Reasons to Workout With Your Dog
In the UK we are a nation of dog lovers, and they are now a huge part of our family and lives. They eat with us, sleep with us and travel with us, so it stands to reason that they could exercise with us too. Once upon a time, this wouldn’t stretch any further than a stroll through the park, but there are now lots of opportunities to workout with your dog.
This isn’t just a nice thing to do with your dog, there is also a huge range of benefits to doing it. Here, we take a look at some of our favourite reasons for getting your dog involved in your exercise regime.
1. Dog health
No matter what breed or size of your dog, it will need to be exercised regularly. This plays a big part in avoiding obesity, which is one of the most common health concerns for our dogs.
How much exercise they need will vary, and your vet will help you to identify what their ideal weight should be and how much you should be working them. Generally speaking, puppies require several short walks during the day to let them get over the sudden bursts of energy that younger dogs can experience.
Adult dogs will need between 30 minutes and two hours of exercise per day, so finding a fun way to do this will benefit you both. If your dog has any kind of medical condition, you should check with your vet what a healthy exercise routine should look like.
2. Mental health
The mental health benefits of exercise are well documented. The combination of fresh air, vitamin D and endorphins can have a powerful effect on our mood, so why not let your dog experience this too? Exercise can play a massive part in tackling doggy anxiety that can lead to destructive behaviours, and they will also experience that same natural high that we do.
3. Dog behaviour
Exercise can have multiple effects on the behaviour of your dog. In the very simplest form, taking them out and giving them a good run around will help to tire them out. A tired dog is one which will rest properly at home and be generally calmer and quieter.
By being out and about on a regular basis, you are likely to encounter other dogs. Depending on the temperament of your dog, this can be tricky to start with, but over time it will help with their socialisation skills. It gives them a chance to interact with other animals and allows you to learn how to direct them and keep them safe but sociable.
4. Seeing the world
Taking your dog on the same old walk can get boring for both of you, so going a little further afield is great for everyone. Don’t be afraid to jump in the car and find some new spots to explore, just make sure that you include specialist car mats in your vehicle to help protect the interior of your car and will keep your dog safe and comfortable.
You can then travel to the mountains, the moors or even the beach to give you some new views to take in and give your dog some new scents to follow.
5. Joint health
Just like the rest of us, your dog can start to suffer with joint pain and stiffness as they get older. Regular and frequent exercise can help to ease any pain by keeping the joints lubricated and strengthening the muscles around them.
6. Different types of exercise
It is a common misconception that doggy exercise just amounts to walking up and down the street, but there are different ways to get you both moving. Walking on-leash gives your walks structure and control whilst off-leash adventures let your dog go at their own pace, often making it longer and more exciting.
It is important to remember that dogs don’t just love to walk. Swimming is often a favourite with our canine friends as it is a low-impact exercise that gives them a great cardio workout, just remember to check that it is a safe spot for them to do so. You could also look at dog sports and activities which allows them to build important social skills, discipline and co-ordination through catching and responding to instructions meaning that their brains get a workout as well as their legs.
If you don’t fancy joining a group, then a good old game of fetch is always a winner. Give your dog different terrains and territories to explore, such as running up hills or into water to keep them stimulated and get them working hard. Don’t be afraid to change up your fetch game by working in frisbees or favourite toys instead of a ball and using a launcher can help you to throw much further.
If you are a keen cyclist, then some dogs will love to accompany you. It is important to ensure that you are cycling in a place that is safe for the dog, such as trails and footpaths rather than near roads. The dog can run along side either off leash or using special attachments to keep them close by.
7. Weight loss
We have talked about avoiding obesity for your dog, but it stands to reason that a regular exercise routine will also be a benefit for yourself. By getting your heart beating faster each day, you will be helping your cardiovascular system, burning calories and working joints and muscles which will help to keep you healthier and limber.
8. Strengthening your bond
By exercising together, your dog will feel the bond that you both have. This will help the animal to feel loved, relaxed and content. Whether you explore somewhere new together or pick a favourite route, it is important to remember that you will always be accompanied by your best friend, so try to enjoy the time together and focus on your lovely companion.
We love our dogs and so working out together can benefit the health of both of you as well as helping to strengthen your bond. So, what are you waiting for? Grab the lead and shout “walkies”.