There is no question that human lifestyle habits are affecting the level of exercise that some pet owners give their dogs which in turn is leading to a rise in less active and more overweight dogs across the country. It can also be a contributing factor to unwanted behaviour problems, as dogs will find their own way to expel built up energy.
Consider whether you are the type of owner that takes their dog out for excursions rather than exercise? Accompanying you in the back of your vehicle on the school run, then to the supermarket and back home for a romp in the garden. Or, are you perhaps a fair-weather dog walker? Do you think a small dog needs little exercise or that you can save the walks until the weekend?
Dogs that are past puppyhood and not yet in their ‘golden years’ are in the prime of their life and assuming they are injury and illness free are eager to exercise and need to do so each day. These dogs require a minimum of two 45 minutes walks each day but a fit and healthy adult dog will happily do more.
All dogs enjoy exercise but you do need to adjust the type and length of exercise depending on their age.
There’s no question that every pet dog deserves a daily exercise routine and the start of a New Year is a great time to reassess this. If you have made some resolutions of your own about getting fitter, what could be better than keeping your fitness goals on track with the canine companionship of your faithful four-legged friend?
Any increase in exercise should be done gradually. Start by adding 10 minutes to a walk for the first week and then building up by a further 10 minutes the next week and so on.
Any concerns you have regarding your dog’s body condition should be discussed with your dog’s vet, especially if your dog has a more serious weight problem. If you are in any doubt seek veterinary advice before starting your dog on a new exercise regime.
If you want to find something more energetic that will benefit you and your dog there are lots of dog activities and sports that you can start and local clubs always want newcomers. Activities such as Dog Agility or Flyball. You can find out about these and more at www.thekennelclub.org.uk/activities
. Here you can also read about ‘get fit with fido’ an initiative with The Kennel Club and Rosemary Conely CBE.
If you are taking up running or a seasoned runner you might like to find out more about Canicross – It’s the sport where you can only run if you are with a dog (www.canicross.org.uk
So pick up your dog’s lead and enjoy the health and vitality that time spent with your dog can bring!