Obesity is a problem for both humans and dogs. Being overweight or obese — whether it’s you or your pet — can lead to heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and even cancer. That’s the bad news. The good news is that you can work on improving your weight right alongside your canine companion. And one of the best ways to do that is to exercise with your dog!
Before you exercise with your dog, talk to your veterinarian. Certain exercises, such as running or even jogging, are not recommended for puppies whose bones haven’t finished growing and for some short-legged dog breeds. Short-legged dogs don’t need as much walking as larger dogs. And short-nosed breeds may have trouble catching their breath, so keep that in mind.
With those caveats in place, here are 10 ideas for how you and your dog can exercise together!
1. Take a hike
A hike is a great way to exercise with your dog. But if you are not used to strenuous exercise, start with a walk, and build from there. If you are pressed for time, try to get up just a bit early to take a 10-minute walk or hike with your dog. If your schedule allows it, try to get in three walks a day, and make one at least 20 minutes.
2. Cut back on the treats
Instead of rewarding your dog with treats, give them attention. Dogs love interacting. If you want to give your dog a treat, break it in half and put the other half away for another day. The same goes with treats for you — eat half today and the other half tomorrow. This way you won’t feel deprived.
3. Visit the dog park
If possible, walk to the dog park. When you get there, toss a tennis ball around with your dog. Both of you will get some exercise.
4. Go for a swim
Swimming is a low-impact exercise that you and your dog can do together.
5. Jog or run
Find a track that welcomes dogs and take your pup running. It’s one of the best cardio workouts. Bring a water bottle and foldable bowl so you and your dog can rehydrate.
Play a game of tug-of-war with your dog. It can help build your upper body strength and your dog will enjoy spending time playing with you.
7. Play catch
Whether it’s a ball, a Frisbee, or your pup’s favorite toy, go outside and play a game of fetch.
8. Make the best of rainy days
Don’t let a rainy day get in the way of your exercise goals. If you have stairs in your apartment building or in your home, go up and down a few flights (remember to start slow). If you have a treadmill in your home, you and your dog can use that, too.
9. Sign up for an exercise class
You and your dog can take agility classes or even “doga,” a form of yoga designed for both of you.
10. Resistance walk
A resistance walk is great in all kinds of weather. Walk your dog in the snow, on the sand, in shallow water on the beach, or on a leaf-filled trail.