5 Fun Ways To Get Active With Your Dog

BY | April 13 | COMMENTS PUBLISHED BY
5 Fun Ways To Get Active With Your Dog

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Nutro Ultra Holistic Senior Dry Dog Food

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According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than one-third of American adults are obese. But humans arenโ€™t the only ones putting on the pounds; The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention indicates that more than 50% of cats and dogs in the U.S. are overweight, too. Obesity can lead to some serious health conditions in both humans and animals -- including heart disease and diabetes -- so thereโ€™s no time like the present to start eating right and exercising.

Many people avoid exercise because it feels like a chore, or simply because they arenโ€™t motivated. This is what makes exercising with your dog so great. Not only will be it more fun, youโ€™ll also stay on track knowing that your pal is depending on you to get them out and active.Just remember to consult your veterinarian before starting any new exercise routine with your pup; every dog is different, and not every dog is cut out for every activity.

1. Take A Hike

While walks around the neighborhood and games of fetch in the yard are great, repeating the same routine every day can get boring for both you and your dog. Hikes are an excellent alternative not only because they get you moving, but also because they offer an opportunity to explore new locations and terrains. Just be sure to find a trail that is dog-friendly, and prepare your dog by building up to longer walks, making sure that their vaccinations are current, and protecting them from fleas and ticks. You will also want to bring water and first-aid supplies, as well as food for your dog if youโ€™ll be on a longer trek.

2. Agility Training

Many people think that agility training is only for super athletic or naturally agile dogs, but the truth is that any breed can take part in the sport as long as the size of the obstacles are appropriate for your dogโ€™s size. So just what is agility training? Itโ€™s an active sport in which your dog follows your cues to move through an obstacle course of jumps, poles, tunnels, and other objects. Your dog will be running, and you will too! To get started in agility training, the AKC recommends joining a local agility training group. Eventually, you and your dog will be able to sign up for agility trials. To learn more, visit the AKCโ€™s Agility Homepage.

RELATED STORY: Try An Indoor Training Class With Your Dog

3. Swim nโ€™ Slim

Swimming works the heart, lungs, and entire muscular structure without putting stress on the hips or other joints, which makes it a great workout for dogs with arthritis or hip dysplasia. When summer rolls around, or if you live in a climate that stays warm all year (lucky you!), consider taking a dip with your four-legged friend.

Before letting your dog in the water, remember that not all dogs are natural swimmers, and some dogs (like bulldogs) may not be able to swim at all without a floatation device. Start your dog out in shallow water and use a leash or floatation device if you need to. Support your dogโ€™s belly and front section to encourage them to use all four paws. Go slow, be patient, and look for any signs of struggle. Donโ€™t force your dog to swim; some pups just arenโ€™t cut out for splish-splashing. However if your dog does take to the water, just remember never to leave them unattended, and donโ€™t let your dog drink from lakes, streams, or other open bodies of water as they can contain parasites and harmful bacteria.

RELATED STORYA Joint Health Exercise Routine For Dogs

4. Doga

Dog + yoga = doga. Thatโ€™s right, yoga for dogs. Doga is a lot like regular yoga but has slight modifications so that your dog can participate along with you. While doga does sometimes include physical exercises for your dog (like stretching or standing on hind legs), itโ€™s pretty low-impact, and has more to do with bonding. Dogs who are hyper, young, or weirded out by new situations might not be well-suited to doga, but if you have a well-socialized dog who enjoys trying new things, why not give it a shot?

5. Canine Freestyle Dancing

Itโ€™s an intriguing name, isnโ€™t it? Canine freestyle dancing combines music, dancing, obedience training, and tricks for one pup-tastic choreographed performance. The sport has gained such popularity that there are now competitions held in several countries around the world. Canine freestyle is not only an opportunity for your dog to learn commands and for the both of you to get some exercise, itโ€™s also a heck of a lot of fun. Visit the World Canine Freestyle Organization and or the Canine Freestyle Federation to find classes, and check out this video of a canine freestyle dancing competition.

