Exercising with your dog not only strengthens the bond you two share, it also helps control his weight and maintain a healthy heart, lungs and muscles. Here are some tips for exercising with your pet.
• Young or Old? — Leisurely walks may be best for an older dog, while a young dog has more energy for a quicker pace.
• Easy Does It — For dogs who haven’t exercised regularly, go slow at first. Begin with short periods of activity at slow speeds and gradually increase the time, speed and distance.
• Play Ball! — If your dog has more energy to expend than you do, teach him to fetch a ball or a flying disc. The activity may be just right for you and a challenging exercise for your dog.
• Hey, I Just Ate! — Avoid exercising your dog immediately before or after he has eaten. A full stomach may cause digestive upsets. Provide only small amounts of water before and directly after exercise.
• 10-Day Forecast — Weather conditions are an important consideration as you exercise your pet. Dogs can suffer from frostbite and heat stroke just as people do. If you walk your dog in the snow, be sure to wipe the paw pads to remove any snow and ice buildup or possible salt that may have gotten caught. Remember that your dog’s feet can be damaged by hot asphalt during the summer. Since dogs have fur coats and they cannot sweat, they are more prone to overeating than humans. Be cautious about exercising your dog in the middle of the day in hot weather; it’s preferable to take him out early in the morning or late evening to avoid extreme temperatures and humidity.
• Get the Wiggles Out — Before walking, if possible, play with your dog in the backyard. This helps burn off excess energy before you attempt a controlled walk. Practice loose leash walking with your dog to help him learn not to pull on the leash.
• Map It Out! — Dogs always love new smells and scenery. Instead of taking the same route every time, map out different walking routes with a variety of distances to keep your exercise routine fresh!
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