What are the best ways to keep your pup — and you — active and moving? Here's five expert tips to get your dog fitter and healthier!
(BPT) - Face it, getting enough exercise is tough for everyone, and it's certainly true when it comes to our pets. The amount of exercise your dog may need varies, depending on the age, size and breed, but most dogs need more exercise than they're getting, especially during the colder months when we all prefer to stay indoors. Consult your veterinarian for guidelines about how much exercise your dog should be getting to stay in top condition, then make a plan to add more pep to your dog's step.
Dr. Jeff Weber, Emmy award-winning celebrity veterinarian, says that play and exercise are key to keeping our four-legged friends healthy: "Just like humans, there is a strong correlation to obesity in pets when they eat more and exercise less. In fact, it has been estimated that up to 50 percent of dogs and cats in this country are overweight or, worse yet, obese. It's important to get your pet up and moving."
What are the best ways to keep your pup — and you — active and moving?
1. Vary your walking route
When you're walking your dog, switch up the route now and then to keep it more interesting for both of you. Work on adding a few minutes or a couple of extra blocks to your walk any chance you get, and you’ll both benefit from the extra steps.
2. Pick up the pace
Rather than just taking a leisurely stroll, walk with purpose, like you’re trying to get somewhere. This will make it a more heart-healthy workout for the both of you. Ease into it slowly, trying 5 minutes quicker, followed by 5 minutes slower, until you both get used to the faster pace. Enlist different family members to join you or take turns at the walks to vary the walking pace your dog experiences.
3. Bring friends along
You’re more likely to enjoy and stick with regular walking dates if you can make some of your walks into a social occasion, whether your friends also have dogs or not. Instead of meeting someone for coffee or drinks, meet up with them for a walk-and-talk with your dogs.
4. Make time for active play
In addition to walking every day, mix it up! Spend a little extra time encouraging active play like a good game of fetch with your dog. You can play fetch at a nearby park or right in your yard, if you have enough space for your dog to run around. Not good at throwing? No worries — a toy like Chuckit! launcher from Petmate can keep your dog engaged and excited to run and fetch for a lively, active play session that will be fun for both of you.
"Fetch play is a terrific way to increase stamina and keep your pup in shape,” says Weber.
The interactive game of fetch encourages healthy movement and cardiovascular endurance for pets and pet owners, especially as active play and movement declines when the weather gets colder. Fetch is also an effective way to help train and develop positive behavior in puppies or newly adopted four-legged family members.
5. Exercise their brains
Create an obstacle course in your yard or use puzzle games to help keep your dogs mentally active — which can relieve boredom for dogs who spend time alone.
Research your dog's breed to discover what stimulus they are most likely to respond to, so you can find new toys and activities your dog will love. Examples might be hide-and-seek games, having them use their sense of smell to find treats or chasing (non-toxic) bubbles.
Spending time playing with your dog is not only fun and a terrific stress-reliever for both of you, but it also strengthens the human-pet bond. Give your pet healthy exercise that every dog needs and your furry friend will be happier, too.
There are many approaches to dog training, and you'll usually find that the right approach varies from dog to dog. You should always strive to establish dominance, making yourself the alpha to your dog's beta or omega. All canines are pack animals, and they thrive having a distinctive structure in the home. These tips will help you connect with your puppy or dog through training, and reach your goals without too much frustration.
Dogs are more likely to listen to someone who they respect, which means you need to be respectful to them, too. Be assertive, but don't challenge them or match their aggression. According to Handicapped Pets, the best thing you can do is bond with your dog in ways that are meaningful to them, such as playing and going for walks. You may also want to explore training techniques such as clicker training, which uses a small device to condition your dog to respond to a sound frequency or series of clicks. Different training objectives work best with their own approach; for example, clicker training may be better teaching standard obedience while mirror training or modeling can be useful when attempting to teach more complex tricks.
Always strive for positive reinforcement when training your dog. Punishment rarely works, and the best thing you can do with non-harmful misbehavior is to ignore it. Rather than focusing attention on what your dog is doing wrong, guide them to perform the desired actions instead, and reward them heavily for it. Remember that they may not perform a trick or do something perfectly the first time. Celebrate their effort, and over time, you'll begin to notice an improvement. Treats are great for rewarding good behavior. However, according to VitaLife, it’s important to mind the ingredients, look for additional benefits the treats may provide, and consider the size and calorie count in order to have a happy and healthy dog.
Set Realistic Standards
Some people expect their dog to become robotic, effortlessly responding to every command. While dogs can certainly be well-trained, they are still living creatures, each with their own unique temperament, personality, and motivations. Sometimes, your dog may be tired or not in the mood to train. Accept this, and don't force them to practice or punish them for not listening to everything. Be flexible and patient with your dog as you would strive to be with another person. As you get closer through training, it will become easier to strike a balance and develop a good rhythm.
