Spring is here and you’re ready to turn up your fitness routine, but picking a workout buddy can be difficult. What if your schedules don’t align? What if you don’t see eye to eye on how far or how often you should run? Solution… your dog! No fuss, no muss, just two athletes casually jogging down the neighborhood streets.
In addition to being the best looking running partner you’ve ever had, there are significant benefits to choosing your dog as your running partner:
People that have a workout buddy are more likely to stick to their workout routine than those who choose to travel down the workout path alone.
Once you establish a running routine, your dog will keep you accountable. That means no more, “Oh I’ll run tomorrow, tonight I’m going out for drinks with the ladies.” I mean seriously… How can you say no to those eyes?
Think of how good you’ll feel when, mid-run, you look down and your dog’s smiling face is looking back up at you!
In addition to keeping you dedicated to your workout routine, running can help keep your pet happy and healthy. We’ve enlisted the expertise of Dr. Katy Nelson, host of The Pet Show with Dr. Katy and practicing veterinarian with over 14 years of experience, to talk about the benefits of running with your dog.
1. Physical Health
“Whether your pet is overweight (as almost 60% of the pet population is), or the perfect weight, exercise is the key to getting and staying healthy. Building lean muscle mass and cardiovascular endurance will not only help your pet to feel better (and last longer on the trails with you), but lean muscle also consistently burns more calories even when your pet is at rest. Consider a high-protein, fresh diet for increased energy like Freshpet Select (use Freshpet’s Store Locator to find a location near you).”
2. Mental Health
“‘Idle paws lead to the devil’s handiwork.’ A bored or stressed dog is a dog that is going to get himself into trouble. We all know the endorphin release that we enjoy after a good workout, and well, our pets are no different. Exercise leads to stress release, and a much happier pooch at the end of the leash (not to mention a happier human on the other end). After all, a tired dog is a good dog.”
The health benefits of running are numerous – both for you and your pet – but it’s important to make the transition to running safely. Here are a few important tips from Dr. Katy before getting started:
1. Have Your Pet Examined
“Have your pet examined by your veterinarian prior to starting any exercise program to ensure that their heart and joints are healthy enough to start running. And while you’re there, ensure that they’re up to date on their flea, tick, and heartworm preventatives as well as their vaccines, as running outside is better done with good protection in place.”
2. Transition Slowly
“As humans, we know that we should start any new program slowly. You can’t run 10 miles without running all the miles in between, right? It’s the same for dogs. Start with a short run, maybe a half mile or a mile and then build up endurance.”
“We also know that stretching after a run is important to make sure we reduce muscle soreness. This is important for dogs as well, so have Rover move from a sitting to standing position and then back down several times to flex his/her hip and knee joints.”
4. Use Positive Reinforcement
“It turns out just like us, dogs LOVE positive reinforcement so go ahead, give Rover that pat on the head and tell him what a good job he did. Or, bring some treats along for your run. My dogs love to be rewarded with Dognation Turkey Bacon Treats.”
5. Get Those Nails Trimmed
“Make sure toenails are clipped so their paws strike the ground flat.”
6. Provide Ample Amounts of Water
“Give water an hour before running and immediately after a run give a small amount from an elevated bowl. Gulping can cause potentially fatal GI distress so a little bit at a time is key.”
7. Be Minfdul of the Temperature
“On hot days, start earlier or stay under the cover of trees. Remember, pavement can be hot so keep those paws cool by letting Rover run on the grass if possible.”
8. Watch What You Eat
“Small snacks are ok, but just like us, a big meal can weigh Rover down. Feed Rover an hour or two before the run to give him time to digest his food. And just like us, a diet high in protein will give him the energy he needs to go the distance! I recommend feeding Freshpet Vital Beef and Bison or Multi-protein slice and serve rolls. Each recipe has over 80% animal protein to keep your pet going.”
9. Use a Proper Leash
“Attach the doggie leash to a body harness to prevent pulling or yanking on the neck which can cause disc issues.”
So grab your leash and get out there! This month we encourage you to get active with your pet and there’s no better way than participating in the FreshFit Challenge. Anyone who walking in the FreshFit Challenge will be entered to win 1 of 3 gift packs filled with Freshpet food and goodies.
To learn more about Dr. Katy Nelson and the Pet Show, visit her website here.
Interested in trying Freshpet? Find Freshpet at a store near you here.
Questions, comments, concerns – shoot us a message at email@example.com.
By Bailey Schroeder, ResQwalk Founder