It’s that time of year when many of us are looking to get into shape and shed a few pounds. Whether it be running, or something more adventurous like rock-climbing, starting a new fitness journey is an exciting time.
To help reach fitness goals and make the experience more fun, many search for a fitness buddy to join them. But instead of sending out inquiries on Facebook, you might want to look a little closer to home.
Chances are if you have a doggo, you’ve already got a reliable companion chomping at the bit to join you!
Dogs make great workout buddies - they’re pawsitive, bubbling with excitement, and excellent motivators. Come rain or shine, it’ll take a lot for your dog to miss out on a session. Oh, and once you’re finished you’ll get some kisses and cuddles too!
Just like humans, dogs need daily exercise. It’s unfortunate that many pet owners look beyond their furry friend when starting a fitness routine. According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, 53% of dogs are overweight or obese - a problem that can onset heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and more.
By getting out and about with your pup, you’re:
There are plenty of fun ways to get your dog panting for more and keep you in good shape!
Before you jump headfirst into a new exercise routine with your dog, there are a few precautions to take.
Not every dog is at the same fitness level, nor are they all capable of doing every type of exercise. For example, running isn’t recommended for puppies, short-legged, or short-nosed breeds like Bulldogs and Pugs. They’d much prefer a morning swim than a 5k run!
Once you’ve picked out an exercise (we recommend confirming with your veterinarian first), remember to settle into the new routine. You can’t expect your doggo to be like a greyhound out the traps - you have to gradually increase the distance and intensity of every workout.
The last thing to do is to check the weather. In particular, flat-faced breeds will struggle to breathe in heat and humidity. If the weather is hot, exercise in the morning or evening, choose shaded routes (hot pavement can burn paws), and always carry water.
A daily walk is the bare minimum you should be giving your dog, and hopefully, that’s something you’re already doing. Ideally, you’ll have a 30-minute morning walk and one in the evening too.
A daily routine is best. Dogs are creatures of habit, and having a routine gives your pup something to look forward to. Once your pup is in the flow of a daily walk, you’ll struggle to get away with a day-off.
If you want to up the ante, take your dog with you on a run - this will give your pup a chance to properly stretch their legs!
As you run, be mindful of your doggo’s breathing and pace; big dogs will easily keep up with your stride, but smaller dogs will have to work extra hard to keep up with you. Start with short, slow runs and build up week by week.
Dog yoga isn’t as far-fetched as it might sound! To dogs, it’s actually pretty natural. Where do you think the downward-facing dog pose comes from?
During a doga session, you can incorporate your pup into your poses and teach your furry friend some new stretches. But dog yoga isn’t all about the moves; it’s a great bonding activity, and even the most hyperactive dogs will be chilled out by the end of class.
If your dog is always the first to jump into water when you walk past lakes or streams, maybe it’s time to turn their love for swimming into an exercise routine.
Start your new routine in a pool to test your dog’s swimming skills, and then move to larger bodies of water once you’re confident of their strength. Bring a ball or frisbee, or go for a side-by-side swim.
Fresh air, picturesque scenery, and your furry friend by your side. What could be better than a hike and camping weekend with your dog? Hiking is great exercise and reconnects us with nature and beautiful scenery. Your doggo’s senses will be running overtime as you stroll through nature trails.
Pack plenty of water and healthy snacks, and bring a secure leash for your dog – there’s often plenty of wildlife on hiking trails, so having a strong leash can prevent any unwanted run-ins.
Since you’re already out and immersed in nature, why not turn an afternoon hike into a weekend? Trust us, your dog will love a night under the stars! Just make sure your pup is up to date on their flea and tick medication.
If your dog is so exuberant that they’re nearly pulling your arm off when you walk or run, it’s probably time to give them a proper run-out alongside your bike.
Biking is ideal for doggos who are filled with energy - it gives them the opportunity to run at full-pelt. Attach a flexible leash that absorbs much of the force of sudden tugs to your bike frame or seat stem.
Paddle boarding is a new and exciting way for you and your pooch to exercise and enjoy time in the great outdoors. Dogs can ride on the nose, but it does require some training.
Your dog might be a strong swimmer, but the paddleboard brings an extra element that your dog isn’t familiar with. Familiarize your pup by bringing your paddleboard indoors, then practice standing on the board in shallow water, and then head out for a paddle on a calm day.
If you're struggling to balance the board, paddle on your knees. This makes things easier and ensures your dog is comfortable. As a safety precaution, get your pup a life jacket.
Doggos love a peaceful venture out in a canoe or kayak! The opportunity to see wildlife, explore new areas, and have a splash to cool off is too appealing to miss out on.
Teach your four-legged buddy to hop in and out on land first and then practice in the shallow water close to shore. Stick to slow-moving rivers or calm lakes to start with, and eventually, you’ll have your pup swimming alongside you, jumping in and out of the water.
There you have it! Seven fun ways to exercise with your dog and get in shape. Embark on a new fitness journey with your pup, today. Tag us in your photos, we’d love to see what you and your dog are getting up to!
Remember, your doggo’s health goes beyond a solid workout routine - their dental routine is just as important! A daily oral routine can keep your pup’s gnashers looking as good as their muscles. Browse our collection of dental care toys and healthy treats now!