Exercising With Your Pet
|People recognize how important regular exercise is to keep joints flexible, maintain a healthy weight and live a long life. The same statements can also be made regarding our pets. One of the simplest and most beneficial exercises for pets of all ages is walking. I try not to recommend too much walking or running on concrete which can cause paw excoriations, stress the back and joints, as well as cause excessive heat buildup in many pets. For sporting breed dogs especially, swimming can be another low stress option for exercise. However, even active pets can sometimes overdo swimming so it might be a good idea to invest in a pet life vest if your pet does a lot of swimming.
Some people will bicycle with their pets, but it is important to secure the leash to the bike, and to keep rides short and be aware of overheating risks as well. Some people can be really innovative and set up an indoor obstacle course at home, creating low jumps by using objects in the home such as cardboard boxes and tunnels. No matter which exercise you choose for your pet, be aware of any medical limiting conditions that may lessen exercise ability such as cardiovascular disease so it is always best to consult with your veterinarian before beginning an exercise program with your pet.
Also certain brachiocephalic breeds such as Boxers and Pugs have limited airway capacities with heavy exercise so one must usually go easier with such breeds. Also, remember that pets are not as good at cooling down as we are since they don’t sweat much, and most of their body heat is released through panting and their paw pads. Thus it’s important to keep exercising pets hydrated and sessions short.