Best Ways to Get Your Dog in Shape for Summer Fun

At Central Pet Care, we suggest that dog owners do their best to walk their dogs as regularly as possible so that they get some exercise and a chance to enjoy the great outdoors. But even with regular walks and time spent playing in the backyard, some dogs need an extra push to get the exercise they need to stay healthy and prevent illness. In some cases, owners may think that a chubby pup is cute and cuddly but just like humans, overweight dogs are at risk for increased health issues. Diabetes, pancreatitis, arthritis and poor joint health can all be attributed to unhealthy weights. Just like you and your family, your dog needs regular exercise and a balanced diet to stay fit and healthy.

Take our BARC quiz to check your dog’s fitness level.

Get Active

Get out and get active with your dog! Enjoy the great weather and take the family dog along. Whether your dog prefers fetch, catching a frisbee, playing ball, or just a brisk walk around the park, adding a couple of 15-20 minute focused exercise secessions to your weekly routine can be a great way to get your dog in shape for summer fun. Fetch can be a fun game for anyone in the family to join in on and only requires a good patch of land and something easy to retrieve. As an added bonus, a good game of fetch will keep you on the move too! Be sure to choose toys that won’t cause a health risk. Rope toys, toys with small parts that could be chewed off and swallowed or knotted rawhide toys can become easy lodged and require further medical attention.

Go for a Dip

Swimming is another fun and easy way to get your dog to exercise. This low-impact sport is ideal for dogs of all ages and offers a simple way to boost your pups endurance. Ease your dog into swimming by starting out in waist-deep water where you can quickly remove a panicked or tired dog as needed. We do not recommend trying to swim your dog with small children. If you are swimming with your dog in a pool, provide them with a ramp or easy way that they can climb out. After swimming with your dog in a chlorine or salt based pool, give them a good rinse with clear clean water. The high concentration of chlorine and/or salt can be harmful to skin, coat and eyes. Life jackets and other flotation devices are available and highly recommended for dogs anytime they are around water. This will help them not tire quickly. Look for a life vest that has a strap along the back, so that if you are boating or on a dock and they accidently go in the water you will be able to quickly and easily grab the strap to help them back on a dry surface. This is especially recommended for dogs that do not swim well but still like to be a part of the family during boating or other water activities. Also, check with our veterinary staff to see if your pets flea and tick preventative is waterproof. Many topical and over the counter preventatives will wash off even with a quick dip in the water. We recommend using oral prevention or a topical that is not water soluble. A few simple precautions can ensure everyone gets the exercise they need and stays safe while out enjoying those fun summer activities on the water.

Head Out for a Hike

Hiking along local trails is another option for low-impact exercise where your dog can get in all the sniffing they need for healthy mental stimulation. Make a day out of it by taking the whole family out for a fun hike and picnic. You can also step up your hiking game by trail running or jogging with your dog to give them a challenging workout. Remember to take along some poo bags for “just in case.” The hikers behind you will appreciate it. It also helps stop the spread of certain intestinal parasites. If you’re heading out to a trail, we also recommend you pet be vaccinated for Lyme disease and be current with an effective flea and tick preventative.

Hop on Your Bike

Heading out for a bike ride with your favorite furry friend by your side is the perfect way for both of you to get in a bit of exercise. Cycling can help you tone your quads and calves and having your dog jog alongside you, gives them an excellent quick cardio session. Just be sure to stay safe and stick to local trails or rural roads when cycling with your dog. Never tie your dog to your bike. If they have a tendency to chase the occasional squirrel or say hello to other dogs you both could be in for a big tumble!

Play a Game of Kickball

Getting your dog the exercise they need doesn’t always require a ton of activity on your end. Sometimes simply kicking a ball around in the backyard is enough to get your pups heart rate up and help them get in a good workout. Make sure you use a ball that has been deflated a bit or invest in a special “veterinary approved” toys.

Whether you choose to play a game of fetch, kickball or a just a brisk walk around the park. The Central Pet Care App can help you track your pets exercise and update their Doctor on their progress. Check it out for free, available for Apple and Android.

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