A fitness programme for you and your dog

Having a lethargic lifestyle and a tendency to be unfit and overweight is not only confined to humans, it can apply to dogs also. In fact, many vets are concerned about the growing number of obese dogs who are literally in danger of being killed by kindness by being given too many chocolates and treats.

So get out running or jogging – with your pet at your side. Here’s a few tips and advice to get you started.

  • Choose a flat and easy route, ideally away from the distractions of other people or dogs, such as a more remote area of a park or country footpath
  • Start with a brisk walk for the first week and gradually build up to a gentle jog before running 10 to 15 minutes once or twice a day
  • If your dog is overweight, old or a breed with short legs or flat nose like a pug or bulldog, breathing will be difficult so use common sense so do not do too much too quickly – for both your sakes
  • Know your (and your dog’s) limits. It may be that ultimately you don’t progress beyond a couple of regular daily brisk walks but this is far more beneficial than a slow shuffling stroll around the block
  • Wear the right shoes and consider the surface you are exercising on with regard to your dog. In the summer, asphalt and concrete can become very hot so be sure to keep your dog safe from the heat. Also, harder surfaces such as concrete could cause damage to the pads of your dog’s feet so grass may be better for jogging

  • During hot summer days take water along, or jog by places where drinkable water is available and go out early in the morning or late evening when it is cooler, rather than in the afternoon sun in summer as dogs cannot cope with heat as well as humans
  • Take safety precautions if you plan to exercise at night. Wear clothing that can be noticed in the dark and attach illuminated strips to your dog’s collar

Do it gradually and sensibly and you’ll see the improvement in health, weight and fitness – for yourself and your training partner!

 

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