fleece or tied-together T-shirts will work fine. Be sure to put your rope away when you are not playing with your dog, as this could be a choking hazard if your pup is not supervised.
Fetch is an old-fashioned canine favorite. Use a soft, lightweight toy that is best for your doggy’s mouth. On rainy days, you can play fetch indoors in open halls or stairways.
If fetch is a great workout for your dog, but not for you, consider incorporating it into your weekly workout routine. You can do lunges or squats while Fido is running after the ball.
10. An Obstacle Course
You can buy a doggy agility course online, or make one yourself out of piping. Your dog will love climbing up ladders, jumping over hurdles, and walking through tunnels. You can also look for local dog parks with an agility course.
You can run alongside and get some steps in while offering your dog praise and encouragement. It will give you both an invigorating workout.
You and your dog will both enjoy chasing a ball around a field and scoring some goals. The aerobic exercise will regulate weight, strengthen your immune system, and improve cardiovascular health.
Look for plastic soccer-stye exercise balls for your dog. These are made of plastic and come in different shapes and sizes. Ask your pet store owner about the best ball for your pup’s breed.
Take your pup to a local dog park and let her run around without a leash. She will get a chance to burn energy and socialize. And then there is the valuable mental activity she will get from socializing with other dogs.
Be sure to take your dog for some obedience training before allowing her off-leash. You will want her to come to you when her romp is over.
13. Cycling and Rollerblading
Amble through any urban park, and you will see lots of dog-owners riding their bikes or roller-blading with their best friends in tow.
The key to keeping your dog by your side is to train her beforehand. Reward your dog with treats when she pulls you along instead of jerking you around. You can also purchase special bike attachments that will absorb the force of your dog’s pull so you can keep your balance if she tugs suddenly.
14. Cross-Country Skiing
Many folks love to have their dogs pull them along while skiing on a flat surface. This is known as skijoring. An introductory course with safety tips is recommended before you take your first excursion.
A vigorous skijoring workout for twenty minutes, three days a week, can get you the same results as five days a week of walking.
Let your dog improve his muscle tone along with his sense of smell while you hide and he finds you. If your dog is trained, make him stay while you run and hide. If not, let a friend distract him.
Workout With Your Dog
There is a litter of ways to get a great workout with your dog. You will improve your bond, heart health, and waistline while you explore the great outdoors together.
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