Tips to Kickstart an Active Lifestyle for You and Your Dog
Even a tiny amount of exercise is vastly better for your dog (and you!) than none.
The truth is, you don’t need to go all-out exercising fanatically with your dog to see results. Here are some easy tips to kick up your activity levels with your dog.
Start With Walking
One of the best forms of exercise is incredibly simple: walking. It’s free. It’s easy. And you don’t need any special kit or equipment, just a leash and collar (or harness). If your pet has joint problems, you’ll need to be careful and perhaps get medical advice as well as take the grade (incline) of your walk terrain into consideration—but for most, walking is painless.
It’s important to take your dog’s feet, specifically pads, into consideration when increasing activity levels or trying a new adventure. The pads are your dogs’ “shoes” and if they’re in bad shape your pet will potentially have some pain when walking. Be aware of what type of surface (asphalt, dirt, rocks, grass, etc) your pet is walking on and how that may impact their overall comfort level. Salt and sand in the winter or hot asphalt in the summer can burn your dog’s feet.
Don’t Treat Exercise as a Chore
Exercise isn’t a job or a chore, but it can feel like it if you’re in a routine that doesn’t fit you and your dog! If you find you don’t like a particular form of exercise, try something else instead. Consider a dog sport that pairs physical activity with competition such as dog agility or skijoring.
Find something about the walks with your dog that you like and look for ways to make it even more enjoyable. You can listen to your favorite podcast along the way, taking a walk near your favorite coffee shop or plan to meet friends at the dog park instead of walking your dog alone. Personally, I dislike being passed by cars while walking, so we try to find more nature trails/hikes where we can enjoy wildlife.
It’s Never Too Late
Even if your dog has been unfit for years, even if he already has health problems due to your lack of fitness, it is never too late to change things. Of course, consult your veterinarian if you know that exercise could be problematic for your dog—but don’t assume that there’s nothing you can do.
Don’t be put off by the latest fitness trends and the pressures that can accompany them. It’s perfectly possible to be fit, healthy and happy without spending hours working out. Take small steps. Get started today and, you never know, you might just find you enjoy it.