Put your shoes on, grab a leash or a dog toy, and get outside! April is National Canine Fitness Month, and when dogs are involved, fitness is so much more fun. It’s a win-win for us and our furry friends!
COVID-19 (coronavirus) and the subsequent “stay at home” orders have us in strange times across the globe, and Raleigh, NC is no exception. Fortunately, we’re allowed to still get out for a walk or run to exercise as long as we maintain proper social distance. So at a time when we need to exercise more than ever—both for our physical health and our mental health during a stressful period—our sweet pups also need to keep fit and healthy to ensure they live long, comfortable, happy lives! We’re all in this together, dogs included.
It may seem obvious, but dogs, like humans, benefit hugely from keeping fit with regular exercise and a healthy diet. From preventing diabetes and weight-related stress on joints to meeting their mental needs, the impact of great canine fitness is crystal clear. It benefits a dog’s day just as it benefits it’s lifetime. A happy, healthy dog means a happy dog owner too!
If your dog has been living a mostly sedentary lifestyle, start slowly. Just like us, they need some time to build up their fitness. Keep an eye out for pain or exhaustion.
Start a walking routine. This is a good time to work on leash manners too. Not all dogs are in condition to run with their people, so if you’re a runner, don’t push your dog to be one too unless you are certain they are able to do so without pain. With that said, some dogs make great runners!
Fetch definitely counts! You don’t have to lace up your sneakers and clip on a leash to exercise your pup. Barefoot in the grass and a glass of tea in one hand will work just fine for tossing a ball around the yard for 20 minutes.
Don’t forget diet! Fitness starts with nourished bodies and appropriate, high-quality calorie intake. Check out our list of healthy, easy snacks straight from your kitchen!
Be careful on hot days. You’d be amazed at how easily heatstroke can happen, and the risk is higher in older pets. Keep them comfortable and hydrated, and be observant about any changes in recovery times or behavior on hot days.
Have fun! Dogs are amazing for all the wonderful qualities they have. They are the best cuddlers, and it’s a scientific fact that their puppy dog eyes give us an oxytocin bump. High on the list is that they are pure fun and goofiness, so keep your fitness routine enjoyable for both of you! This is good for your minds and good for your will-power to stick to the routine.
As always, and a pandemic is no exception, stay in touch with your veterinarian about any questions or concerns you may have about your dog’s health!