At VIP Pets we know that dogs can make fabulous workout partners, just ask any of our Dog Walkers! With a new year comes a fresh start and a common focus on fitness. This week, we’ve gathered some of our favorite fitness tips for you and your dog. Now, before you and your pal get started on a new exercise routine, you will want to take him to the vet for a checkup. At the appointment, your vet can check for health concerns such as arthritis or hip dysplasia, for example. Also, the doctor can advise whether activities such as swimming or jogging are appropriate for your dog’s breed.

Once your dog has been given a green light by the vet, you will want to establish a workout routine. Your routine should be realistic, taking your work schedule and other time commitments into consideration. However, you should also consider your dog’s workout needs. Young adult dogs, especially working breeds, need a lot of exercise. An older dog, on the other hand, may benefit from a low impact workout routine.

Whether you start out small, exercising five or ten minutes every day, you will want to work up to at least 30 minutes a day several days a week. Some dogs require even more exercise. Large breeds with deep chests, such as German Shepherds, Dobermans or Great Danes should not exercise right after meals due to the risk of bloat and GDV.

Take time to warm up – a quick game of fetch will do the trick.  During exercise, watch out for signs that you and your dog are overdoing it. If your dog is breathing fast, staggering, panting excessively or refusing to keep going, then he needs a break. In warm weather, make sure to take along a bottle of water and collapsible water bowl.

Paw protection is another subject to consider. Long walks on rough terrain can be damaging to precious paws. Over time, your dog’s paw pads may thicken to provide natural protection but there are still times when extra measures may be warranted.  On hot days, avoid long periods of exposure to surfaces such as asphalt, concrete or sand. On snowy or icy days, be sure to check paws for frozen build-up. After exercise, you will also want to wipe off your dog’s paws to remove any ice or salt. You may also want to consider booties for your pet. (Check out Muttluks!)

We know that sometimes there can be a break in the routine. Whatever the reason, VIP dog walkers and pet sitters can help keep your pet’s exercise schedule on track.

Need someone to come by while you are a work? We can help! Check out vippets.net/services/dog-walking for more information.

Want more workout ideas and fitness tips?

Check out Shape Magazine’s adorable Puppy Love Workout http://www.shape.com/fitness/workouts/7-moves-you-can-do-your-pet

And Women’s Health: Workout with Your Dog http://www.womenshealthmag.com/fitness/dogs-exercise

What is your favorite activity to help keep you and your pet fit? Have fitness tips to share? Tell us in the comments below or visit us on Facebook!

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