As we all know, dogs make wonderful companions and are usually content to do whatever their owners are doing, from taking a ride in the car to lounging around on the sofa on a lazy Sunday afternoon. However, having a canine companion gives you a great excuse to get out and exercise! Whether that means taking a brisk walk around your neighborhood or running along a park trail, you and your dog can both benefit.
Besides getting in better cardiovascular and physical shape, walking or running with your dog can also help:
- Boost your mood
- Lower your blood pressure
- Strengthen your bond with your pet
- Keep you motivated to exercise regularly (your dog will bug you to stay on your routine)
WHAT YOUR DOG GETS OUT OF THE DEAL
Running or walking with your dog isn’t just good for you; it’s also good for your dog. Exercising keeps his heart, lungs, joints, and digestive and circulatory systems healthy, and it helps him control weight and expend energy. If you’ve ever noticed your dog racing extra fast around your house or yard (sometimes referred to as zooming), you’ve witnessed him trying to burn up excess energy.
Regular exercise can also keep your dog’s not-so-fun behaviors under control. It can help prevent destructive chewing, biting, and digging and can calm hyperactivity and anxiety.
KEEP IN MIND
Dogs can run (or walk) farther and faster than people, but that doesn’t mean they should leap off the sofa and run for miles. If they’re just starting out, they need to build up distance gradually.
It’s also a good idea to keep puppies from exercising too strenuously or for too long to avoid damaging their developing bones and joints. In addition, dogs that are older or recovering from an injury or illness may need to take it a little easier or exercise for shorter periods. For instance, you can switch from a 30-minute run to two 15- minute walks. Especially for older or recovering pets, swimming can be a good alternative to running or walking.
To prevent your dog from getting heat stroke, avoid exercising during the hottest part of the day. Dawn, dusk, and after dark are often the best times to run or walk.
Visit your physician and veterinarian before you and your pet begin an exercise regimen. They can recommend what type of exercise is best for you and your dog and how long you should both spend exercising.
THE ULTIMATE REWARD
Running or walking with your dog can keep you motivated to stay on track and get healthy together. Plus, what could be better than spending quality time with your best friend?
TIPS FOR PROTECTING YOUR DOG’S PAWS
- In hot weather, walk your dog in grassy areas as much as possible to avoid burning his paws.
- In cold weather, consider having your dog wear booties to prevent paw contact with ice and de-icing chemicals.
- Once inside, wipe off his paws.
- Make sure you inspect his paws after every walk or run
**Article Courtesy of HealthyPet U**