How to Workout With Your Dog Safely!
As most of you know, building a workout routine with your mutts can be extremely beneficial. A lot of people find it fun and motivating to workout with your dogs. However, there are certain cautionary steps pet owners should take when exercising with your mutts. Here are some tips:
BEFORE THE WORKOUT
- Evaluate your mutts’ physicality – Don’t just dive into an intense workout session with your dog; build up to it. Make sure you know what your dog is capable of and consider its breed and age for certain exercises. It would be good to consult your trusted vet before you start a workout regiment with your mutts.
- Environmental Considerations – Running, hiking, biking, or walking in cold or hot weather may not be the best times for you or your mutt. If you’re exercising outside during the summer, try to go early or late evening when the pavement is not hot on your mutt’s feet. During the cold winter, consider walking or running your dog on a treadmill.
- Prep Yourself with Food & Water – Make sure you bring some food and water for both you and your mutt, especially if you plan on doing a lengthy or intense workout. Dog treats and an energy bar may help boost you and your mutt’s energy and water will help prevent heat stroke.
DURING THE WORKOUT
- Train Your Dog – Properly train your mutts to walk or run the same side of you every time to avoid tripping each other. Teach them not to pull on the leash or not to run ahead of you unexpectedly to avoid throwing you off balance.
- Safety Comes First -Make sure you wear a helmet, knee pads, and other protection when appropriate. Don’t tie the leash to your wrist in case your dog pulls and jerks you off balance. Don’t push you or your mutt too hard. If either of you are starting to show signs of exhaustion, pain, or trouble breathing, then that’s a good indication to stop the workout and rest.
- Again Stay Hydrated – Allow you and your mutt to drink plenty of water throughout the exercise and a little bit of food here and there to boost your energy (but don’t exercise on a full stomach either).
AFTER THE WORKOUT
- Cool Down & Body Check – After your workout, make sure to cool your body down and stretch out your muscles. Also take some time to check your mutt’s leg and paws for any cuts, bruises, ticks, and other foreign objects. You may also reward your dog with a treat for working hard.
- Once Again, Hydrate You and Your Dog – Also be sure to allow the proper amount of rest for you and your mutt in between workouts for your bodies to recoup.
And remember – hot weather is here. In no specific order: Know your dog’s limitations, don’t push him or her if they don’t want to engage, always have water available, rest in the cool and in the shade, and be familiar with signs of heat exhaustion/heat stroke.