Just like their owners, dogs face a series of increased health risks if they do not maintain a healthy weight and stay in shape. For this reason, dog owners have a responsibility to make sure that their pet gets plenty of indoor and outdoor activity to help manage their weight and stay fit and trim.
Walking is the tried-and-true doggy exercise, and although walks present lots of health benefits for both you and your puppy, you shouldn't be afraid to mix up your dog's workout routine. Try incorporating new exercises into your dog's activity routine in order to target new muscle groups, build physical strength, and experience more variety and fun together.
Building Stamina: Long-Distance Walks and Runs to Promote Heart Health
Going for walks is a standard activity that most dog owners take for granted. In fact, many dog owners love taking long, leisurely walks through the neighborhood with their pet, focused on the mental health benefits of this exercise without even considering its physical benefits. Allow your dog plenty of time to explore and sniff while walking, keeping him on a long leash that gives him the freedom to set a comfortable pace.
Speed and Reflex Conditioning: Fetch, Fido!
One of the most fun games to play with your dog is fetch – and most dogs enjoy it so much, they will play for hours at a time. If your pet has never played before, you might need to review the rules first, and select a toy that is not too heavy or otherwise uncomfortable to carry. With a bit of guidance, coaxing, and patience, your dog will surely catch on to the rules of fetch in no time. Dogs love to run back and forth during a game of fetch, while the owner can remain relatively stationary (how convenient!). This exercise also helps to train their ability to focus on tasks and build loyalty towards their owner.
Exploring the Great Outdoors: Hiking With Your Pet
Ever heard of the famous dog named Atticus? He and his owner, Tom Ryan, have been exploring mountain trails for years on challenging hikes throughout the Appalachian Trail on America's east coast. Ryan's story of hiking with his dog has helped give rise to the trend of bringing pets on the trail a boost – and demonstrates how rewarding it can be to explore new terrain on trails with your dog as a companion. Keep in mind that dogs are extremely keen on sniffing and chasing wildlife, and many breeds have a tendency to run away quickly and unexpectedly, so it is important to know your dog's limits and what length of a lead is appropriate for while you trailblaze together.
Playful Aggression: Fake-Fighting With a Game of Tug-o-War
It isn't always a bad thing when your pet growls – in fact, it's healthy to help your pet let off some aggression through "play fighting" in games such as tug-o-war. Select a relatively soft object, such as rope or a toy that will not hurt your dog's mouth or teeth, and gently tug on the item as your dog plays along. This will boost your dog's upper back strength and allow him to tap into his aggressive instincts in a harmless way.
Refueling After Exercise: Balancing Activity with A Healthy, Nutritious Diet
We often forget just how much exercise our pets get in the day: because they are active creatures, it is just that much more important that they get adequate rest and nutrition after exercise. Recharging after playing and other physical activity is important for all pets in the same way that it is for dogs. One of the most important aspects of refueling after play and exercise is top quality dog food, from trusted brands like Royal Canin, that have the protein, vitamins, and minerals necessary for the body to repair any stressed caused to your dog's muscle tissue.
Lilly Sheperd is freelance healthiness and wellness blogger with a soft spot for all animals.
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