Did you know pet exercise is just as important as it is for you? Ensuring your dog gets the right kinds of exercise will help keep them in great shape. An inactive lifestyle is bad for people, and it’s bad for dogs and cats too. Exercise can keep sickness and disease away and keep your pet looking and feeling good.
In fact, exercising your pet is so important that RSPCA Australia has proposed laws requiring dog owners exercise their dogs on a daily basis. Planning a proper pet exercise program for your dog will help to ensure a long, happy and healthy life for your pet.
1. SURFING or KAYAKING (pet exercise)
Certain dogs are natural swimmers; every dog is born with the instinctive ability to swim, but not all of them can. For example, pugs and french bulldogs tend to sink with their solid little bodies and short legs. Does your dog like to swim? Swimming is a great option for pet exercise. Swimming offers great aerobic conditioning, but without the impact stress of running. The low-impact exercise of swimming can be particularly beneficial for elderly dogs that may be suffering from arthritic joints.
Be careful, though, of where your dog swims. Bull sharks can lurk in canals, lakes that exhibit lots of algae growth or floating dead fish on the surface may contain bacteria that could be harmful to your and your dog. And if your dog swims in a chlorinated pool, there’s a chance that the chlorine will irritate its skin. A quick rinse-off with a hose after swimming will eliminate that concern.
Dog Surfing - Photo courtesy of Chris McLennan / Noosa Festival of Surfing
Dog Surfing - Photo courtesy of Chris McLennan / Noosa Festival of Surfing
The Poodles and Oodles Gold Coast Crew get involved in regular fun events with dogs, including kayaking at places like Currumbin Creek. Water lovers can hire stand up paddle boards and kayaks and take their dogs too. The Boat Shed Bar on shore are also dog-friendly and serve great food outdoors.
Mini Poodle Mocha and Dior from Poodles and Oodles Gold Coast Group
An active dog is a happy dog! Milly in her XXS Ezy Dog Life Jacket – Milly is the mascot of national online Pet Sitting company PetCloud.com.au
2. GEOCACHING (pet exercise)
If you're looking for something different, there are also dog-friendly Geocaching events and groups such as Geocaching Gold Coast. What is geo-caching?! It’s like a treasure hunt people can do using their phones and by registering on the geocaching website https://www.geocaching.com/play Just a word of warning though, if you decide to do a geocache experience with your dog, ensure it doesnt involve food as you dont want them to get used to finding and eating strange food left in parks as it may make them more likely to eat bated dog food.
Pic source: youdidwhatwithyourweiner
3. HIKING & BARXERCISE (pet exercise)!
Pic sourced from Dog Adventures website
On facebook there is a group called Dog Friendly Beaches and Camping Spots Australia which is pretty active. BARXERCISE: OUTDOOR GROUP TRAINING AND PERSONAL TRAINING WITH YOUR DOG The active dog-loving team from Barx Active specialise in outdoor group fitness sessions, as well as personal training for you and your dog and they have locations all over Australia including: Ipswich QLD, Wollongong/Illawarra NSW, Narre Warren South VIC, Frankston VIC, Rosebud VIC
An outdoor Barxercise session. Pic from the Barxercise website
4. DOGA – DOG YOGA AND CAT YOGA (pet exercise)
Shyamala Benakovic?, Yoga Australia's CEO, is seeing the growth of hybrid forms of yoga, including yoga dance, couples yoga and doga. "Doga – also known as dog yoga combines stretching, mediation and massage for owners and their furry friends," she says, adding that with new styles it is even more important to ensure students are training under the guidance of a qualified teacher.
Pic from @cpymoos
Cat yoga can be done at the Lucky Cat Cafe in Annerley in Brisbane put on by Stretch Yoga
Pic sourced from Stretch Yoga
The Cat Cuddle Cafe in Brisbane also do Cat Yoga. $25 for 1.5hours.
Pic: sourced from Cat Cuddle Cafe Brisbane
THE RIGHT AMOUNT Just like people, dogs can get too much of a good thing. But too little exercise is a bad thing. How do you know if you’re hitting the sweet spot with your dog’s exercise program? Watch for these indicators that your dog is getting too much or too little exercise. NOT ENOUGH
- A pudgy pooch
- A fat cat
- Hyperactivity, including
- Chewing household items
- Improper elimination can be related to lack of exercise
Image source: Jezebel.com
Image Source: abcnews.go.com
BEGINNING TO OVERDO IT
- Your dog starts to lag during exercise, or suddenly stops to lie down
- Excessive panting, wheezing or shortness of breath
- Visible signs of distress or agitation
- Signs of lameness
JUST RIGHT An average of somewhere around 1 to 2 hours per day of exercise is right for most dogs. But variables such as breed, age, and overall health make it necessary to tailor an exercise program to your dog’s specific needs. Short-nosed breeds like pugs and bulldogs, for example, are far less tolerant of aerobic exercise (running, swimming, walking) than long-snouted breeds like retrievers and collies. \
And just as the exercise needs of an 80-year-old human vastly differ from the needs of an 18-year-old, so too does the age of a dog affect its exercise needs. In general, an adult dog needs more exercise than an elderly dog or a young pup. Keep in mind factors such as the day’s heat and humidity can also impact the amount of exercise your dog can do.
Pic sourced from BathCatsandDogsHome website
USE COMMON SENSE
Your pet is a unique individual, just as you are. So it’s important that you tailor an exercise program that’s suited specifically for your dog or cat. Take into account your dog or cat’s age and condition, too, when beginning an exercise program. If your pet is overweight or out of shape, it’s important to start slow and ease into a pet exercise program gradually.
5. DOG WALKING (pet exercise)
Did you know you can get paid to walk dogs? On PetCloud.com.au all you do is sign up, create a listing, add your services and prices and then share your listing with your friends on facebook and Google Plus.
You can join dog-friendly walking groups with the Heart Foundation
FitBit – Join a Dog Walking Group online
Dog Loving Fit Bit Groups are available to join online
For humans and their pets, walking is one of the healthiest and most effective type of exercise you can do. It’s also easy, enjoyable, and doesn't require special equipment. And you’ll benefit just as much as your dog. In fact, you can consider dog walking to be one of the great perks of dog ownership. In 2008 the Health Promotion Journal of Australia reported that “...dog-owning families had only half the risk of childhood obesity compared to families without dogs.”
Researchers at the University of Western Australia have found that “...70% of dog owners get at least 150 minutes of exercise every week, while only 40% of non-owners get an equivalent amount of exercise.”
To get the best benefits of a walking program for both human and pet, plan on at least 30 minutes per day of walking. And try to make it a daily routine. If you walk at the same time every day, your dog will come to expect it. If you get lazy and try to slack off, your furry friend will give you a nudge! But if you are finding you don’t have enough time on a daily basis to walk your dog for an hour or two, you can find a local dog walker using online national website PetCloud.
A quick search on PetCloud.com.au will reveal thousands of trusted sitters in your area.
HAVE WE MISSED ANYTHING OUT?
If you know of any amazing fun activities that Australian Pet Parents can do with their pets, let us know and we’ll add it to this list! Email us: firstname.lastname@example.org and in the meantime, please share this post, and also stay up to date with us on our facebook page and Instagram.
Hero Image Credit: With thanks to Fotalia
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