Saturday, September 27, 2008

From spark people

Your Four-Legged Workout Buddy

Just as it would be hard for you to go out and jog for 45 minutes if you haven't worked out in 6 months, it's also hard for your pet. Be sure to get your veterinarian's okay before beginning your pet's exercise routine. After you get the go-ahead, here are some tips to help you get started:
Start slowly, gradually increasing the time and intensity of the activity. This will safely strengthen your pet's muscles, aerobic capacity, and footpads.

Pay attention to how your pet is feeling. Signs that your pet needs to slow down or stop include drooling, stumbling, trouble breathing, and a long, droopy tongue. Take a break and consider making tomorrow's workout shorter. Also remember that in hot weather your pet can't sweat like you do to keep cool.

Concrete and asphalt are tough on your friends' paws--especially on hot days. Try to walk or run on dirt paths (or grass) as much as possible.

The longer you work out, the more water Fido needs. Bring along a collapsible water dish to help your pet stay hydrated.

Be realistic about your pet's limitations. Many smaller breeds love going for a brisk walk, but you'll probably have to carry them on a strenuous hike. Animals with a thin coat will not tolerate cold weather very well, whereas dogs with thick coats don't do well in the summer heat.

You should avoid strenuous exercise with your pet until they are finished growing (after 9-12 months for most dogs).
Time Involved: At least 10 minutes every day

Body Benefit: Healthy heart and lungs for both of you

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