Without you to lead the way, your pet isn’t going to go for a brisk walk or run laps on its own! So it is part of your responsibility as a pet owner to ensure your pet gets to exercise safely on a regular basis.
Here are some precautions to take when exercising a pet dog:
– If your dog is overweight, take it to the veterinarian for a complete physical examination to assess its physical condition and general health, and prescribe a safe fitness regimen to get it back into shape.
– Like us, animals that are unfit or over-weight should start exercising a t a slower pace and gradually build up their fitness level to avoid sustaining injuries. It is a common misconception that dogs are built to run; however, like us, they are prone to muscle aches and joint pains too. Carry excess weight will also put additional strain on the heart, respiratory system and joints.
– Don’t run, bike or climb with your dog unless it is in tip-top shape. It is also advisable not to do so with young dogs below two years old as their bones are still in the developmental stage.
– Dogs can overheat easily because they do not perspire like us; and those with a thicker coat of fur are even more susceptible to this problem. So don’t overexert them – watch out for signs like excessive panting and lagging. Stop and rest if necessary. If the weather is hot, get it into the shade and give it water to drink.
– When you run on hard or hot surfaces, your feet are protected by shoes – your dog’s are not! So be mindful about this, otherwise, its feet can get hurt.
– If you think your dog is up for greater challenges, you could even consider signing it up for dog training or agility classes.
Exercise not only benefits your pet’s health, but is also a good way for it to release some of its pent-up nervous energy, which could cause it to wreak havoc around the house! Exercising with your pet is also a great way for you to bond with each other.
Source: The Sunday Times, April 28, 2013 Pets Corner
Written by Sheila Lim