Exercise with your Pets for Pet Wellbeing and disease prevention
on August 9, 2016
Posted in Behavior Management
Summer makes us think about getting outdoors with our pets and this is a good thing for both human and animals. For most of us our pets live indoors. Many are cooped up inside with bathroom privileges only for most of the day. For many active dogs, this is the equivalent to prison.
It is no wonder we have so many dogs with anxiety and boredom problems like destructive chewing and constant barking. Most of these problems could be solved simply by increasing exercise!
Exercise is a mental stress reliever for dogs and a way that they find out about the world. As anyone who has ever walked a dog knows, the nose is constantly to the ground finding out who has been there and when.
The important thing to realize is that although most dogs can handle a 30 minute walk, you need to first determine your dog’s fitness level and how much exercise your dog can handle. (read below to learn more)
There are a number of goods reasons to exercise with your dog. Here are a few:
1. Exercise promotes weight control and digestive health. Although weight loss is only 20 %
exercise and 80 % nutrition, that 20 % is important to keep your dog fit and trim.
2. Exercise works to prevent destructive behaviour and hyperactivity. Pups that have jobs or
are active are far less bored than the wall flowers that sit at home chewing on your couch.
3. Exercise prevents or delays the onset of arthritis and helps prevent cognitive dysfunction.
4. Exercise encourages socialization with other dogs and people and improve your bond with
5. Exercise is good for owner health as well. Dogs can be great training partners. Walking the dog is the most basic form of exercise—which is physical and mental work for the dog.
The important thing to realize is that although most dogs can handle a 30 minute walk, you need to first determine your dog’s fitness level and how much exercise your dog can handle:
Toy dogs may only be able to handle 5 to 10 minutes of exercise at a time. Dogs with pushed in faces like Pugs can not handle a lot of exercise in the heat. Long haired dogs and Arctic breeds may also have problems in the heat and may either need to be clipped or only exercised when it is cooler. For some dogs, swimming may need to replace walking in warm weather. Check with your veterinarian before you start any major exercise program with your dog.
- Safety issues with walking need to be taken into consideration. Depending on the terrain where you walk, your dog may need booties. Inspect your dog’s pads for injuries after walking. In hot weather, avoid asphalt as it will cause blistering of the foot pads. Leash your dog—if you are running use a leash that attaches to your body. Retractable leashes may seem convenient but can injury you or your dog so do not use those!
- Take plenty of water for you and your pet. If you are going to be exercising strenuously for 30 minutes or more your dog will need a snack, so take that along as well. Use some form of flea/tick and heartworm preventive, mosquito repellent and sunscreen and don’t forget to pick up after your dog.
- If you’re not a runner and your dog needs to run, consider a treadmill. Your hound can increase her muscle definition, tone up and increase her life span by making a regular date with her own treadmill. There are several types available for different sizes of dogs. Other alternatives are dog sports—try agility, skijoring, swimming, dock diving, biking , hiking and doga (doggie yoga).Don’t let the fun of exercising with your pet pass you by this summer, and remember inviting your four-legged friend into your own wellness routine can be a vital step towards a common pet ailment prevention!
- Challenge your entire family to involve your pets into fun activities, here’s an idea – this girl is training golden labrador retriever puppy in the swimming pool – jump and dive underwater to retrieve shell. Active games with family pets and popular dog breeds like companion.
Does your pet need an energy boost? If you wish your four-legged companion was more enthusiastic about being active, he may need a little help with his or her nutrition!
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Janice Huntingford, DVM, has been in veterinary practice for over 30 years and has founded two veterinary clinics since receiving her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph. She has studied extensively in both conventional and holistic modalities. Ask Dr. Jan