Dog Exercise, or How To Spend Less Money on that Dog
How can you spend less money on your dog? Just keep him or her fit with physical activity. When you give your dog exercise on a regular basis, not only do you have a happy pup, but caring for your dog is much cheaper and easier. Consider:
- a dog with a chronic illness needs to see the vet more often...and more vet bills
- a dog with a chronic condition needs regular medication
- sometimes you can't schedule the vet after work or on the weekend and you have to take time off work for appointments or just to be at home
- you don't have to replace shoes or furniture or fences (or what-not) because your dog has decided to get busy out of boredom or nervous energy
- you can spend less money on training since training happens during exercise time
And with that extra money (and time) you've freed up, you can spend it on an chunky, knotted rawhide chew or an ergonomic foam memory dog bed (way cool) or some other treat for your deserving pooch.
Sometimes dogs do get sick and there is just nothing you can do. A dog may be born with a condition or catch some debilitating disease. However, there are many canine conditions that can be avoided (like many heart diseases)--or at least less serious (such as arthritis)--with good health and fitness.
Just Because I Didn't Walk Him Today Doesn't Mean I Don't Love Him
I know, I know. So then, why don't some of us loving dog owners get our dogs out of the house?
We're too busy -Yes, you are busy, but you still have got to make health a priority, yours and your dog's. Because feeling out of shape sucks. Start by picking one small thing you can give up (20 minutes sleep? Law & Order?) in exchange for a little play time or a walk. See more on Making Yourself Walk The Dog.
Exercise is boring - OK so don't exercise--play! It's all play to your dog anyway. Walking, running, fetch, Frisbee, agility training, any of it--it's all a game to Fido. So since he's having fun, do something that is fun for you too. Some suggestions:
- Bring your girlfriend, boyfriend, mate, kids, mom, dad (or whomever) on the walk with you the dog.
- If you can, incorporate your dog in your workouts like running, biking (with a special bike guide for dogs), skate, swim or hike.
- Some other things you can do with your dog for exercise
- Hide and Seek - Dogs just love to find things, especially you. Tell your dog to sit-stay, find a great hiding place, call out her. Reward with treat.
- Fetch - A great game to get the dog moving even if you can't do a lot of running. You do have to first spend a minute training your pup on the "drop it" command.
- Frisbee/Disk Throwing - Many dogs find this fun. Start by rolling the disk on the ground like a wheel and when he is used to chasing and bring back the disk. you can start tossing the disk to the left or right of the dog.It takes time for both of you to get it, so you might want to check out a site and book for more instruction.
It's cold - Your dog still needs to get out. You will probably be doing less of it, especially when the weather is extreme. But give it a go on days that are not so bad. It's likely your dog won't mind the snow as much as you. So bundle up, bundle up Rover if he is sensitive to the cold. Just tell yourself you are only going out for 10 minutes and get out there.
If your dog has been outside in the snow or ice, wipe off her paws, legs and stomach each time she comes in. This will help protect the sensitive pads from becoming irritated by the chemicals used to melt ice and remove small snow or ice balls that might be caught in the fur and in between the pads of the feet.
Starting Your Exercise Plan
How much exercise should your dog get? A couple of 10-minute walks? Half hour games of fetch? A good long run every day? This can depend on several things: your dog likes, what you like to do, your pup's physical condition, and his natural inclinations (for instance, some breed types are more inclined to long walks and others for games).
If you have a healthy dog, 30-minute workouts at least four days a week are needed for good health. Two 15-minute romps are as good as one 30-minute session. Highly active dogs should get more sessions during the week to work off the energy.
Dogs who are overweight also need more activity in order to shape up. However, you have to start small and add activity gradually. For instance, if your pudgy pooch has had no regular activity for quite some time, start with 10- to 15-minute leisurely walks on at least 5 days.
And don't think, taking an hour long walk on Sunday will make up for a week of inactivity. This could actually harm your dog if he is not in shape or suffers from certain conditions like arthritis.
Exercise is crucial to your dog's good health, her physical health as well as her mental well-being. Make it a priority and work it in your schedule, and your efforts will pay off more than you know.
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