Dogs love sports as much as we do. They don’t mind snuggling up to watch a football or soccer game on TV—however, they would much rather get outside and make a few tackles of their own in the backyard!
Outlets for your dog’s energy are everywhere and pumping blood through those little and big hearts is incredibly important, especially as they age. Think of playtime as a necessary activity, just like feeding, bathing, or visits to the vet.
Becoming a couch potato is not an option if you want your dog to live a long, healthy life. We humans feel better when we exercise too and spending time playing with our pups is a great way to get moving!
Walking: Dogs love to walk! Mine literally jump for joy when they see me reach for their leashes every morning! Walking is a great way to reduce heart disease risk and improve mental and emotional health. Environmental stimulation improves clarity and gives you a chance to train your pup on how to interact with outside stimuli—like people, other dogs and traffic stops. Exploring a new path is fun for us too! So set goals for yourself and your buddy. Grab a coffee and newspaper from a spot you haven’t tried before or walk down a new street at a brisk pace. Take a mystery walk with your furry friend and you’ll be amazed at the fun you can find!
Dock diving and swimming: If you live near a body of water, go for it! Dogs love diving off docks and frolicking in the waves. Grab a ball thrower or Frisbee and see how far you can send it flying for them to fetch. Water exercise has huge benefits, even for older dogs with joint and muscle pain. Try letting them float and splash around with you if they are nervous and if your dog isn’t used to water,try gradually introducing them and be patient, offering praise and treats as bait. It may take several tries, especially if they were scared by water in the past, but keep trying and eventually you will have a little swimmer on your hands!
Trainers and trials:There are various courses and dog training events you can explore in your area. Sports-inspired activities are offered coast-to-coast, so search the web for warm—weather events in your area. Herding, flyball, disc competitions, agility courses, and Rally-O events aresuper fun andsome cities even host Zumba-style dance competitions you can enter with your four-legged friends! So liven it up a little the Summer andtry something new!
Bikes and balls:Look for challenging areas to play catch. Inclines are a great way to push your workout to the next level and challenge your pup to catch the ball as it rolls down the hill. Mountain hiking and biking are great ways to keep your furry friend fit as well and you can even find special bike attachments that allow your pet to run along beside you.
Be sure to take into consideration your dog’s age, breed, and health before trying anything too rigorous but don’t be afraid to try new activities that will lead both you and your pup to a new level of health and happiness. And remember—dogs and humans burn close to the same amount of energy per pound—just one more reason we make the perfect match!