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The Benefits of an Active Dog

Our dogs are natural athletes. Before they became our companions, they had to fill their own dinner bowl and slackers didnโ€™t survive a life on the wild side. Once they joined up with people, dogs used their talents to sniff out critters, point them out, herd or course them down or even catch them. Protection dogs targeted the bad guys while so-called lap dogs, often miniatures of other working breeds, kept our feet warm and entertained with their good humor.

Today, the doggy day job mostly focuses on being good companions. That means when the weather turns foul or owners are infirm, they transform from athletes into canine couch potatoes. An active dog also helps keep owners active so thatโ€™s for them both. Here are a few of the benefits of an active dog.

Keeps Dogs Slim

Active dogs burn more calories than when they sleep all the time. Without the right amount of exercise and activity, dogs pack on the pounds just like people do. Extra weight can predispose a dog to diabetes, skin problems, and arthritis, too. Besides impacting their health, the extra medical cost hits owners in the pocketbook while keeping dogs active only costs a bit of extra time.

Lubricates The Brain

Moving around more also gives dogs a reason to think. The old saying, โ€œuse it or lose itโ€ applies to canine brains, too. So regular activity helps keep your dog not just physically fit but also mentally sharp and can ward off dog Alzheimerโ€™s conditions that affect old pets.

Loosens Creaky Joints

Old dogs develop arthritis and sore joints reduce their inclination to move around. But if they just sit around, that creates a vicious circle where they gain more weight which puts more strain on painful joints, and so on. Moving, even a little bit, helps reduce this biological rust and even makes arthritic dogs feel better when they shed some poundage.

Reduces Dog Boredom

Bored dogs get into trouble. A Border Collie bred to herd sheep may instead turn to rounding up the cat or toddler or emptying your sock drawer. Dogs become a nuisance with lots of barking or even turn into demolition experts out of boredom. The healthy activity gives dogs something constructive to do and it also tires them out. A tired dog is often the best-behaved dog.

Prolongs Life

Studies have shown that keeping dogs on the thin side actually adds a year or two to their life. So providing healthy activities for your dogs can mean you get to enjoy each other that much longer. Thatโ€™s a win-win for you both.

More on Exercise for Dogs

Exercise for Dogs With Arthritis

Exercise for Dogs to Prevent and Treat Joint Health Issues

How to Help Your Dog Lose Weight

The Best Senior Dog Pet Supplies All the Best Products for Your Older Dog's Needs

Older dogs, like people, can't always do the same things they used to. For your aging pup, you should kit them out with age-appropriate gear. Here is a list of some of the best senior dog products on the market.

By the time your dog is a senior, you've probably grown into best pals. And if you adopted your dog as a senior, you know how quickly these loving dogs can take on a special place in your heart.

Senior dogs have different needs from when they were younger, both in terms of health care and the proper supplies.

Take a look at the top picks for senior dog supplies, and get everything you need to treat your pal in their golden years.

Dog Food for Senior Dogs

A new stage of life means a new set of nutritional needs. Make sure your senior dog's diet is giving them the best nutritional value. These foods are formulated with the needs of a senior pet in mind.

By the time your dog is a senior, you've probably grown into best pals. And if you adopted your dog as a senior, you know how quickly these loving dogs can take on a special place in your heart.

Senior dogs have different needs from when they were younger, both in terms of health care and the proper supplies.

Take a look at the top picks for senior dog supplies, and get everything you need to treat your pal in their golden years.

Dog Food for Senior Dogs

A new stage of life means a new set of nutritional needs. Make sure your senior dog's diet is giving them the best nutritional value. These foods are formulated with the needs of a senior pet in mind.

Nutro Ultra Holistic Senior Dry Dog Food

  • Rich in vitamins, minerals, and nutrients for senior dogs like glucosamine and Beta Carotene

  • Boost the health of your dog's skin and coat

  • Promotes a strong immune system

Purina One SmartBlend Vibrant Maturity 7+

  • Intended for dogs 7 years and older

  • Made with real chicken as the first ingredient

  • Enhanced with botanical oils to nourish your dog's mind

Wellness Super5Mix Just for Seniors

  • Made with a patented combination of fruit and vegetable antioxidants

  • The recipe was chosen to improve the overall fitness and longevity of senior dogs

