Whether you’re a seasoned keep-fit runner or someone that is determined to start getting fit, if you own a dog then why not include them in your physical activities?
Dogs love to be outdoors and integrating them into your exercise plans can have many positive benefits. Physically, it will keep your dog active meaning that they will not be as restless as if they were left indoors all day. It is often said that a tired dog is a happy dog and by keeping your dog active you will be ensuring that they are receiving both physical and mental stimulation. It also gives them a chance to burn off the food they have eaten and will generally help them to keep fit and healthy. By involving your dog in your exercise plans, you will be giving them the opportunity to receive some positive attention from you and further increase the strong bond between you both.
There are many physical activities that you and your dog can commit to. When you go for your morning or evening run then why not take your dog with you? Your dog will love this and it really will help them to stay happy. However, before embarking on these types of runs, be certain that your dog is trained well enough to respond to your command, or otherwise keep them on the lead. It can also be a good idea to find a route that is both safe and pleasant to run. Running near main roads or busy areas can provide concerns and worries that will mar the enjoyment of the run; if you feel anxious or uncertain, then so will your dog.
A lot of dogs also love to swim and if the weather is nice it can be a great way for them to let off some pent up energy. If you plan on visiting the beach for your dog to swim in the sea, then make sure that you check the regulations for dogs regarding that particular beach. Similarly, if there is a local lake, river or pond that you plan on taking your dog to then check if they are allowed to swim in the water.
When it comes to exercising, dogs are similar to humans in that they need to warm-up before undertaking any strenuous activity. If you simply take your dog out and exercise with them as hard and intensely as possible, then there is a good chance they will injure themselves. Also be aware of the danger of heatstroke; dogs’ bodies do not have a great cooling system so be sure to provide lots of water and shade for your canine friend, especially if it is hot.
Moderation is key when exercising with dogs. Excessive physical activity can damage a dog’s body and mind and it is essential that you do not overwork them. This applies to any active outing that you include them in, even things such as playing catch or fetch can be a danger if not done properly. If you throw something too high then a dog can receive an injury from landing awkwardly, or if you throw something that is too heavy then they can injure their teeth or neck.
Exercising with your dog is a brilliant idea providing you are aware of their capabilities, do not push them too far, make sure you look after them and help them to rehydrate and stay cool.