Fitness Articles

Exercising with Your Dog

Pets Can Help Improve Your Health & Fitness

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  • Start slowly, gradually increasing the time and intensity of the activity. This will safely strengthen your pet’s muscles, aerobic capacity, and footpads.
     
  • Pay attention to how your pet is feeling. Signs that your pet needs to slow down or stop include drooling, stumbling, trouble breathing, and a long, droopy tongue. Take a break and consider making tomorrow's workout shorter. Also remember that in hot weather your pet can't sweat like you do to keep cool.
     
  • Concrete and asphalt are tough on your friends’ paws—especially on hot days. Try to walk or run on dirt paths (or grass) as much as possible.
     
  • The longer you work out, the more water Fido needs. Bring along a collapsible water dish to help your pet stay hydrated.
     
  • Be realistic about your pet’s limitations. Many smaller breeds love going for a brisk walk, but you’ll probably have to carry them on a strenuous hike. Animals with a thin coat will not tolerate cold weather very well, whereas dogs with thick coats don’t do well in the summer heat.
     
  • You should avoid strenuous exercise with your pet until they are finished growing (after 9-12 months for most dogs).

Working out with a buddy can be motivating and make exercise more enjoyable. So think about making a buddy out of your four-legged friend!

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About The Author

Jen Mueller Jen Mueller
Jen received her master's degree in health promotion and education from the University of Cincinnati. A mom and avid marathon runner, she is an ACE-certified personal trainer, health coach, medical exercise specialist and behavior change specialist. See all of Jen's articles.

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