6 Tips To Improve Your Dog’s Physical Fitness
Get moving with your pooch with these tips on fun and free physical activities
Regular exercise is incredibly important for your own health and fitness, but it is also necessary for your pet. The more active your pet is, the healthier he is going to be. You don’t necessarily need to take your dog on a 5-mile run every day, but there are some simple ways you can improve your pet’s physical fitness – and your own! In this article you will receive 6 helpful tips to get your pet to be more active and to improve his health.
1.) Power Walking
When you take your dog for a walk, how much effort are either of you truly expending? The chances are good that you take your dog for a leisurely stroll which gives him time to sniff around but doesn’t do much in terms of exercise. To improve your dog’s fitness, you may need to pick up the pace – aim for something between 15 and 20 minutes per mile. At this speed, you should feel like you are putting in a good effort and your dog may begin panting. Don’t worry! This is normal – if your dog starts to exhibit labored breathing, however, you may need to stop for a rest.
Jogging with your dog is not something you can just leap right into, especially if your dog isn’t used to vigorous exercise. Dogs love to run but you should take the time to build up their endurance by taking them on short jogs several times a week, gradually increasing the length of the jog. Begin each jog with a brief warm-up period and keep an eye on your dog throughout to make sure he isn’t getting too tired. By the time you and your dog can handle three or four 20-minute jogs per week you can start thinking about increasing your mileage – just be sure not to increase too fast.
3.) Agility Training
Agility training is not just a great form of exercise for dogs, but it can also be a lot of fun for them. Weaving through poles and running over planks helps to develop muscle coordination and keeps your dog active. If you don’t have access to an agility course, you don’t necessarily need to build one yourself – use low walls and fences, fence posts, and other existing objects for your dog’s course.
4.) Active Play
Another great way to increase your dog’s fitness is to engage in active play sessions. A game of fetch can get your dog running while also giving the two of you some quality time together. Other options for active play include games of tug and hide-and-seek. To get your dog really running, throw a bouncy ball or hit a tennis ball with a racket for your dog to fetch. You can also try playing these games in hilly areas where your dog will have to expend a little bit of extra effort.
Swimming is an excellent low-impact exercise that will get your dog moving. Most dogs love water, so they will readily engage in this type of exercise when given the opportunity. If your dog needs a little encouragement to get into the water the first few times, try throwing a ball or a toy.
6.) Creative Exercise
In addition to the options listed above there are plenty of other options for creative exercise. For example, you might try training your dog to catch a Frisbee which will give you a chance to combine periods of play with exercise. Another great option is to take your dog with you on a bike ride – you can hold his leash so that he runs behind you on the bike. This will enable you to take your dog for much longer walks/runs than you might otherwise be able to.
Best Dog Fitness Equipment
Sure, walks and swimming can be a fantastic way to get your pet to move their body, but with the right supplies, you can really take things to another level. No, we’re not suggesting that your pooch needs to start lifting or hit the doggie gym- but there are certain tools and gadgets that could make your pet’s exercise regime more efficient and interesting. Dog fitness equipment is designed to engage intelligent dogs with exercise (if your pet is easily bored by your idea of physical activity- he’s in this group too) and to optimize the levels of exercise difficulty so they would meet the needs of more active breeds. If you’re unsure what type of dog fitness equipment would fit your pet- take a look at our choices for the best products on the market.
Nothing beats the good old game of fetch when it comes to fun and exercise both! But simply running after a ball in your backyard won’t do anything for your pet- you need to up the stakes if you want them to “sweat” a bit. This ball launcher is a perfect choice for that, as it is designed to upgrade throwing speed and increase distance, in turn making your pooch work harder to get the ball- while you won’t feel any strain at all!
Xdog Weight & Fitness Vest for Dogs
This weighted vest is meant to increase your pet’s stamina and strength, build their muscle mass, and work to improve their overall health as a result. Unlike some that use metal bar weights to add weight to the vest, this design relies on weight bags that can be filled with sand or copper bb’s. This is a much safer and more comfortable option as it molds with your pet’s body.
Lord Anson Agility Hurdle Cone Set
Perfect for pets that do agility (or are going to), this cone and hurdle set will allow you to engage and train your pet at multiple difficulty levels. With extra long and robust rods and heavy-duty tall cones, you’ll have versatile training options and your pooch more ways of having fun and burning energy at the same time.
dogPACER Mini Pacer Treadmill
In case you need a reliable and effective way to exercise your pet indoors, then this entry-level dog treadmill is the right choice. The speed can be set from half a mile per hour to 7.5 miles per hour, so it can be adjusted to any pooch’s needs – and always offer the right challenge for your pet, no matter their stamina levels.
Walky Dog Plus Hands Free Dog Bicycle Exerciser
For pawrents who love to cycle and want to share the exercise with their four-legged bestie, this simple but nifty gadget will be a game-changer. Recommended for medium to large dogs, this dog bicycle exercisers allows you to safely tether your pet to your bicycle: not only it will securely hold your pet on the leash, but it also ensures a safe distance between your ride and your dog.
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Kate Barrington is the loving owner of two cats (Bagel and Munchkin) and a noisy herd of guinea pigs. Having grown up with golden retrievers, Kate has a great deal of experience with dogs but labels herself a lover of all pets. Having received a Bachelor's degree in English, Kate has combined her love for pets and her passion for writing to create her own freelance writing business, specializing in the pet niche.
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