Dogs are called “man’s best friend” for good reason. They are fun, friendly and usually love to cuddle. They are also amazing at lifting one’s spirits and are fiercely loyal to their owners. So if you have a dog BFF, count yourself fortunate.
Now, if you are currently out of shape, already into fitness, or a fitness buff wannabe, and you already have Fido right next to you, there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy exercising together. Exercising with your canine friend will be good for both of you. Besides, what’s good for your heart and muscles should be great for your dog, too.
Here are six reasons why your dog could be your ideal exercise buddy.
1. You both love activity
Or at least, Fido mostly does. Get off that couch and step outside. Take a brisk hour-long walk around the neighborhood. Check out the new community park, do some bird-watching, or take a stroll along the beach.
Do this on a daily basis and you’ll see your pet happier, and you a little fitter. That’s a double dose of happiness right there.
2. You both need to take that bike for a spin
You bought a road bike three months ago and it’s waiting to feel the actual road. For short bike rides, you can fit your canine friend in a specialized bike/dog leash. For longer trips, there are baskets and carriers for little pets and specialized dog trailers for bigger ones.
You can also simply carry your pup around in a dog backpack. Just be sure to bring along sufficient water and treats for you and your furry pal.
3. You both like fun and games
Try to beat each other in a game of fetch. Go to a park or a beach where there’s space enough for both of you to make a dash for the handball. If your dog is extra fit, you can also play tug of war, with the two of you on opposite ends of the rope. But if Fido is still a pup, you can just use one of your hands or a foot to playfully tug at the rope.
You can also practice your tennis swing with your furry friend dutifully and happily retrieving the tennis ball for you.
4. You want to run
So does Fido. Dogs love to leap and run. They can’t seem to get enough of it, right? So if you’re prepping for your first 5K or 10K ever, why not get your pup to tag along with you?
Soon, you will find your 2K, 3K and longer morning jogs turning into a battle of stamina and commitment. Fido’s not going to let it slide if you’re just feeling a little “meh” or are too lazy to get out of bed one morning. So get on your feet and lace up those running shoes! Your pet won’t ever let you stay put.
You’ll have that constant source of motivation you need to run every day when you always have your puppy beside you.
5. You both swim
If you’ve got a water-loving Fido, expect to have a hard time getting him out of the pool. Anyway, while you’re both at it, take a few laps in the pool together. It’ll be a fun, excellent workout for you and your pet. If your dog has arthritis, swimming is a great activity that won’t put any stress on his joints.
If you’re worried about your pet’s safety in the pool, especially if it’s his first time, you can fit him in a specialized canine life jacket.
6. You love climbing
Whether it’s running upstairs or hiking on a mountain trail, you can count on your furry friend to tag along. If you’re going to go exploring in the wilderness, just be sure to consider the safety of other hikers if Fido is with you off-leash. Also, always carry a poop bag with you, a dog leash, hydration supplies, healthy treats or snacks, and your own food supplies as well.
Whether or not you engage in a physical activity you already know you both enjoy, make sure you gradually acclimatize Fido into the habit, especially if it means venturing outside and being among other people.
Remember to take breaks since Fido won’t be asking for any. And yes, don’t forget to have fun.
Farah Al-Khojai is the Managing Partner of Pet’s Delight. A passionate entrepreneur, Farah holds a Bsc in Government from the London School of Economics. She is always on the lookout for new opportunities to develop and grow the pet and equestrian retail and wholesale market in the UAE and beyond, and is proud to be at the helm of the first and the largest pet care provider in the market representing world-class brands including Origen, Applaws, Hunter, Savic, Flamingo, Ruffwear and Rogz.