How to Keep Your Dog in Shape
It’s very important to keep your dog in shape. Various physical activities such as daily walks and hikes, running together, or simply playing in the park can provide huge benefits to your pet in the long run. Read on for some tips on how to get your dog in good shape.
Benefits of Regular Exercise
Regular exercise really has a lot of benefits to your dog’s health. Active dogs have a faster metabolism, eat less, and have fewer body temperature problems. By exercising regularly, not only will the dog be in great shape, but its energy will be redirected to something useful, instead of potentially destroying furniture or your belongings.
Age and Capabilities of Your Dog
The exercises that your pet needs to perform must be carefully selected according to age, breed, and its general health. In young dogs, such as those aged between six and 18 months, and shepherds, hunting dogs or terriers, the need for daily exercise is likely to be greater. However, if the dog is too old, young, or sick, strenuous exercise should be avoided.
It’s important to monitor the capabilities and limitations of your pet. If you notice that the dog is lagging behind or struggling, stop the training for that day and next time slow down or shorten the exercise. It’s also wise to gradually bring the dog to the intensity of exercise you want over a few weeks. Weather conditions can also be unfavorable – don’t force the dog if it is very hot or cold outside. Don’t forget to take regular breaks.
It’s up to you and your veterinarian to think of what is best for your pet, following its needs, abilities and health. Something you should never forget is to walk your dog every day.
Assess the Condition of the Animal
Visually understanding whether an animal is too heavy is quite simple: if there is no obesity, you will easily feel the ribs, and looking at the pet from above, you will see the waist. If you see that your pet is obese, take him to the vet. Have him assess the condition of your dog and determine if there are any health problems and make professional recommendations. For example, some breeds of dogs have a weak heart, and you need to know that before you make your pet strenuously exercise.
Obesity is not always the fault of the wrong lifestyle of the pet, so you should immediately find out if your dog has a tendency to gain weight. For example, neutered pets often gain more weight. Learn about risk factors for preventing overweight problems. Even if visually everything is fine with your dog, don’t wait for obesity to happen.
Develop a Proper Diet
There should be a strictly limited number of meals per day for your dog. Don’t give snacks and sweets during the day and don’t feed the animal everything that you and your family members couldn’t eat. If it already has weight problems, switch your pet to a diet. If not, it is enough for the diet to be balanced and healthy.
If your dog likes to perform tricks, low-calorie rewards will be the perfect thing for it. These can be pieces of banana, apple, pear or melon, peas, pieces of cooked meat, purchased low-calorie desserts or popcorn (without butter, oil and salt).
First, find the physical activity that works best for your pet and you. Explore the various options like walking, running, throwing a stick and coming back, swimming, playing with other dogs, or learning reward tricks. If you are a fan of some outdoor activities, include your dog in them. Try to go hiking with your dog, physical activity will be pleasant for both of you.
Set Aside the Time to Play with Your Pet
An adult dog will not begin to move actively on its own, it should be motivated with something. Add excitement. Buy a pair of toys and train your pet regularly. This is a good way to strengthen your bond with it and cheer both yourself and your dog up.
Motivate the Dog to Move Around
If the animal is lazy and toys don’t motivate it, you will have to switch to a different strategy – its love for food. Teach it to deserve food. Offer it dinner or lunch in a playful way. There are a lot of great solutions in pet stores – a ball that will spill food while you play with it, or an interactive device from which the dog will have to get its food.
Pet-fitness appeared in big cities a few years ago, but it didn’t gain much popularity at the time. The philosophy of such institutions is simple: if the owner doesn’t have time to walk his dog or play with the cat for a few hours a day, let him take them to a place specially intended for that. Thus, the pet will be able to maintain its natural activity, and expend energy on toys instead of curtains and wallpaper in the apartment, thus maintaining a good mood.
These gyms are especially useful for dogs, which need more activities than two short walks a day outside. In the fitness center, the dog will be able to swim, run on the treadmill or do other exercises under the supervision of experts. All doggy workouts are held individually. Often, animal fitness centers are also used to rehabilitate pets after injuries or illnesses.
As a rule, new clients are accepted into such institutions only with confirmations of the necessary vaccinations. Apart from these gyms, they are developing simulators for pets: special toys for parrots, wheels and ladders for hamsters, multi-layered “houses” for cats with steps. A good trainer is not cheap, and you should only hire one if you are sure that you aren’t ready to deal with your dog on your own.
Bily Bum is an electrical engineer, tech, and gaming fan with 15 years of experience in the technology world. He uses every spare moment to workout to stay in shape. With his family and friends, he likes to go camping or picnicking where he enjoys the benefits of nature. He is also a contributor on site Techiezer.