Not all pups are couch potatoes! Some never grow out of their puppy energy, and some dogs were just born with the athleticism of a Pawlympian! Exercise is a key component in keeping our dogs healthy, so canine athletes (cani-thletes?) will naturally have that health guideline on lock, but while active dogs are healthy dogs, there are some things to keep in mind and look out for when it comes to taking good care of your jock dog.
Here are some valuable tips to keep in mind:
1. Watch their weight
Keep your dog slim n’ trim. The more extra weight on your pup, the more stress is going to be put on his/her joints, ligaments, and hips.
2. Variety is the spice of life
Do some cross training. Switch up the routine so your dog can work a variety of muscles and build up strength in his whole body. Between agility courses, hiking, swimming, dog yoga, and even belly-dancing – there’s a lot of different doggy exercise options.
3. Warm it up
Warm ups are important for dogs too! To avoid any injury or muscle strain, before embarking on a physically demanding or strenuous activity, it’s important to first warm up your dog’s body with light exercise or a simple jog.
Thankfully, dog owner’s now have a huge variety of healthy and responsible dog food brands options to feed our pets. The nutritious diets may be more expensive, but it is so important for our dog’s health. Cheap alternatives may fill your dog up, but that diet is comparable to a human eating only candy and junk food. Your dog’s health is definitely worth it.
5. Be aware
Most dogs do NOT like to let on if they are feeling hurt, sick, or injured. This tendency goes back to their wild dog and wolf ancestors, when impairment was a sign of weakness and vulnerability, and weakness and vulnerability could be dangerous.
Keep a very close eye on your dogs. Be observant, notice changes, and take interest in any and every sign of discomfort coming from your pup. Also, consider recording behavioral changes.
7. Watch those hips
Watch your dog before he/she stand ups or lies down. A weak spot in many dog is their hips, and this movement can be very telling and alert you if your dog is stiff or may be feeling injured.
8. Look for “favoring”
Notice how your dog stands. Dogs like to have equal weight on their legs, so look for signs of weight shifting or leg favoring.
9. Try massage
You can be just as discerning with your hands as with your eyes. Feel along your dog’s whole body checking for swelling, difference on one side from the other, any tenderness, and whether your dog’s joint move comfortably.
10. Trust your (and your dog’s) intuition
Listen to your dog, trust them if they want to rest. If they seem “lazier” than usual it may be because something is not right.
Be scrupulous and diligent with your cani-thlete so you can keep them running, jumping, leaping (and belly dancing) for many, long, healthy years to come! 🙂
Featured image via @frecklepatchdesign