A few weeks ago I was approached by a puppy placement company to write about exercising with pets and using their infographic to go along with my post. It sounded like a great idea so I approached my running friends for pictures of their active furbabies. A little research made me question whether or not I wanted to associate my blog with that company and since I’d already gathered pictures of running, hiking, and SUPing dogs, I decided to create my own list of tips for exercising with your favorite pooch.
Whether you’re playing fetch with your pup or dangling a string for your kitty to attack, exercising with your favorite four-legged friend can be of great benefit to you both. Just as I would never recommend you putting on a pair of old running shoes and heading out for a five-miler the first time on the running trail, I’d never recommend starting your pet out too quickly either. Be smart when creating an exercise routine for your pet – knowing the benefits and being aware of what to avoid will help both you and your pet get the most out of your active time together and be happier in the long run!
How to start an exercise program with your pet:
- Find something you both love doing – don’t expect your tiny dog to be able to keep up with your long-legged stride
- Start slowly and gradually build up distance when running or walking
- Acclimate to new temperatures gradually – keep in mind that your furry friend can’t strip down to a tank when the weather warms up
- Pick a time of day when you both have the most energy
Benefits of exercising with your pet:
- Burns off excess energy for young pets with pent-up energy
- Hold each other accountable
- Helps with weight management for you both
- Increases energy for you both, especially if you lead a sedentary lifestyle
- Prevents some diseases for both you and your pet
- Keeps joints moving and more comfortable
- Gives you and your pet more time to bond
- Improves the quality of life for you both
What to avoid when exercising with your pet:
- Running on chemically treated roads in the winter
- Running on hot pavement in the summer
- Running in mid-day when your pet can’t cool itself as easily as you
- Throwing a ball into a dangerous location because your pet WILL chase it no matter where it goes
- Putting your pet at risk when playing in deep water – use a flotation vest for both you and your pet
- Allowing your pet to become dehydrated – carry water for both you and your pet
Exercising with your four-legged friend can be extremely rewarding. All it takes is some planning, a little common sense, and staying in tune with any signals your pet sends your way.
- Do you have a pet?
- If so, does your pet like to walk or run with you?
- If you have a pet, where did you get him/her?
Excellent post and beautiful pictures, thanks Deb! I own a pointer that runs with me every day, she is rescue from Mexico. Best running partner ever 🙂
Thank you, Jade! I had shepherd mix when I was in high school and he was the best running buddy!
We have a small dog (Coton de Tulear). She does like to go on walks, but also loves to sniff everything so it’s hard to maintain a steady pace! I usually just take her on short walks. Definitely no running with her!
Cyndi recently posted…How to set SMART goals
Ah yes, sniffing dogs do put a dent in keeping the heart rate up!
You know I am a Big proponent of spending quality time with pets, but I do cringe sometimes at some of the things people expect their pets to do. I see so many people out running on the trail with their dogs when it is clearly too hot. We had an instance last summer where Baylee burned her paws on the trail (and it wasn’t even real hot). So now I am overly cautious.
Poor Baylee! It must be hard to judge the pavement temperature and know when it’s too hot, especially since her paws got burned on a day when it wasn’t that hot.
I don’t have a pet but I love these ideas! I wish I was into running when my dog was alive because it would have been great to run with him!
Kimberly G recently posted…Tunes Tuesday 7.18 – Pump Up Music
Wouldn’t it have been fun to run with your dog? I don’t have a dog, but Nelson (pictured in the post) runs with my running group every morning during the winter. He stays right beside my friend Angela exactly like he is in the picture. He’s a sweetie!
I kind of wish I had a nice fluffy dog to run with!
Deborah @ Confessions of a mother runner recently posted…How To Build A Post Race First Aid Kit
Me, too, but don’t tell my sons! They wanted a dog when they were little and I wouldn’t let them get one because I assumed I’d end up being the one taking care of it…
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