Exercise is not only healthy for you, but it can be a perfect way to improve your pet’s health and bond with them at the same time.
Researchers at Michigan State University found that about 61% of dog owners walk their dogs and are 34% more likely to fit in 150 minutes of walking per week than non-dog owners.
There is no question that owning a dog can increase your physical activity and in turn decrease your stress levels and reduce your risk of chronic diseases. However, pet workouts are also beneficial for canine health.
Dogs Need Physical Work
Dogs have a long history of domestication and most were bred for work, like hunting or herding, making dogs naturally more athletic than humans. Consequently, a sedentary lifestyle can lead to canine diseases as well as behavior issues.
Dogs Need Humans to Exercise
Why does your dog need you to exercise? If they have a yard to run around in, isn’t that enough? Dogs, much like their wolf ancestors, are social creatures and follow the lead of their master. They wait for your queue as to what is the next task at hand and are not likely to run laps, jump, and play without your command and/or presence. Therefore, they need YOU as a workout buddy.
Not All Dogs Are Created Equal
Just like we have various fitness levels based on different physical conditions, dogs also have limitations on exercise based on breed, age, and size.
Walking is the general form of exercise that both you and your dog can engage in regularly. However, there are more creative ways to incorporate exercise to improve your dog’s health and yours:
**Puppy Spot is a service committed to helping responsible breeders place their puppies with caring individuals and families. I am a huge promoter of adopting versus shopping. But there are many that are attached to a specific dog breed and prefer a puppy. Therefore, it is great to know that there is a service like Puppy Spot that is comprised of “a community of dog lovers whose mission is to make lives better by placing healthy puppies into happy homes.”
Swimming and Doga (the name is the cutest) are low-impact exercises for both dog and human. However, if you have older dogs their endurance might be limited no matter the activity. Nevertheless, it is still important for your canine to do a little movement and get some precious bonding time with you as well.
Exercise and Bond
Here are some exercises to bond with your best friend:
Carry your dog comfortably in your arms while you do any squat variation you like. Make sure your knees are in line with your ankles and do not surpass your toes. Keep your butt down, your core tight, and your back straight.
Zoey is a 16-year-old Cocker Spaniel and is an amputee. She is unable to walk for long periods of time so after she is done with her short walk she needs to be carried. She loves being in our arms as long as she is taking the journey with us so stopping to do a few squats helps get a sweat in while she enjoys the ride!
Leia (short for Princess Leia) is an 11-year-old Yorkie and she has short bursts of energy where she sprints and jogs. But she quickly gets worn out and needs to stop for a long break. Leia is small enough to fit in a pet backpack like the Lambo from Pet Magasin*, so I can put her in the backpack while I continue my workout.
You can do these walking forward while alternating legs or you can do one leg at a time. Just like with the squats, make sure your knees are in line with your ankles and do not go past your toes.
Standing Oblique Twist
This exercise works best with smaller dogs. Hold your dog close (they love every minute of it) and twist your torso from one side to the other while your legs stand shoulder width apart. Keep your knees slightly bent and tighten your abs the entire time. Make sure you are breathing steadily.
I must deviate for a moment to tell you about the Lambo backpack. We (my husband, Leia, Zoey, and I) all love it! It is perfect for traveling and comfortable for your small dog.
You can wear it as a backpack or carry it as a carrier. It is an airline approved carrier so you can take it on board to your next adventure.
It also converts to a portable kennel and it is made with premium materials, such as waterproof Oxford fabric, padded backpack straps, top-quality zippers, and panels of tough yet breathable mesh.
The Lambo was a life savior when we had to evacuate for Hurricane Irma. We carried Leia in the backpack with ease to free up our hands to carry Zoey and other pieces of luggage. We also used it to store their leashes, food, bowls, and waste bags.
I was also able to use the Lambo for some doggy and me exercises as shown above and the best part is that it is affordable! If you’re interested in one for your pooch, check it out on Amazon here or on their website.
Exercising with my girls (Zoey and Leia) is fun and we get to enjoy each other’s company. It is also great to know that we are mutually reaping the health benefits.
What are some fun ways you exercise with your pet?
*This post was powered by BrandBacker in return for my honest review.