Spring is (almost) sprung! If you’re anything like Shadow and me, you’re looking forward to warming days and brighter colors.
It’s time to get outside, stretch those legs, and shake off the cabin fever.
I’m betting that’s why April is Canine Fitness Month.
It’s the perfect time of year to get active and establish a workout routine with your furry friend.
The fact is dogs need exercise just like humans: about 30 minutes per day.
Why not make your dog your workout pal?
But before you lace up your running shoes, let’s talk safety first.
April is also National Pet First Aid Awareness month and while injuries can happen anywhere, it’s especially true when you’re active.
Now is a good time to double check that pet first-aid kit and make sure it’s filled with supplies like bandages, antibiotic ointment, and gauze.
I also recommend an extra collar/leash and treats, just in case. You never know when you’ll need extra treats or run into a stray dog.
Check for Pet CPR and First Aid classes online and in your area so you know exactly what to do in case of an emergency – it could save their life.
In addition, be mindful of your dog’s breed, as some are more prone to overheating than others.
Overheating happens and very quickly turns into a life-threatening emergency.
Most dogs will stop exercising when they overheat, but for lots of dogs, overheating happens easily and quickly turns into a life-threatening situation.
Working dogs like German Shepherds, will keep going until they drop.
Others, like French Bulldogs and dogs with squishy faces are more prone to overheat than other breeds.
Some signs of overheating in dogs include excessive panting, drooling, red gums/tongue, and vomiting.
No matter your dogs’ breed, if you even slightly suspect your dog is getting too hot, stop the activity and immediately give them water and take them to a shady spot.
Anytime you administer pet CPR, First Aid, or think your dog is overheating, it’s important they’re seen by the vet to check for anything serious.
Now that we’ve got the safety warnings out of the way, let’s get to the good stuff – 10 exercises you can do with your dog!
1. Jogging/Running – This one is pretty obvious, but it’s a great way to get in some cardio with your pup. Start slowly and work up to longer distances. If you’re not used to running, be careful not to overdo it – you don’t want to end up with an injury AND a dog!
2. Walking – A moderate pace walk is a great way for your dog to get some exercise, and it’s perfect if you’re not up for a run or jog.
3. Hiking – Another great way to get out and explore with your pup, hiking offers a bit more of a challenge than walking and can be tailored to any level of fitness.
4. Frisbee/Tennis Ball – These are classic games that can be played almost anywhere. Be sure to choose an appropriately sized ball or Frisbee for your dog’s size and strength.
5. Dog Park – Letting your dog off leash at the park is a great way to let them run around and play with other dogs. Just be sure to keep an eye on them and use caution when near other dogs.
6. Agility Course – If you have some space in your yard, set up a few agility obstacles for your dog to play on. This can be as simple or complex as you like.
7. Fetch – This one is probably Shadow’s favorite. A good game of fetch can keep her entertained for hours.
8. ‘Find it’ – Mental exercise is important, too and using their nose really tires out a pup. Hide treats around your house or yard and let your dog go find them.
9. Swimming – Swimming is a great exercise for both humans and dogs – just be sure to watch for sharks! Do-do-do-do-do-do!
10. Yoga – Believe it or not, there are yoga poses that are perfectly suited for dogs. You can find a few online or in a pet yoga book.
There are plenty more exercises out there, but these should be enough to get started.
The best part? You’ll both be getting much-needed exercise!
If all that sounds like too much work, start small.
Include a short 5 minute workout in your routine. That way, it’s obtainable and if your dog enjoys it, they’ll be sure to remind you, making them the best accountability partner! Good doggo!
There you have it – 10 exercises to keep your dog fit and active this April (and beyond) and how to get started.
Grab your leash and get moving!
Don’t forget to post pics of your workout sessions and tag @beyondspoilpooch on Instagram!