Dr. Kwane Stewart shares: tips for exercising with your dog
Plus, physical activities you can do together if your pup doesn’t like exercising.
Does your dog stare longingly at you while you’re lacing up your running shoes? Maybe it’s time to include them in your exercise routine.
Bringing your dog along on your workout is a great way to bond with your best friend. So we turned to Dr. Kwane Stewart, a veterinarian and member of Fetch by The Dodo’s Veterinary Advisory Board, to learn his tips on exercising with your dog. He even shares how to tell when your pup needs a break.
Do you exercise with your dog? How does she feel about it?
Kora and I run together. I love taking her to open fields or in the canyon and running off leash. We frequent the beach; she loves the waves and sand. My favorite is running off-leash at the beach — nothing like it.
She loves it. I love it. It’s one thing for her to play on her own, but she’s a different dog when she gets to do it with dad. What’s funny is I’m not that motivated to run by myself, but when I can take her, it changes my attitude.
How does exercising with your dog benefit them?
Spending time with their person while exercising is the fountain of youth. It gives their body the best kind of natural medicine that alleviates stress, enhances their immune system and balances hormones.
Exercising with your pet is one of the single best things you can do for your emotional and physical health, and it works at both ends of the leash.
Do you have any tips for exercising with your dog?
Simple. Start easy and do something you enjoy. Keep in mind that if it’s new for your dog, they may be excited but also nervous. Be mindful of their state of mind and have fun.
How much exercise does a dog need?
This varies dramatically from dog to dog. Age, breed and fitness level can allow some dogs to walk no more than 5 minutes and others to go well over an hour. Know your dog and take advice from your vet. Use common sense about exercising in dangerous weather conditions — namely the heat.
Peek into your dog’s future health.
What would you consider to be too much exercise for a dog?
Classic signs of fatigue are similar to our own, like slowing down, excessive, rapid breathing and losing focus.
What types of physical activities are OK to do with dogs?
Walking and running are probably the most obvious and popular. But playing games or throwing the ball — whatever they love to do — is just as good.
Are there any physical activities pet parents should avoid doing with their dogs?
Every dog is built differently and, with training, can be capable of amazing physical feats. So while I could give a list of what not to do, this is a common sense judgment call for the pet parent. If it’s dangerous for you, then probably not ideal for your dog.
If my dog doesn’t like exercising, are there any alternative physical activities pet parents can do with them?
Hide toys or treats, use treat puzzles and tug-of-war are a few classic examples.
The Dig, Fetch by The Dodo’s expert-backed editorial, answers all of the questions you forget to ask your vet or are too embarrassed to ask at the dog park. We help make sure you and your best friend have more good days, but we’re there on bad days, too. Fetch provides the most comprehensive pet insurance and is the only provider recommended by the #1 animal brand in the world, The Dodo.
Image source: @drkwane Instagram