Exercise with your pet this New Year
Posted January 25, 2018
your New Year’s resolution is to exercise more, then consider
including your dog in your routine. Just like humans, dogs need
daily exercise to stay fit and healthy—no matter their age or
Dr. Stacy Eckman, clinical assistant professor at the Texas
A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences,
offered some insight on exercise programs for dogs.
“Unless their health prohibits it, all dogs need some form of
daily exercise,” Eckman said. “However, the amount of exercise
depends on the dog’s breed and age. For example, high-energy and
working dogs require regular exercise to stimulate them mentally
and keep them from getting bored. Other breeds may only require
exercise to maintain or achieve a healthy weight and
In other words, a puppy or younger dog will probably have more
energy than an older dog, and a Chihuahua probably won’t be able to
walk the same distance as a Border Collie.
Before beginning any sort of exercise routine, Eckman recommends
having your dog’s veterinarian evaluate its health condition.
“Work with your veterinarian to develop a diet and exercise
program that is tailored for your pet,” Eckman said.
For example, if your pet currently is overweight or lives a
sedentary lifestyle, you shouldn’t take them on a five-mile run the
first day. In this case, Eckman said to start slow and gradually
work a few minutes of exercise into their routine each day.
“This is where tailoring the exercise to the pet and their
individual needs is best,” Eckman said.
Exercising can also benefit dogs that are prone to arthritis,
hip dysplasia, or other health conditions that can affect mobility.
Although it may seem that rest is better for dogs that have joint
stiffness or soreness, exercising can actually help relieve this
“To alleviate pain, regular exercise, weight management, and
veterinarian-prescribed medications are key in these pets,” Eckman
said. “You may also rethink your exercise routine for these dogs.
Instead of running or walking, try activities such as swimming to
reduce impact and help keep their joints moving.”
“Senior” dogs love to exercise and play, too. In fact, Eckman
said keeping senior pets active is a good way to prolong their
overall health and wellness.
Sticking to a New Year’s resolution can be “ruff,” but finding
time to exercise with your dog will promote a stronger bond and an
overall healthier lifestyle. But before you begin an exercise
routine for your dog, remember to have them evaluated by a
veterinarian. Now get outside and get moving!
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Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences. Stories can be
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