A dog’s favorite thing to do is to spend time with their family. They love to go with you on trips, even the short ones. It’s great for them to curl up next to you on the couch and simply enjoy a belly rub. And they even like to get some exercise when it’s time for a walk.
And as more people begin their own fitness programs, there have been a growing number of dogs joining in on the workout. Most can be spotted trotting alongside their companion as the two of them enjoy an early morning jog to get their hearts pumping.
Sitting at home all day while we’re at work and a lot of the inactivity that often takes place during the winter make dogs prone to becoming overweight as well. So, it’s a great idea to get your dog out and active while you work on your own fitness goals.
Keep in mind that dogs make some of the greatest and most reliable workout partners. They’re ready to go when you are and are definitely up for a challenge.
Not only that, but dogs are creatures of habit. Because workouts commonly revolve around a set schedule, your dog is quick to catch on, often reminding you when it’s time to get moving. In fact, many studies have shown that dog owners are more likely to participate in regular activity because their dogs are there to basically support them and cheer them on.
Because dogs get the majority of their exercise during jogs and walks through the park, there are a few tips and topics to consider as these hot summer days draw closer.
• Stay on the path and avoid hot pavement or asphalt that can singe paws. The best places would be parks where there is plenty of shade.
• Carry plenty of water. Dogs can’t sweat like people do. Instead, they salivate and pant in order to cool their bodies, leaving them very susceptible to heatstroke and dehydration.
• Exercise when it’s coolest. Early morning hours are the best time because the summer sun hasn’t had time to heat up the ground and air. Later afternoon as dusk approaches is also a good time to exercise. Try to avoid mid-afternoon temperatures because there is often little to no shade and the temperature can be harsh on a hot and furry dog.
• Make sure your dog has eaten before you start your workout. You’re both going to need plenty of energy, and a quality diet plays an important role in health.
Other Exercise opportunities
What about simply playing with your dog? Playtime is an excellent way for both of you to get exercise. Spending an hour out at the park throwing the ball or playing tag with your dog is a great way to not only spend a fun afternoon, but a healthy way to stay fit.
But, what other kinds of workouts can and should your dog be participating in? Consider some of the cooler forms of recreation, like swimming. Not every dog enjoys the water, but the ones that do can’t seem to get enough splashing and doggy-paddling.
The downside to this is that chlorine isn’t good for their eyes or bellies, but it’s not really good for ours either. Fortunately, more pool filtration systems have begun using salt-based cleaners rather than chlorine. It’s a much safer and healthier option compared to chlorine. If you think your dog would enjoy some swim time, choose a pool or water source that doesn’t rely on chlorine.
Working out on their own?
There are locations popping up these days that are completely dedicated to dog fitness. The Canine Fitness and Fun Center allows dogs to get regular exercise through swimming, running, activities, and playing in a completely dog-friendly environment. Though locations like this aren’t available everywhere, it’s definitely nice to see places like this beginning to appeal to the needs of our four-legged friends.
There are even some programs that appeal to helping both owners and their dogs get a healthy workout. Organizations like the Pooch to 5K are designed to build both yours and your dog’s endurance while creating a healthy bond between the two of you.
Fitness isn’t just for people, it’s for pups too. Yes, dogs play a big role in our lives, keeping us both happy and healthy. So, it’s up to us to do the same for them. Take the time to schedule your dog into your fitness agenda and see what the both of you can achieve.