Canines Make the Best (Exercise) Companions

by on January 11th, 2010 at 7:00 am

You know you should go for a run… But sometimes, the excuses crop up, from it’s too hot/cold/humid/ insert-excuse-here. However, when you have a pair of big, loving eyes and a wagging tail encouraging you to sneaker up and go- motivation comes a lot easier!

Before you begin

Make sure your four-legged friend is in good physical condition before bringing him or her along, from up-to-date vaccinations to trimmed nails. Also be sure your dog is capable of being a jogging companion by keeping in mind a few considerations:

  • Age: Most dogs reach physical maturity around 9-12 months, so avoid sustained running or high exertion before they are fully developed to avoid stressing their joints. Likewise, do not over-exert an elderly dog.
  • Breed: Toy breeds or dogs with short legs such as Dachshund or Pekinese have limitations on physical exertion, as much as they may want to come along! Hip dysplasia is a limitation for many larger breeds such as Golden Retrievers and German Shepherds so do not over-exert these breeds. Short-snouted dogs such as Bulldogs and Boxers may have difficulty breathing, especially in warmer weather, so keep in mind time of day and climate.  When in doubt with your pet’s abilities, check with your vet.
  • Intensity & Duration: Just as you must build up your endurance levels, so does your dog! Even for breeds such as Greyhounds that are known for their racing ability, they are best suited for high-intensity, short-duration sprints and must work up to a longer, steadier pace.
  • Always Leash Up! For you, your dog, and for passerby, having firm control of your pet at all times will ensure a safe experience for all. Even if your dog is very submissive on walks, there is always the chance of new stimuli that may cause even the most obedient dog to be spooked. In addition, you get to set the pace!
  • Going from ‘Walks’ to ‘Runs’. Making the transition into a running buddy isn’t always easy, so help your pet out by distinguishing between his or her walking leash and jogging leash, which will with time become recognizable to your pet. Before and after your workout, allow your pet ample time to go to the bathroom and get some ‘sniffing’ time in. Be consistent and exercise with your pet at least three times a week for maximum health benefits.
  • Food & Water. Always carry water for yourself and your dog, and avoid exercising your pet too soon after a meal.

Have fun with your new workout buddy! You’ll both enjoy great health benefits from the exercise, in addition to your routine providing great stress-relief and bonding time.

Energy Tonic promotes healthy energy levels and vitality for dogs and cats of all ages, including aging pets.

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