Exercise is an important part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle for both hoomans and their furry companions. Not only does it help to keep dogs physically fit, but it also helps to stimulate their minds.
To make your dogs exercise more fun and safe, here are some summer safety tips and 10 dog exercise ideas to get you started on building a healthy lifestyle with your furbaby in tow.
Extreme Weather Dog Exercise Safety Tips
Before we add some spice to you and your pooch’s exercise routine, here are some safety tips to keep in mind during harsh Arkansas weather.
- Always carry plenty of water for Fido and yourself during outdoor adventures. It’s easy to think your pup is safe when it’s cold out, but hydration is just as important in the frigid winter wind as it is in the scorching summer heat.
- Watch for signs of heat exhaustion in your pup, which include:
- Excessive panting
- Increased heart rate
- Confusion or disorientation
- Vomiting or diarrhea
- Booties are a good option for both winter and summer. They’ll keep your dog’s pads from getting burnt in the summer and protect them from harsh salt in the winter.
- Look up what dog exercises may be best for your pup based on his or her breed. Not all breeds are built for all activities, so be sure your pup is up for the task! For example, short-snouted friends such as pugs shouldn’t participate in endurance activities and need more frequent breaks while Greyhounds are suited better for short, intense bursts of activity.
- Talk to your veterinarian if you have any concerns about your pooch’s health before beginning an exercise routine.
- Avoid going on W-A-L-Ks in the heat of the day, opting instead for earlier morning workouts or late afternoon outings
- Scope out some cooler, shaded areas to take your pooch instead of full-sun spots, such as shady parks and wooded trails.
- Make sure your pooch has fresh water and a place to cool off post-workout.
10 Tips for Doggone Fun and Safe Workouts
#1: Let your dog choose your walk route
Variety is the spice of life! Give your pup some control by letting their curiosity control the walk. They’ll likely lead you to new places, discover new smells, see new sights and meet some new four-legged friends along the way! Just make sure to be their safety guide when crossing streets, walking alongside busy thoroughfares, and be sure to go at either dusk or dawn to beat that party-poopin’ heat.
#2: Mind Exercise at Home: Hide Her Favorite Toy
With stay-at-home orders in place, there is a need to shake up our routines and do activities that spark creativity and get our brains going. Try this dog exercise with your dog to train her brain!
Tell your pampered pooch to sit and stay while you go hide her favorite toy. Hide it under a bed, somewhere upstairs for some added activity or in a room less traversed. Then allow your doggo to go find the toy and bring it back. Treats are optional when trying to get a little exercise in – some praise and head pats will work just as well!
#3: Spice Up Your Fetch Game
If your pup is a naturally energetic bundle of joy, this one’s for you. You can make sure your furriend gets enough exercise by incorporating their HIIT workout with yours!
Take your dog for a normal round of fetch using a ball or their favorite toy. Throw it as far as you possibly can, then proceed to do several rounds of burpees, situps, pushups and/or lunges while your pooch fetches their toy and brings it back. Repeat until you are both pooped!
#4: Hiking With Your Hound
It’s no secret that the Natural State gets its name from the abundance of beauty found all over Arkansas! The Arkansas State Park system alone offers 300 miles of hiking trails, with many others to be found and enjoyed as well. Make your dogs exercise enjoyable for the both of you, and take in the sights from beautiful trails all over Arkansas.
Use Google Maps to find hikes in Arkansas that are great for our young or old furbabies with limited mobility or endurance.
#5: Try Your Paws at Trail Running
If your dog enjoys running, going on a trail run together can be a fun way to get exercise. Some breeds that are likely up for a good trail run include Weimaraners, Border Collies, Vizslas, Dalmatians, Australian Cattle Dogs and Doberman Pinschers. Please consult your local veterinarian before starting any exercise routine with your fur babe. Remember, all pups are different!
Explore shorter trails during cooler parts of the day and add length for endurance as you progress. Always make sure your pup is cool enough, well-watered, and watch out for signs of heat exhaustion during and after your outdoor activities.
#6: Go for a Swim
Every woof has his or her unique personality; different strokes for different furry folks, eh? Some dogs LOVE the water. Some of our top water-loving furriends at the Lounge include Standard Poodles, Labrador and Golden Retrievers and English Setters.
Make dog exercise fun by playing fetch at the lake, or you can even play in the backyard in a kiddie pool. (It’s what we do at our summer pool pawties!)
Some safety tips for our swimmers include:
- Try to take things slow and make sure your dog likes water and swimming in shallow water first.
- Teach your dog how to safely get in and out of each body of water.
- Be cautious of wild animals when in natural settings.
- Take a trip to a vet immediately if your dog experiences any sickly symptoms post-water activity.
#7: Downdog: “Doga” Style
Break out the yoga mat for a fun and relaxing dog exercise! You can help your pooch keep calm by including him or her around you as you practice yoga.
Find a soothing class on YouTube or join a Zoom class with your favorite local yoga studio. Breathe. Flow. Repeat! Your pooch will be relaxing with you as you breeze through your mindful workout.
Tennis is a great dog exercise. Sure, your furry child may not be able to return that wicked backhand, but neither can your neighbor Karen. The ultimate game of fetch for your pooch, is also a great way for you to work on your swings.
#9: Sled Pulls
Take your workout routine outside. While you run through your circuit, attach some weights to your woofs harness and let them pull.
Weight pulling can help strengthen the bond between you and your dog, as it provides an opportunity for you to work together and communicate effectively. It also provides your dog with an outlet for their natural desire to pull, which can help prevent boredom and destructive behavior. Do you even woof, bro?
#10: Exercise Solo and Send your Dog to Doggy Daycare
If you’re in the mood to exercise alone or during a hot day, drop your pooch off at Hounds Lounge for some fun group dog exercise at doggy daycare. Enjoy a long bike ride, run up the Arkansas River Trail in Central Arkansas or the Razorback Regional Greenway in Northwest Arkansas, then come back for your pooch, complete with his signature #houndsloungehangover.
You’ll both have a ton of fun during your respective activities and also feel like snagging some couch cuddles afterward!
Prioritize Health for Your Furbaby and You!
With a little creativity and effort, we can turn activities that can seem daunting into truly memorable moments with our fur fam. Use these tips to make you and your dogs exercising more fun and start feeling the benefits immediately!
P.S. You don’t have to have a reason for your pup to enjoy a pawty at Hounds Lounge.
Whether you’re running some errands, need some quiet time at home, or just want your pup to go have some good ‘ole fun, Hounds Lounge is here to help. Stop by soon! We miss you!