Starting an Exercise Routine With Your Dog

The obesity epidemic has officially gone to the dogs! The National Academy of Sciences reports that one out of every four dogs and cats in the western world is now overweight. Exercise can improve your dog’s physical and mental health, but it is important to research the best exercise routine for you and your dog. The American Kennel Club (AKC®) offers the following workout tips for dog owners:

  • Consider your dog’s age, health, condition and current activity level. Check with a vet before beginning anything vigorous.
  • Make sure to keep your dog on a leash at all times when you are exercising in public. You don’t want your dog to get distracted by cars, people or other dogs.
  • Letting your dog out in your backyard doesn’t qualify as exercise; however, a good game of fetch may do the trick.
  • When exercising your dog, try to keep it on a grassy or earth surface. A hot sidewalk or sharp gravel surface is hard on a dog’s paws. Always remember to bring along clean water and a portable bowl so you can offer your dog a drink if needed.
  • Stop exercising immediately if your dog begins to pant too rapidly. Dogs can suffer from heat stroke, so make sure your dog is not overexerting itself.
  • Pay special attention to your dog’s footpads and toenails. If there are any abrasions or cuts, stop exercising until they have completely healed.
  • When starting your dog on any exercise program, begin slowly to build up its endurance level; too vigorous a workout may cause injury.

Article courtesy of the AKC