Just like humans, dogs need to stay active to live a long and healthy life. April is Canine Fitness Month, making this the perfect time to work on this aspect of your dog’s health. Getting your fur kid moving is easier than you think – try these 5 tips to get started.
1. Establish a Routine
The simplest way to improve your dog’s fitness is to make walking a regular activity. Take your dog for a 20-minute walk at least once a day, preferably at the same time. This is the most effective strategy to start off with, especially if your dog is old or out of shape. The more times you take him out, the more he will come to expect this outing and the more enthusiastic he will be about it.
2. Explore Your Local Dog Park
The dog park is the perfect place for you and your dog to explore together. Not only do these places have plenty of space for your dog to run free, but some also have additional features like obstacle courses and paddle pools. These amenities allow your dog to try out some new activities and help you determine which ones are best suited to his abilities.
3. Bike with Him
If you want to give your dog a particularly intense workout, try taking him with you on a bike ride. He’ll have to run to keep up with you, giving him a good reason to push himself more than he would on a simple walk. He’ll enjoy the challenge and you’ll get some exercise too – everybody wins. For safety reasons, be sure to use a sturdy lead when you do this and consider using a harness to avoid hurting your dog if you have to come to a sudden stop.
4. Invest in New Toys
New toys are a great way to drive active play. The novelty gets your dog’s interest quickly, and to use it, he’ll have to get up and get moving. For best results, choose throwable toys like tennis balls, frisbees, or flying disks. Your dog will love chasing after these items so much he won’t even notice you’re working on his fitness.
5. Find Him Some Friends
No human playmate can match a dog’s energy like another dog can. Dogs with canine friends have many more opportunities to stay fit than dogs who rely solely on their owners for playtime. See if any of your friends or neighbours have dogs that tolerate other animals well. If they do, the dogs can play together and tire each other out. If there are no other dogs around, consider getting the neighbourhood kids to play with your canine companion. Most will be more than happy to help, and their high-energy antics are sure to get your dog moving.
Give Your Dog a Fitness Boost
Canine Fitness Month may be over soon, but the habits your dog picks up during this time should set him up for better fitness for life. Take advantage of this opportunity to improve your dog’s well-being. In the long run, you’ll be happy you did.