“If your dog is overweight – neither of you are getting enough exercise!”
Your pet’s state of health is usually a mirror of your own. So if you and your beloved canine are leading a sedentary lifestyle, it might be time for a change that can benefit you both. Regular exercise helps humans and canines maintain muscle mass and improve cardiovascular function, both keys to health, wellness, functionality and longevity.
Exercise and good nutrition go hand-in-hand.
¨ A humane/canine fitness partnership should be viewed as a preventive measure, begun as early as possible in your dog’s life. “Use it or lose it” applies; physical exercise preserves muscle mass.
¨ But it’s never too late: even if exercise isn’t a regular part of your (and your pet’s) routine, it should be added immediately. Even a brisk 20-minute walk daily will have an impact.
¨ The ideal fitness program consists of a brisk walk/run on variable terrain, with some incline and decline (hill climbing and descent is good resistance training for muscles.)
¨ Play such as tug of war (being careful of the dog’s teeth and gums, and never pulling too hard so as not to put strain on the neck, especially in smaller breeds) or catch and fetch on a slight incline are also good ways to vary the routine (but if your animal is older or has hip weakness be sure the incline is not very steep).
¨ Remember that just as with your pet’s diet; you are in charge. For both of you to be active, you must be the proactive one. You set the pace to challenge your animal to a certain extent, but must also know its limits and play within that. Note that some breeds will keep on playing to please, even if they are exhausted.
¨ Always finish the workout with a special but healthy food treat.
According to the experts at Weider Pet Health (www.weiderpethealth.com), exercise is an innate need for dogs, and owners who engage in more physical activity to address this need automatically enjoy better health themselves.
So what are you waiting for? Turn that computer off and go take your dog for a walk….