Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Working out with Your Buddy: Tips on Exercising Your Dog

Dogs love the dog days of summer! While we all enjoy vegging on the couch all summer long it is important to get some daily exercise. Dogs crave physical and mental stimulation. They also love bonding one on one with their guardian. Daily exercise not only helps you and your buddy build strong muscle. Eating healthy and proper exercise is the first step towards obesity prevention. Because like you, dogs can also put on a few unnecessary pounds.

Not only does exercise promote good health for pets. Exercising gives dogs a natural and constructive way to relieve some aggression and energy. It is true that a happy dog is a tired dog who has had quite a workout. Dogs that don't get enough outdoor play & romping will become bored and have behavioral problems. With so much pent up energy and no outlet, dogs are bound to start digging up the yard & chewing up everything in sight.

Some dog owners have a misconception that a fenced in back yard, treadmill and brief daily walk is enough to keep their dog happy, healthy and on good behavior. But dogs get bored very easily and thrive on variety and spontaneity. Like they say variety is the spice of life. So, with that said instead opt to take your dog to a local dog park to play with other friends off leash. Dog parks are a great way to nurture canine socialization skills, but make sure to follow park rules.

For the adventurous type, hiking the rugged & mountainous trails will do. Don't forget to stop and take in the beautiful views. Remember if you do go hiking in the woods don't forget the bug & flea protection, water & treats to refuel.

For those that love a good run, taking your exercise buddy on a brisk jog will suffice. When you do decide to take your dog for a jog or biking adventure make sure to remember these key points:

1. Take rest breaks because dogs get tired too.
2. Carry plenty of water to quench you and your dog's thirst
3. On hot days jog or bike with your pup early in the morning or late evening when the sun goes down to avoid heatstroke & health complications
4. NEVER take your dog jogging or biking if they have serious medical problems with out the consent of a vet.

So what is the secret to developing an exercise regime that both you and your dog will enjoy? Well it all starts with determining how much exercise your dog needs which is based on age, weight, health and breed. Some breeds require a lot more exercise so do your research and ask a vet or expert. Then the next step is to answer some basic questions. Is your dog eating a lot? If it is, is it eating out of boredom? Yes, dogs can overeat when they are bored so putting your dog n a strict diet and not leaving their bowl filled through out the day can shed a few pounds of their waistline. Is your dog a hunter or a retriever who likes to run or is it a small breed who likes to sit on the couch? If so, then daily excercise & play is a must. Just answering these basic questions will help you gauge the proper workout for your dog.

Do remember that even senior dogs need to stay in shape, but exercising should be monitored carefully. Older dogs should take it easy so slow walks are the best. If you have a pregnant dog you should take extra precaution so as not to exert her. Although daily exercise is key to your dogs overall health and well being you should consult your vet if your dog has any medical issues prior to starting a fitness program.

IMPORTANT: Do not allow exercise for two hours after a meal because your dog could get bloat. Bloat is a life-threatening condition also known as gastric dilation-volvulus (GDV), stomach torsion or twisted stomach. What happens is that gas builds up in the stomach and cannot be expelled by belching or flatulence.

So, how can you prevent bloat? Give your dog two small meals per day instead of one large meal & slow down their eating habits. Do not allow your dog to drink very large quantities of water right before or after eating, and restrict play & exercise for two hours after a meal
. Keeping your dog at optimum weight can also aid in prevention of bloat. Signs of bloat include depression, pacing, hard or distended stomach, panting and drooling and unproductive attempts to vomit (it may appear as if the dog is coughing). Call the vet immediately.

As mention above going to a park is a great way for your dog to make new friends and play. Not only can it be fun for your dog, you can also enjoy this bonding experience. Dogs & humans love a simple game of fetch, chase & tug of war. But getting that four legged couch potato on his paws can be a hard task at times. Here are some Summer Toy Must Haves that will get you and your dog excited about a good workout. These toys are fun, eco-friendly, safe, and interactive. The whole purpose of these toys is to get you & Spot in shape while nurturing the human-dog bond. Who said working out couldn't be fun & enjoyable! Hey, with so much fun in the air you & Spot would never guess you were working out!

1. Its a bird, Its a plane, No its the West Paw Zisc! This frisbee is eco-friendly and dog-friendly. It is the perfect toy for dogs learning to catch or those seasoned pros. With just a few throws even the most active, hyper & energetic dog will be dead tired and slumped on the couch, bed or floor.

2. Dog vs. Person or Dog vs. Dog. The Planet Dog Tug is great that avid tugger & fetcher in your life. If you love a good game of "tug-o-woof" then you will love this!

3. A retrievers dream the West Paw Hurley is all the fun of a ball, bone and a stick in one durable toy. Toss it, float it, chew it, love it.

4. Summer Fling- The West Paw Huck is a toy that can weather the storm. With a new twist on an old favorite, fetch takes on different bounce !This incredible ball will bounce in all directions, giving your dog added exercise, and a good mental workout, to boot. Fling it across the field, bounce it on the ground, or toss it in the water (it floats!). You name it, the Huck can handle anything your dog dishes out.

Just remember that spending time with your dog & exercising should be fun & enjoyable for the both of you. But its up to you as the parent to make the first step toward a healthier lifestyle. For those just getting started it's all about taking small puppy steps, which can make a huge difference in the well-being of you and your pet.

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Don't forget to shop for your doggie summer staples. We offer eco-friendly, all natural and organic goodies for your deserving furry family member. We carry a great selection of Odor Free Bully Sticks / Dog Treats / and Dog Toys !


senior exercise products said...
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Julie Walraven said...

As the owner of a German Shepherd who survived bloat thanks to rapid intervention and talented surgeons who intervened when he had 3 hours to live, I appreciate the article. Teddy is now 6 years old. It was July 2008. I didn't know what bloat was, I just knew he hurt.