Fit Furry Friends

by DFS-Pet-Blog on March 11, 2011

dog running**Guest post from Janet S.**

Recently, I started the Couch to 5K program with my 9- year- old daughter. She is working at her own pace and I’m sticking with the complete program. My goal is to finish and actually run a 5K, which would be pretty good for this non-runner.

As I started my training, I started to think how I could incorporate my pets. In the past, we’ve used bicycle joggers to take our Samoyed/Border Collie mix dogs on bike rides with us. However, as they get older and deal with medical issues like lupus, we have to be very cautious with how we exercise with them. 

The beginning of the program looks very good to take my older dogs on. It is a combination of a warm-up five minute brisk walk, followed by sixty second alternates of jogging and walking, then a five minute cool-down walk. That is just wonderful for the dogs I have. However, as it goes further, I do not think my dogs can handle 30 minutes of running so I am thinking about how to keep them healthy and active.

Every good training program needs a variety of elements. Here are some things I am considering for my pets. Please feel free to comment on what you do with your animals and give some ideas.

dog agility

Cross-Training: Every good athlete works on cross-training.

• Alternate walking and jogging.
• Have a fun game day.  Play with balls.
• Mix in some agility exercises.
• Take a swim and let your pet splash in the water (when warm).  Be sure to protect your pet from danger and yourself with the proper water safety equipment.

Cheyenne Shearling Dog Coat

Proper Clothing/Proper Conditions: Each athlete tries to wear the proper gear for the climate and activity. Humans and pets can get injured in any weather condition.

• Cold weather/ice. Consider shorter times out and watch for ice. Does your dog need a coat?
• Muddy or rugged. Consider boots to protect your pet’s feet.
• Hot weather. Stay hydrated; if you are thirsty, your pet probably is too. Bring a water bottle for them too.

Diet/Rest: We all need time to rest and recover from activities. Remember to take time to rest.

Joint Care 3

• Take a day to pamper your pet, brush off that loose hair. Massage your own feet, take a nice warm bath.
• Eat healthy meals, well proportioned. Feed your pet a healthy diet and do not overfeed. Consider a food with good ingredients such as Drs. Foster and Smith Adult Lite Dog Food.
• Consider a supplement to keep bones and joints strong such as Joint Care. Consult your local veterinarian for the right supplement for your pet’s health needs.

First Aid: Injuries can happen, be prepared and remember to never push yourself or your pet too far.

• Have some Vetrap™ in your first aid kit. It is great for humans and dogs!
• Keep your pets nails trimmed and have some styptic pads or pens on hand for any broken nail emergencies.
• Watch your dogs pads carefully on varying terrain. Consider a cream to help restore the pads and elbows. It is safe on puppies too.
• Always consult your local veterinarian if you see anything different or unusual.

exercise pen

Dogs are great to exercise with, but other pets may not fit in. If they still like the attention and to come with, there are some great options like a stroller that can be used for cats, ferrets, rabbits, and other small animals. You can also consider an outdoor playpen for your pets to play in while you garden or do other activities nearby.

So, as the weather starts to warm up and the ice melts, what are your goals for personal and pet fitness? What new thing would you like to try this year? I wish you some wonderful and safe bonding times with your pet!

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Rosemary March 11, 2011 at 3:10 pm

I’ve had to quit walking Lucky for a while. He isn’t really lame, but not exactly sound after about an hour. I’ve bought a bike and a Walky Dog leash, so I can run Ilka, without running me also. Between the ashma and the bad knees, I don’t run. Ilka can do 2 miles at a fast trot (5 to 7mph), and not even be panting hard. I think it is a vicious cycle, though. The more I try to tire her out, the more fit she becomes!

Jeanne April 12, 2011 at 9:42 am

My husband jogs with relative frequency and usually take our 2 year old dog, Cooper. Cooper just loves it, but I do get concerned about how much is too much. They’re usually only gone for about 20 minutes and do about 2 miles. So far the only noticable affect on the dog is that he get a really good night’s sleep.
As for me, I like to take Cooper on hikes at our beautiful county park walking trails. He and I do that once or twice each week during the Spring and Summer and I’l looking forward to starting again soon.

Janet S. April 12, 2011 at 11:09 am

Rosemary – I kind of chuckled at your vicious cycle comment. I think that is very true! Most of our pets always seem to be able to outlast us!

Jeanne – I don’t know what size dog you have but at age 2, I’m sure Cooper is loving the pace. A ten-minute mile at that age should be fine. Our dogs used to do 3 miles at that age helping pull the kids in a bike trailer and always seemed to fair very well! Your walking trail hikes sound like a ton of fun! We too are looking forward to more walks here in the northwoods! It is just warm enough for us to start to get out on our lunch break to walk and you will often see DFS employees walking the 1-mile loop on the road around the soccer field that is adjacent to the DFS property. If you are on Facebook with us, please share a photo of a spring walk sometime with us! It would be great to see the signs of spring elsewhere and encourage us that it is really coming soon!

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