Dogs that get regular exercise and activity tend to display less behavior issues and stay in better health. Like people, what type of exercise your dog can handle and how much depends on his or her age, breed and health.
Because it’s important for the owners to stay active too, here are a few ways you can exercise with your dog. Make sure you are both up for a particular exercise by checking with your doctor and your dog’s veterinarian!
A 180-pound person can burn about 100 calories per mile walking, but you can use a free online calculator to more accurately predict your calorie burn. Dogs love to go for walks, especially if you vary your route and scenery to keep things interesting. Or, load Fido in the car and head to your local park or nature trail.
If you’re up for a bit more of a challenge, try hiking. Varied terrain can up your calorie burn, and nature lovers enjoy the scenery hiking provides. Your dog will no doubt enjoy the sights and smells of a hike as well!
If running or jogging is your thing, you can burn even more calories. A 175-pound person can burn around 259 calories during a 30-minute run at 5 mph.
But will Fido want to run with you? That all depends. Short-nosed breeds such as Boston terriers, pugs and bulldogs may have difficulty breathing. In addition, heavily muscled breeds may prefer to sprint rather than to run any distance. Running is one instance where it’s definitely best to check with your veterinarian before beginning.
A 180-pound person who plays catch for 30 minutes will burn approximately 100 calories.
Some dogs love to play catch or Frisbee, and if you have a high-energy dog, this can be a great supplement to regular walks.
Obesity is a major problem in pets just as it is in humans, and obesity can shorten a dog’s lifespan. In addition to the activities listed here, some people bike with their dog, and others learn agility – a great workout for dog and handler. Click on the resource links for even more ways to exercise with your pet. If you don’t have a dog, consider volunteering to walk dogs at your local shelter!