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Get Fit with Your Dog: Take the PetPlace Fitness Challenge

By: Renae Hamrick, RVT

Read By: Pet Lovers
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If you are quite concerned about finding the motivation to exercise, try planning your workout routine a week in advance. Write your plan on a calendar, and hang it where you will see it often. Crossing off your workouts when they are accomplished will be rewarding and encouraging.

Your routine will depend on your goals and your current fitness level. A good plan will include more than one type of exercise spread over five to six days with one to two rest days to recover your muscles.
If you are selecting one exercise as your main activity, choose another activity to use as cross-training one to two times each week. For example, if you and your dog want to become runners, your week might look something like this:

Sunday: run / Monday: swim / Tuesday: run / Wednesday: rest / Thursday: bike / Friday: run Saturday: rest

Again, your schedule, intensity, distance, etc. will depend on your preferences and the current fitness levels of you and your dog.
What to Watch for When Exercising Your Dog
While you must pay attention to what your own body is telling you during exercise, you must also pay close attention to your dog.

Remember to be especially careful when exercising your dog outside on a hot day. Below are signs that your dog may need a break or may need to stop exercising:

1. Excessive panting
2. Noisy breathing
3. Hanging head
4. Weakness
5. Bright red gums
6. Limping
7. Bleeding paw pads
8. Collapse

Recognizing Fitness Success in Your Dog

As your dog becomes more active, you may begin to notice positive changes in his behavior. Your couch potato dog may have more energy as he gains fitness. Your hyperactive, destructive dog may be more relaxed and well-behaved as exercise becomes his constructive outlet for energy. You may notice your obese dog developing a waist and becoming healthier. Most importantly, you and your healthier dog will have more years to spend together.

Share Your Stories

If you and your dog are taking the PetPlace challenge and making fitness a commitment, we would love to hear your stories and see your pictures! Please email them to us! Tell us about your journey toward better health: your goals, your achievements, your hard work, and the fun times you share with your dog along the way. We look forward to hearing from you!

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