Dog training can be a wonderful way to bond with your pup. Sign up for obedience and agility classes, ask your vet for tips, and don't be afraid to reach out to a professional trainer and learn from an expert.
From reducing loneliness to keeping people more active, the perks of pet ownership can be felt both physically and emotionally, and are nearly impossible to quantify. Plus, adopting a pet can be a feel-good experience, because you’re not only getting a new best friend, you’re helping an animal in need find a loving forever home. Consider some of these ways adopting a pet can improve overall well-being.
4 Ways Pets Improve Overall Well-Being
(Family Features) Self-care is an important piece of maintaining a happy and healthy life, and adopting a pet can be a beneficial way to improve overall well-being in a number of ways.
From reducing loneliness to keeping people more active, the perks of pet ownership can be felt both physically and emotionally, and are nearly impossible to quantify. Plus, adopting a pet can be a feel-good experience, because you’re not only getting a new best friend, you’re helping an animal in need find a loving forever home.
Consider some of these ways adopting a pet can improve overall well-being. For more information on the benefits of pet adoption, visit Pedigree.com.
Pets Increase Physical Activity
Pets Reduce Feelings of Isolation
Pets Encourage Relationship Building
Pets Help with Stress Reduction
As temperatures rise and days get longer, pets, just like humans, get excited about spring. It’s time to get into new routines, and warmer weather provides the perfect opportunity to spend more time with your pet, creating memories both indoors and out. Here are a few ideas for enjoying springtime with your pet.
5 Springtime Adventure Ideas for You and Your Pet
(Family Features) As temperatures rise and days get longer, pets, just like humans, get excited about spring. It’s time to get into new routines, and warmer weather provides the perfect opportunity to spend more time with your pet, creating memories both indoors and out.
Here are a few ideas for enjoying springtime with your pet from the experts at the NUTRO™ and GREENIES™ brands.
1. Get Active Outside – With the return of sunshine, spring is a prime opportunity for you and your four-legged friend to get active in the great outdoors. Take out your tennis shoes, grab a leash and hit the road. Whether you’re taking a walk, visiting a dog park or going on a hike, regular physical activity outdoors can help keep you and your pet healthy and active.
2. Spring Cleaning – This isn’t just about dusting off bookshelves or decluttering closets. It’s also an opportunity to reassess other aspects of your life that could use a cleaning, such as yours and your pet’s diets. As part of the NUTRO. FEED CLEAN™ philosophy, dog and cat food recipes are made with real, recognizable ingredients, such as chicken, salmon and sweet potatoes, allowing you to share your healthy eating lifestyle with your pet.
3. Yappy Hour on the Patio – It’s that time of year when sidewalks are buzzing with the weekend brunch crowd. As you enjoy fresh, seasonal foods, your fur baby can have quality time on patios with you, too. To help make pets welcome in more places, Mars Petcare established the BETTER CITIES FOR PETS™ program, which works with local businesses and governments to encourage pet-friendliness.
5. Go on a Mini Road Trip – Whether you’re heading out on a weekend camping trip or an adventure in a field of flowers, don’t forget to include your pet in your plans. It’s important to consider how your furry friend will ride along with you on your road trip. Try bringing a blanket or toy from your house, so your dog can be comforted by the smells of home. Also, when the family is in the close quarters of a car for an extended amount of time, make sure you pack an option like GREENIES™ Dental Treats to help freshen your dog’s breath.
Photos courtesy of FotoliaSOURCE:
In many of homes, pets are a big part of the family. However, there are several barriers that can prevent people from spending time with their furry friends, including outdated housing rules and limited green space in communities. In celebration of cities that have become more pet-friendly, consider these ways pets can make people and communities happier and healthier.
5 Ways Pets Make Life Happier and Healthier
(Family Features) More than 84 million U.S. homes have a pet, according to the National Pet Owners Survey, and in many of those homes, pets are a big part of the family. However, there are several barriers that can prevent people from spending time with their furry friends, including outdated housing rules and limited green space in communities.
To help create a more pet-friendly world, Mars Petcare introduced the “BETTER CITY FOR PETS” certification, as an extension of its BETTER CITIES FOR PETS program. The certification celebrates cities that have made progress toward becoming more pet-friendly by evaluating them across four categories: shelters, homes, parks and businesses.
“The presence of pets can help make people healthier – both physically and mentally,” said Mark Johnson, president of Mars Petcare North America. “We hope to inspire more cities to take real action that leads to a better quality of life for people and pets in their communities.”
Consider these benefits of pets, along with research from the Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition that shows a number of ways pets make people and communities happier and healthier, and visit BetterCitiesForPets.com to learn more and to find out how to help make your city more pet-friendly.
Photos courtesy of FotoliaSOURCE:
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