Exercising with your dog is a fantastic way for you and your pup to stay fit and happy. Not only does sustained movement help your hearts and your waistlines, but it also helps mentally and emotionally.
If your pup tends to chew things or get rambunctious, he can exercise more during the day. A tired dog is a good dog!
However, we don’t want to take your dog on a 5k run the first time out. Even if they have a ton of energy, they need to ease into distance and intensity just like we do.
Start slowly and build up to a longer time frame or distance over a few weeks. Depending on your and your dog’s fitness level, age, and health, this could be a walk around the block every other day and adding an additional day the next week. Or, it could be starting with your usual walk of a mile and then adding jogging intervals of thirty seconds to a minute.
Every so often, switch up the route or the location to keep both of you mentally engaged and interested. Maybe even take your dog exploring! Walk downtown, go on a wooded hike, or stroll the beach.
Your dog can participate in a boot camp type of workout as well. Sometimes, they just like following you around as you move and coming in for cuddles while you do sit-ups. Just enjoy it and have fun! Other ideas for activity are fetch, frisbees, and swimming.
Another great way to add more movement to your day is to start doing dog-oriented sports like agility training, rally sport, flyball, or scent training. (Check out a few sports here. Flyball. Dock Diving.)
Pay attention to your dog’s behavior and body language during the exercise and when you’re done. Once you get them back home, they should be content and tired, not exhausted.
Additionally, if your dog runs on the grass at full speed, it’s possible for them to pull or strain a muscle. If your pup begins to move gingerly, more slowly than usual, or begins to limp, they may have overdone it and need to rest.
Did you know you can give your dog an Epsom salt soak? Sure can! When my dogs are sore, sometimes I’ll give them a soak in Epsom salts for a faster recovery.
Many dogs won’t let us know when they’re tired and sore, and they’ll push themselves too hard. It’s up to us to watch them and do what’s best for them.
Your veterinarian is always a good resource for specific recommendations for your pup.
Do you exercise with your dog? What are your favorite activities?