By: Erin Ford
“Canine Fitness Month encourages us to take a step toward a healthier lifestyle for our four-legged family members.”
April is Canine Fitness Month, a chance for all dog owners to take a closer look at how they’re keeping their canines in shape. As many know, dogs can suffer from obesity just as humans do. This affliction brings a host of other issues, such as:
- damage to joints, bones, and ligaments
- heart disease and increased blood pressure
- decreased stamina and mobility
- decreased liver function
- decreased quality and length of life.
None of us want our four-legged friends to suffer, which is why it’s important to make canine health and fitness a priority. Below are some ideas on how you can make sure your pooch is in tip-top shape.
This may seem like a no-brainer, but this month make an extra effort to walk your dog longer and more often than usual. The proper length and frequency of walks depends on a lot of factors, such as the dog’s breed, size, health, capability, etc. A rule of thumb is to walk your dog at least twice a day, for approximately 15 minutes each time. (Source: DogingtonPost.com)
If you’re unable to fulfill this requirement, strongly consider hiring a dog walker. Getting active outside is absolutely crucial for a dog’s physical and mental well-being.
Another activity beneficial for a dog’s physical and mental health is active play. This month, treat your dog to a new toy. You can play fetch, frisbee, tug of war, or even blow bubbles. If you live near a body of water, swimming is another great fitness activity for your dog.
Signing your dog up for a fitness or training course at a local pet store is a fun way to get them active and engaged this month. A more potentially cost-effective and interactive option would be to create an obstacle course in your yard. Using various outdoor objects found in your shed or garage, you (or your kids!) can easily put together a fun, challenging series of obstacles to lead your dog through.
If you’re not a dog owner, or your dog is already active and fit as can be, consider visiting your local shelter and see if you can volunteer as a dog walker. It will most likely require a bit of training, but it can be your mission to help shelter dogs get in shape as well.
At the end of the day, canine fitness influences owner fitness. It benefits the both of you to get out there and get active!