Advice for Dog Owners: How to Keep Your Pups Fit and Healthy
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If you’re a dog owner, your pets are an important part of your life. Dogs become our best friends, our loyal companions, our fur babies — like four-legged members of the family. It’s only natural that we would want to help our dogs live the longest, happiest, and healthiest lives possible. One way to do that is through helping your pups get fit and healthy — and stay that way for life. Here are some expert words of wisdom on how to help your dog stay healthy:
Get Fido Plenty of Exercise
Dogs are surprisingly diverse. Each breed has its own distinct look and unique needs. While it is safe to say that all dogs need exercise, it’s also important to determine what specific kind(s) of exercise your dog needs based upon his or her breed. For instance, some breeds are prone to joint pain and hip dysplasia. Take care when playing Frisbee or engaging in strenuous activities with these breeds. Other breeds are bundles of energy that will require more exercise and longer walks, especially if they are cooped up indoors while you are at work. It’s important to research your dog’s breed to determine the types and amounts of exercise that are appropriate.
Sometimes, when it comes to getting healthy, you have to get creative. This is as true for dogs as it is for humans. If your dog hates going for walks, perhaps you could encourage him or her to get more activity through a game of fetch. If your dog loves being outdoors but your schedule doesn’t allow you to currently commit to daily walks, consider hiring a professional dog walker to assist you. For a small fee, these trained professionals can ensure your four-legged friend gets the exercise he or she needs while freeing up your time to focus on other responsibilities.
Dogs love being outside. There are also some ways you can enhance your outside time with your dog. For instance, if you and your dog are both healthy enough, you might consider running or jogging instead of walking. A word of advice: It’s important to check with both your doctor and your dog’s veterinarian before attempting this. Some breeds, including pugs and other short-nosed breeds, are not well suited for running. These dogs can easily over-exert themselves and may have difficulty breathing and/or become more prone to heatstroke.
Even if running isn’t an option, you can still feel the burn by increasing the length of your walk together. This doesn’t mean you go from a simple stroll around the block to walking a 5k around your neighborhood. Just like humans, dogs need to gradually build their stamina and endurance. Start small and allow your dog to slowly work up to longer walks each day.
Hit the Dog Park
Dog parks aren’t just a great way to help Fido get his exercise — they offer a lot of other benefits, too. Dog parks allow your pooch (and you) to socialize, and you get the opportunity to see his behavior in a more uninhibited way than when he’s at home, which can be especially helpful if he’s a new member of your family and you’re just getting to know each other. Just be sure you’re taking all necessary dog park precautions. He should be up to date on all of his vaccinations, wear a collar or harness with tags, and be supervised at all times, even in off-leash areas.
Get the Right Leash
One important aspect of dog ownership that many people overlook is finding the most appropriate leashes and dog supplies. When shopping for pet supplies, be sure to choose a leash that is both comfortable for him and easy for you to use. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with all the options available, this list offers some great recommendations.
As you can see, there are many ways you can contribute to your dog’s health and longevity. Even if your dog doesn’t have much stamina or your work schedule doesn’t allow you much time for daily walks, there are still many options available. With some creative thinking and a willingness to try new things, you can find a daily exercise schedule that suits your dog’s unique needs. And who knows? It might even inspire you to make strides in your own health while also helping your dog get fit and stay healthy. This can make exercise a great bonding activity that you both will look forward to each and every day.
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