Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Getting Fit with Fido: Exercise You’ll Both Enjoy

By Lisa Mason

Now that summer is officially here, it’s time to head outdoors with your dog! Going for walks and changing up the pace is a great way for both you and your four legged friend to get some exercise. However, there are lots of other ways you and your dog can get fit and have fun in the sun at the same time.

Dogs love to play fetch. You can throw a ball, a toy, a Frisbee or a stick and they will happily chase it down and bring it back to you. That’s great exercise for the dog, but you are just standing there waiting for him to come back. Change up the rules and race your dog to the object you throw. He will catch on pretty quickly and will run faster to beat you to the prize.

Build a “walk the plank” structure in your back yard. You will need four or more concrete blocks and a sturdy board (at least 6 feet long and 2 feet wide). Place the board on the concrete blocks spaced evenly. You don’t want the board to sag from you or your dog’s weight. Step up at the end and walk across the length and step down at the other end. Encourage your dog to do the same thing.

You may have to walk along beside him at first, but soon he will be hopping on the board and quickly moving across it. Teach the dog to run back to the other end and go again. Is he gaining in speed and agility faster than you are? Keep at it!

Swimming is another great way to get fit and have fun with your dog. Some people fuss about allowing the dog into the family pool, but if the dog is kept clean and groomed he shouldn’t leave doggie dirt behind. Dogs actually enjoy swimming and you should encourage your dog to follow you around the pool. Keep a close eye on a small dog as they may tire easily.

If you really don’t want your pup in the family pool, find a beach that allows dogs to come along and swim. Some campgrounds also have lakes that they allow swimming in. Invest in a day pass so you and your dog can go take a swim whenever you want.

Remember that in addition to exercise for keeping fit, your dog needs healthy food (just like adults). A premium quality food like CANIDAE All Life Stages dog food will give your dog the balanced nutrition he needs to stay healthy. You can also get some meaty-licious CANIDAE dog treats for in between meals and for training and snacks. You can trust that your dog is getting the healthy, balanced diet he needs to stay fit right alongside you.

For related reading, check out Can Your Pooch Help You Lose Your Paunch?; Running with Your Dog; Canicross – Head Cross Country with Man’s Best Friend.

Top photo by Anne Hornyak
Bottom photo by John Leslie

Read more articles by Lisa Mason

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