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?