Pawsome Workout Buddies: Exercising With Your Dog

   

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Exercising With Your Dog

Working out can sometimes feel like a bit of a chore. Why not make it an extra pawsome time by doing it with your best buddy? Here are some great ways you can get a workout in with your pup.

The best workouts are shared with your fitness buddy! Your fitness partner doesn’t necessarily have to be human though. Doggos make the best companions and are the perfect workout partners! We are sharing some great tips on some exercises you can do with your pup, how to get started and everything else you should know.

Getting Started

It’s exciting to take your pup out on fitness adventures but before you begin, you need to make sure your pooch is physically fit and healthy.

This means you should take them to the vet for a little checkup. Your vet can evaluate your dog for any health problems that may affect your dog during workouts. It’s also important for the vet to take a look at your dog’s joints and muscles. Your dog may require low-impact exercises if their joints are slightly weak.

Explore: when you should take your dog to the vet - signs to look out for

Establishing a Routine

It’s a great idea to establish a routine with your dog. Make sure to keep the routine realistic by considering your work schedule, daily demands as well as your dog’s needs. Pooches with high levels of energy or younger dogs usually need a lot of exercise.

Start with a short-term goal of exercising for 5 or 10 minutes every day or every second day. Gradually work up to 30 minutes on most days of the week. Remember that although small puppies have boat-loads of energy, they shouldn’t do high-impact exercise while they are growing. This can impact the development of their joints.

Important things to remember

Dogs are faster than humans and usually have more energy than we do but they can get just as tired as we can!

Make sure you watch for signs that one of you may be overdoing it. You may be working too hard if you are too breathless to carry on a conversation. Your dog may be getting too tired if they are breathing fast, panting excessively, staggering, or refusing to follow you.

If either of you is stiff, sore, or exhausted for hours after a workout, change up the workout and take it slightly easier next time.

If you are working outside on a hot summer’s day on tar or brick, make sure you check the heat of the ground. If it’s too hot for you, it’s definitely too hot for your pup.

Read: 5 surprising ways your dog can help you keep fit

Dog-friendly workouts

Let’s go for a walk

Walking is a lower impact workout and a brisk walk is an ideal exercise for both you and your doggo, especially if they’re still growing.

Taking your dog for regular walks has a variety of benefits:

  1. a stronger heart
  2. lower blood pressure, more energy
  3. denser bones
  4. lower risk of depression
  5. Regular walks can also reduce common behaviour problems in your dog.

There’s no set rule for how far or how long your dog should walk. Just work slowly toward a goal and slowly increase your speed and how far you walk. Give you and your dog some time to adjust.

Explore: Should I microchip my dog?

Dog Dancing

Long walks might be a bit boring or you don’t have anywhere you can walk. You should try dancing with your dog.

You can do this in your house, in the lounge or anywhere you have enough space. Put on your favourite jams and start dancing! You'll have your pooch running between your legs and performing other tricks, the perfect form of cardio. Dancing with your fur-baby will burn calories and develop greater stamina, better balance, lower blood pressure, and improve muscle tone and bone density.

It’s time for a jog

Not all dogs are built to jog or run.

Some dogs are built for short-distance sprints and others love long-distance runs. Before you go for a run with your pooch, do a little research or ask your vet if your dog will be able to handle it.

Make sure you wait until your pup is fully grown and then gradually build up to a 30-minute excursion. Remember to start with a 5-minute warm-up, and then move to 20 minutes of jogging, and 5 minutes of cooldown.

Pro tip: dogs can’t sweat, so avoid the hot times of the day and stop if your dog is lagging behind you!

Can your pup swim?

Swimming is a great full-body workout and is beneficial for both humans and dogs!

This exercise is low-impact and easy on the joints, making it a perfect exercise for dogs with arthritis. Swimming works out a variety of muscle groups, improves endurance and strengthens your heart and lungs (yours and your pooch’s). Try using toys or treats to encourage your pup but if they resist and don’t like it - it’s time to find a new sport!

Read: Do you have pet insurance?  The ultimate guide to Oneplan’s pet insurance

Play fetch, throw a frisbee - all of the games!

Playing games with your dog is a classic way for them to get in a little workout. But it doesn't do much for you if you're just standing there throwing a ball or a frisbee.

The best thing to do would be to make a game of fetch part of your home workout routine. You can do lunges, squats or abdominal crunches as you throw the ball. You might think it’s a good idea to throw a heavier ball so you can build more muscle, but a soft, lightweight toy is safest for your dog.

Read: Interactive indoor games to play with your dog

Weekend hikes

If you have hiking spots where you stay, you and your dog are bound to go on some of the best adventures!

Most dogs love to go out and find new smells and see other animals while spending time with their favourite human. Make sure to keep a brisk pace to elevate your heart rate. After hiking, make sure to check your pooch (and your own body) for ticks!

The Not So Secret Spots of Cape Town: Our Top 4 Hiking Trails in the Mother City

I Know A Spot! Hiking in & around Jozi during lockdown: Our 4 top picks

Dog parks

Dog parks are ideal when you don’t have a garden or if you want a big enough space to let your pup run free.

Off-leash running and playing lets your dog set their own pace, so they can burn energy, then rest when they are tired. But before taking your pup to a dog park, make sure your pup is old enough and has had all of their shots!

Dog parks are a great place for your pooch to socialize and allow for mental stimulation that comes with exploring and adventuring. You’ll probably also get a little workout in by trying to keep up with your fur-baby.

Pro tip: It's a good idea to complete some obedience training before allowing your dog off-leash.

Exercising with your dog is an amazing way to bond with your pet while keeping healthy! These are just some of the best workouts to try.

 

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