Okay, truth time. Do you have a lazy dog at home? A pooch who has lost his pep? It happens to the best of us, both human and canine. Keeping your dog active is very important to his overall health and wellbeing, especially as they get on in years. Whether it’s because your whole routine has shifted over the last year, you or your dog have suffered an injury or illness, or maybe you just don’t have the same energy you both once did, we have some tips to get up and get moving again.
First, Assess Your Dog’s Health
Just like for humans, it is important to make sure your dog is in good physical shape before beginning a new exercise routine. If your dog has been injured or ill, it is absolutely essential to get clearance from the doc before resuming activity. It is also important to ask yourself if your dog’s sluggishness or lazy behavior came on suddenly. Suddenly seeming tired or uninterested in playing can be a symptom of medical problems that require a visit to the vet.
A dog’s age may also contribute to slowing down or less interest in play if moving around is becoming difficult or painful. Some breeds are more prone to certain joint issues than others, but any senior dog can experience stiffness and inflammation. Consider adding K9 Power® Joint Strong™ supplement to his or her meals if your dog is showing signs of joint problems.
Set Realistic Expectations
Let’s be real. If your dog is going from being firmly anchored to the couch 24/7, you two aren’t going to suddenly jump up and go on a five-mile run every morning. Set realistic goals, and start off slowly. In the beginning, you may only be able to go on short, 10- to 15-minute slow walks. Even those little walks should be celebrated as major victories when you’re first starting out. Everyone (and every dog) has to start somewhere. Shower your pooch with praise and pets, let them sniff around, and remind them what a fun experience it is to get out there!
If running with your dog is the goal, you can work up to going on runs by starting with intervals. After you are both comfortable on walks, you can try jogging together for a minute or two and then walking again, repeating the process until you are both comfortable jogging for more extended periods of time. Don’t forget to hydrate! K9 Power® Go Dog™ is a hydration supplement you can mix with water to boost your running buddy’s electrolytes.
Make The Experience Fun
Our dogs are like permanent kids, so like children, they will always be more motivated if the experience is fun! You’re already off to a good start by spending more time one on one. You are your dog’s number one motivational coach, so be sure to keep up the positive reinforcement as you go.
In addition to lots of “good girl!” and head pats, you can keep your dog motivated to be active by engaging their doggy brains. Exercise doesn’t have to be limited to walking and running by any means. There are so many fun things for you to do together. In the earlier stages, mixing up which park you visit or what path you walk invites your dog to check out a whole new menu of sights, sounds, and smells. You can also further engage your dog’s brain with activities like fetch and obedience training, work those muscles with some tug o’ war, or step outside the box and try a canine sport like agility or flyball.
We know you love your dog and want what’s best for them. It can be oh-so-tempting to let them laze about in luxury on the couch on a Sunday morning (because who wouldn’t want to do that?!), but taking steps to keep them and yourself active will lead to a happier, healthier dog, and more time with your best bud!
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