Dog Exercise and Play Tips & Ideas

A young dog like Reggie has a lot to learn. See how professional trainer, Joanne Barrett helps this family grow stronger.

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Spending time each day to exercise and play with your dog as a family can lead to a happy, healthy life together. Whether your dog is a giant Great Dane or a teeny tiny Yorkshire Terrier, he needs exercise everyday. So, get the family together and go for a walk, toss a ball around or get creative and come up with a new game!

Remember to always check in with your veterinarian before starting any physically demanding activity with your dog. Once you get the go ahead- have fun!

Here are some tips that may help make exercise and play a part of your family’s life:

• Sign up for an agility or obedience class together. Besides learning something new, your dog will enjoy playing with other dogs.

• Go for a family walk! It’s something you can do all year round, and it’s a great way to spend quality time together.

• Play a game! Games like fetch, flying disc and ball are not only fun, but they provide your dog with mental stimulation, too!

• Have a treadmill? Use it! Treadmills are great for exercising your dog when you can’t get him outside. Make sure to start slow and train him to walk calmly on the treadmill in a fun, positive manner. Dogs on treadmills should be monitored at all times.

Keep In Mind:
• Consider your dog's needs and present physical condition. A leisurely walk may be best for an older dog while a young adult dog may have plenty of energy for more vigorous exercise. And remember, puppies should not be stressing their growing bones, joints and muscles through excessive jumping or strenuous exercise.

• Go slow! If you have not exercised your dog regularly don't jump into a rigorous exercise program. Begin with short periods of activity and gradually increase the time, speed and distance.

• Begin walking or running with your dog on soft surfaces such as dirt, sand or grass until his pads toughen. Keep your dog's nails trimmed so they won't tear as he runs.

• If you plan to exercise at night, place a reflective collar on your dog, use a bright leash and wear white or light-colored clothing so the two of you can be seen.

• Check your dog's feet for burrs, grass, thorns, rocks or ice and snow. All of which should be removed immediately.

Check carefully for ticks after exercising outdoors.
• Obey local laws about using a leash and always promptly clean up after your dog. Your local police department or animal control department can tell you more about laws in your area.

• Do not exercise your dog immediately before or after he has eaten; a full stomach may cause digestive upsets. However, be sure to provide small amounts of water before and directly after exercise.

• Avoid going out in the noonday sun. Running in the heat is dangerous for dogs. Just because your dog may be willing to jog with you in 90-degree heat, doesn't mean it is safe for him to do so.

Follow these tips, and you’ll see that a little exercise and play go a long way for your whole family!

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