Your Best Workout Partner? Your Dog

The FBGs have been known to take a cue from our pets from time to time. I know my furry friend inspires me to get outside a few times a day for a brisk walk and her energy always reminds me how great it is to be active and having fun.

We recently received some tips from the canine experts at Weider Pet Health. Read on to learn how to best work out with your four-legged best friend!

  • A humane/canine fitness partnership should be viewed as a preventive measure, begun as early as possible in your dog’s life.
  • The “use it or lose it” theory applies, as physical exercise preserves muscle mass. But it’s never too late! Even if exercise isn’t a regular part of you and your pet’s routine, it should be added immediately. Even a brisk 20-minute walk daily helps.
  • The ideal fitness program consists of a brisk walk/run on variable terrain, with some incline and decline (hill climbing and descent is good resistance training for muscles.)
  • Play games such as tug of war (being careful of the dog’s teeth and gums, and never pulling too hard to avoid putting strain on the neck, especially in smaller breeds) or catch and fetch on a slight incline are also good ways to vary the routine. However if your animal is older or has hip weakness, be sure the incline is not very steep.
  • Remember that just as with your pet’s diet, you are in charge. For both of you to be active, you must be the proactive one. You set the pace to challenge your animal to a certain extent, but you must also know its limits and play within that. Note that some breeds will keep on playing to please, even if they are exhausted.
  • Always finish the workout with a special but healthy food treat.
  • Complete nutrition is important from an early age as a preventive measure in your dog’s overall health. Processed dog foods may or may not contain key nutrients for joint health, such as chondroitin and glucosamine. Even when these are listed as ingredients, their potency is lost in processing, meaning they are not bioavailable to the pet. So read your dog’s food labels closely and consider supplementation.

Always remember that exercise is an innate need for dogs—and owners! What’s your pet’s favorite workout? —Jenn


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