6 Fun And Free Activities to Improve Your Dog’s Physical Fitness
Get moving with your pooch with these tips on fun and free physical activities.
Regular exercise is incredibly important for your own health and fitness, but it is also necessary for your pet. The more active your pet is, the healthier he is going to be. You don’t necessarily need to take your dog on a 5-mile run every day, but there are some simple ways you can improve your pet’s physical fitness as well as your own.
A leisurely walk just isn’t going to cut it. Most of the time, your dog spends his time sniffing patches of grass and trees. Kick up your fitness level by picking up the pace of your walk; aim for between 15 and 20 minutes per mile. At this speed, you should feel like you are putting in a good effort and your dog may begin panting. Panting is fine, but if your dog starts to exhibit labored breathing, you may need to stop for a rest.
If jogging hasn’t been your thing in the past, ease into it. Although most dogs love to run, you should take the time to build up endurance by starting with a couple of short jogs several times a week, gradually increasing the length of the jog. Warm up before you head out and keep an eye on your dog throughout to make sure he isn’t getting too tired. Your dog should also have a grasp on his basic obedience commands before heading out so he’s not distracted by obstacles in his path.
This activity is weather permitting, so as soon as those temperatures heat up, head to the beach or pool to make a splash. Swimming is an excellent low-impact exercise that will get your dog moving. Most dogs love water, so he’ll jump at the opportunity to make a splash. Does your dog need a little encouragement to get into the water? Try throwing a ball or a toy for him to retrieve.
Agility training is not just a great form of exercise for dogs, but it can also be a lot of fun. Weaving through poles and running over planks helps develop muscle coordination and keeps your dog active. If you don’t have access to an agility course, you don’t necessarily need to build one yourself; use low walls and fences, fence posts and other existing objects you have at your house for your dog’s course.
Disc dogging is a great dog sport to get into. You don’t have to enter a competition to get involved; start throwing around a dog-friendly disc in the backyard or at the park. Work on your throws by tossing the disc short distances, gradually working up to longer distances. Your pooch will gladly chase after it and bring it back for another round. Not only will this get your blood pumping, but it helps strengthen the bond between you and your dog.
Amy Tokic is the Editor of Petguide.com, the flagship site to over 70 different pet communities, which offers pet parents a one-stop-info-shop for all things dog and cat related. Amy's been with PetGuide since the beginning, guided by the wisdom of her Shih Tzu mix and furry roommate, Oscar. Together, this pet power couple has their paw on the pulse of the pet industry, sniffing out trends, advice, news, tasty treat recipes and other tail-wagging stories.