Pet Patter: Get fit with your furry friends

Pet Patter with Joilene

During the COVID-19 pandemic, people have either found themselves increasing their level of fitness whilst others have found it has decreased.

One amazing benefit of having a pet companion is the likelihood of not only achieving your daily recommended amount of physical activity but exceeding it with the help of your very own workout partner who is always ready to get fit and have fun doing it.

You can walk, engage in play or run with your dog. If you decide to run together, just make sure your dog is at least 12 months old and their bones are fully developed. Best to run in an off leash park as tugging on your dogs’ neck is not enjoyable for them (a hands free leash is another option). Also, they may need to have a break to sniff, mark or communicate which is near impossible in running mode. So take breaks often or try alternating walking and jogging.

Remember to work up to any fitness level over time and customize exercise routines if your dog has any medical or age related conditions. Signs that your dog may be tired are: slowing down, dragging on a leash, breathing with short, strained breaths, stopping altogether, or lying on the ground. If your dog does not recover in ten minutes, contact your veterinarian and ask if you should bring them in for a check-up.

If your dog has separation anxiety or hyperactivity issues or bad habits like chewing or barking sometimes due to excess nervous energy, you need to help them burn off some energy in order for them to have a calm and more subdued and contented state.

Dogs need mental, physical and emotional well being and getting enough exercise can help achieve some of those needs. But don’t assume that just because your dog gets outside in the backyard or has walked around the block that they are getting enough exercise, it’s also about their interactions with you and others that your dog craves.

So, instead of waiting for your dog to come up to you with their leash or ball, get up and get outside and get moving; you will strengthen and lengthen the bond between you and your best friend.

If you do not have a pet, there are many animal shelters that rely on volunteers to help walk and play with the animals there or you can become a foster parent to help take care of an animal while they wait for a permanent home.