Many of us are guilty of forgetting to walk the dog. Our lives are busy, and sometimes there just isn’t enough time in the day. We must remind ourselves that helping your dog to exercise benefits everyone. Exercise is important for all animals. The proper amount of exercise helps to maintain muscle strength, regulate the metabolism, and burn excess energy. Taking your dog for a walk also helps to manage your own health. But how much exercise is right and what kind is best? 2 Paws Up Inc. is here to answer some of your questions about your pet’s exercise needs.
A few factors will help you determine the proper exercise for your dog: age, breed, size, and any health concerns. Puppies have a surplus of energy, and it takes a lot to burn it off. Older animals, on the other hand, have started to slow down and we must be mindful of that. Sporting breeds – Retrievers, Shepherds, and Collies – need the most exercise. It is okay if your dog is starting their new lifestyle somewhat overweight. We just have to take that into consideration. If your dog is overweight and hasn’t exercised in a while, start slowly with just a short walk. You can build from there. Generally speaking, thirty minutes to an hour is appropriate.
Warm-Up and Cool-Down
Just like us humans, dogs need a warm-up before exercising and a cool-down after. If you take him or her for a long walk, start with just a short trip around the block. Start a strenuous jog with a few minutes of moderately-paced walking. Then walk at the same pace at the end of your jog. Once your dog has cooled down, check the pads of their feet. Prickly things can get stuck there and cause pain, especially if you walk or jog away from home.
Types of Exercise
Walking can get boring after a while. Understandably, our motivation wanes when something is enjoyable. To keep things interesting, mix up the kinds of exercise you do with your dogs. You can play fetch, go on a hike, play tug-of-war, swim, or tackle an agility course in addition to walking and jogging. Swimming is great for senior pups as it is easy on the joints. Varying the type of exercise you do is also helpful to stimulate their brains.
Watch What They “Tell You”
Our pets give us signals that tell us how they are feeling. If you have been with your dog for a while, you know their happy expressions. After exercising, dogs should be tired but not exhausted. Some panting is to be expected. If they continue to breathe heavily after water and rest, the activity may have been too much. Be aware of any changes to their stride. Limping or struggling to walk of any kind should be addressed immediately. If they start to vomit or have a fever, go to the veterinarian.
Always remember, a trip to the veterinarian is advisable before starting an exercise regimen, keep an eye on the temperature before heading outside, and remember to bring water with you on extended trips. If you need help walking your dogs, 2 Paws Up Inc. would love to help you (and your furry friend) out!!