Introducing Your Dog to Healthy Exercise

One of the best ways to keep your pet healthy is to keep them active with regular exercise. This can help them stay at a healthy weight, help their joints stay strong as they build up healthy muscle, as well as keeping them entertained and mentally stimulated. If you naturally have couch potato instincts, here are some great tips to help you and your dog stay active and healthy!

Start With A Walk

Walks are one of the best ways to exercise your dog. Dogs love to be able to safely roam the neighborhood with you, getting to smell all sorts of exciting smells and see and hear new things which helps stimulate their brains. Walks are also great in that they can be tailored to your dog’s current exercise needs. 

Some dogs may benefit from a simple walk around the block with lots of time to stop and sniff at new surroundings and make friends with other dogs (with approval from the other pet’s owner). You can also build up to longer walks at a more brisk pace. Keep in mind that just like humans, your dog will need some time to warm up and cool down. Don’t encourage them to push themselves too hard. Keep in mind that on hot days, you will need to make sure that the ground is cool enough for your dog to safely walk on. If it’s too hot for your bare feet, it’s too hot for their paws.

Running Buddies

First, it must be said that not all dogs make fantastic running partners. You won’t want to take your dog for a run if they haven’t been cleared by their vet saying that they’re in good health. Some dogs don’t thrive in certain climates, such as long haired dogs in warm climates or short furred dogs in colder conditions and you might have to make conditions. Furthermore, short nosed dogs such as pugs tend to have difficulty breathing when they exert themselves.

That said, if your dog is a good candidate to be your running buddy, there are some simple steps that can set up the two of you for success. You’ll want to bring plenty of water for the both of you. Don’t forget to bring a travel bowl with you so your pet can stay hydrated and refreshed. You will also want to have a good idea of your route before you head out, and keep in mind some place where you can stop and rest. 

Remember that your dog will be much more sensitive to high heat than you are. According to the American Medical Veterinary Association, “Have you ever run in a fur coat? Your dog is doing it every time they run, so if you’re feeling warm, your dog is feeling much warmer. Most importantly, dogs don’t have the same cooling mechanisms we do — a dog’s primary method of cooling is panting, and it’s not as efficient as sweating.” All of that said: as long as you keep your dog’s best interests in mind, they can potentially make great running bodies that won’t shame you for missing a workout (but will give you those puppy eyes letting you know that they want to go out and have fun with you).

Talk To Your Vet First

Just like with humans, if you are planning to make changes to your dog’s exercise routine, it’s a good idea to talk to their doctor before you get started. Call the Bregman Veterinary Group today to talk about your dog’s wellness and come up with a healthy exercise plan that is appropriate for your pet. Getting healthy with your pet can help you ensure a long, happy life for them and has the bonus side effect of getting you active yourself!

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