  • Supports hip and joint health

Eukanuba Senior Maintenance Dry Dog Food

  • Uses premium choice meats

  • Made with Beta-Carotene, L-carnitine, and Omega-3 fatty acids for the health of your senior dog

  • Great source of vitamins and minerals

Dog sure Liquid Meal Replacements

  • Highly palatable for senior dogs who need some encouragement to eat enough

  • Supports fluid intake, to keep your dog hydrated

  • Made with high-quality proteins

Dental Treats for Your Senior Dog

Dental health is always important, but as your dog ages, it becomes essential to fight plaque and keep your dog's teeth and gums healthy. A dog with healthy teeth will eat, play, and live more comfortably, and avoid some serious dental issues down the line.

Halo Spot's Chew Mint Dental Treat

  • Helps clean your dog's teeth and they chew

  • Freshens breathe with minty flavor

  • Easy to digest

C.E.T. Enzymatic Oral Hygiene Chews

  • Geared toward larger dogs

  • Contains a plaque-preventing enzyme that works like your dog chews

  • Keeps dog breath smelling fresh

Greenies for Senior Dogs

  • Perfect for home dental care

  • Made with added vitamins and minerals for improved oral care

  • The chewy texture that's easier on senior dogs' teeth

Toys!

Playing with your dog may well be the best part of being a pet parent. That shouldn't go away just because your dog is getting older. Playtime will help keep your dog's body active and healthy and their mind engaged. Play on!

Senior Kong Toy

  • Encourages play and exercise for less active dogs

  • The gentle yet durable rubber compound is easier on older teeth

  • Can be filled with treats for even more fun

Multipet Nostalgic Toys

  • Remember the good old days with your dog with these toys shaped like Gumby and Pokey!

  • Made from durable rubber

  • Perfect for the nostalgic dog (and dog parent)!

Zap Ball Flash 'n Sound Dog Toy

  • Keeps your dog's attention with noises and lights

  • Easier to spot than a normal ball

  • Perfect for playing fetch with your senior dog

Figure Eight Rope Tug Dog Toy

  • Easy to use for a rousing session of tug-of-war

  • The woven rope even cleans your dog's teeth as you play

Accessories for Easy-Livin'

Senior dogs are ready for some simpler solutions in life. You really can't beat a softer bed or a more comfortable dining experience. Treat your senior to the accessories that will make each day a bit comfier. 

Posture Pro Stainless Steel Double Diner

  • Adjustable heigh diner to help your senior dog get to their food more easily

  • Attractive wooden tones

  • Comes with two stainless steel bowls to hold food and water

Dog Gone Smart Bed

  • Soft and plush for older dogs

  • Stays clean naturally with patented NanoSphere finish

  • Prevents the spread of bacteria

Smart Elizabethan Collar

  • Prevents dogs from licking or biting at a wound or stitches

  • Padded edges for comfort

  • Easy to see through

Vitamins and Supplements

Sometimes our dogs can use a little extra help in staying healthy and fit. These vitamins are perfect for senior dogs and formulated to help with their needs.

Excel Senior Multi-Vitamin for Dogs

  • Provides the balance of vitamins and minerals essential for senior dogs

  • It will help maintain a healthy coat

  • It's easy to feed your dog this tasty, chewable tablet

Glyco-Flex III

  • Alleviates joint inflammation and stiffness

  • Contains vitamins C and E, glucosamine, and grape seed extract

  • Made with human-grade ingredients

Kala Health Geriatrix for Dogs and Cats

  • A daily multi-vitamin for older pets

  • Contains 19 vitamins and minerals and 18 amino acids

  • Made with all USA ingredients

Pet-Tabs Plus

  • Supports health and reduces stress in dogs

  • Especially helps dogs who've lost their appetite get all their essential vitamins

  • Can be given daily

With the right supplies, you and your dog and play and nap together all through their senior years!

Amy Shojai is a certified animal behavior consultant, consultant to the pet care industry, and award-winning author of 23 pet care books.

Exercise helps to promote good overall health in your dog by keeping them limber, agile, and at an appropriate weight. Another way to care for your pet's health? Sign up for PetPlus and save up to 75% on your pet's medications plus discounts on boarding, supplies, and more. 

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