Pet Information > Others > Pet Articles > Keeping Fit With Your Dog

Keeping Fit With Your Dog

28 17:00:39

With spring around the corner, many people tie on their neglected
running shoes and hit the road. Are you one of those people? If so, as
you head out the door, don’t forget your dog.

Obesity in dogs in the United States is just as big of a problem as it is
with their owners. Remember all those cold January nights when he
wanted a walk and you, well, just didn’t? Now is the time to get back out
there and make a healthy difference for both of you.

Before you begin, consider your dog’s current condition. If he’s out of
shape, begin slowly and work up gradually to more strenuous exercise,
which is good advice for both people and canines. Of course,
depending on the breed and age of the dog, you may have an excellent
running partner, or you may have to stick to walks for older and smaller

If you are a fitness guru, you can always go running or biking and come
back to walk your dog for a cool-down. Your dog appreciates a short
walk more than none at all. Many people feel guilty for not spending
enough time with their dog and instead of providing exercise, give them
quick treats or table scraps. Try not to fall into that trap. A daily walk will
strengthen your bond with your dog more than fattening scraps.
If your dog has more energy than you, teach him to fetch a ball or a
flying disc. All the retriever breeds enjoy this activity as well as
swimming. Fetching into water is excellent exercise for many breeds.
Here are some additional tips for exercising your dog:

1) Avoid exercising immediately before or after your dog has eaten.
Large dogs in particular are susceptible to bloat, a condition where the
stomach swells, cutting off circulation causing serious shock and death
usually within an hour. Always wait for your dog to cool down and
perhaps even stop panting before feeding. Deep-chested breeds, such
as German Shepherds, Great Danes and Dobermans are the most
susceptible. Feeding the dog before exercise creates the highest risk for
bloat, although bloat has other causes as well.

2) Take care of your dog’s paws. The health experts at also
recommend you clean any salt and packed snow out of your dog’s feet
in the winter. In the summer, be aware that hot asphalt can burn your
dog’s pads.

3) Train your dog to be a good citizen—no jumping on children or
charging after other dogs. Keep him on a leash where required and train
him to stay by your side.

Make exercising with your dog a habit. You’ll strengthen the bond with
your pet as you create a healthy lifestyle for both of you.

Diane Samson is a writer with The Lieurance Group, a freelance writers’
cooperative in Kansas City, Missouri. Samson can provide writing,
reporting and editing services for magazines, newspapers, corporate
communications and especially animal publications. Find out more
about her writing services at or
email her at [email protected]