Exercise is good for pets and owners – advice from Dr Carol Osborne


says top vet Carol Osborne

How Much Exercise Do Dogs Need?
Dogs needs at least 20 minutes of exercise twice a day. The exact amount varies with age, breed, weight and physical condition.

Don’t jump off the sofa one minute and take a ten mile hike the next, dogs, like people, need to get in shape gradually a little bit each day. Try starting with a couple of ten minute walks and you can both build up from there. And if your pet hasn’t taken much exercise recently get the vet to check him/her out before you begin the programme.

One hour of exercise increases your dog’s lifespan by 4 hours. Devise a fitness programme for your dog and you may find that you get as much out of it, if not more, than your dog.

Exercise Is Fun With Your Dog!
Exercise is integral to life. Not only is it essential for optimal health, it also improves circulation, stimulates vital organs, facilitates digestion and helps eliminate harmful toxins from the body. Exercise provides aerobic activity that stimulates your dog mentally and physically. And exercising with pets is fun. It is a great way to bond, and it is as good for you as it is for your dog. Most owners end up looking forward to this “special time” as much as their dog does.

Some enlightened fitness centres open their doors to people and pets – use it or loose it doesn’t just apply to people.

Exercise Goals

Exercise promotes confidence, self-esteem and well being. If you make the commitment to eat right and exercise at least 20 minutes twice a day, you and your dog will look good and feel great! Exercise enhances your health, your looks and your life. Before long you’ll both be wagging your tails!
If your dog can’t exercise, you can help by learning canine massage. It’s therapeutic and stimulates vital tissues. It’s also fun and feels great.

PUP-ULAR CANINE SPORTS (Little League Anyone?)

Playgrounds and obstacle courses are great ways to have fun and stay in shape. You can construct obstacles using odds and ends in your garden or buy them already made from a pet shop.

Sports Equipment
Treadmills for Dogs
They are great for dogs of all ages, including those that are older and arthritic. Pets can use them if the weather is bad, if they live in an apartment or if you just can’t get outside. Canine treadmills come with adjustable inclines and speeds. They are fun for pets and when your dog’s done you can use it too!

Fun Exercises for Dogs & their People

All dog love to go for walks. They are especially good for lap and toy breeds that are too small to do a lot of exercises.
Jogging is especially fun for bird and herding breeds that love to run. Be careful if it’s very hot or very cold and if your dog stops to lie down you need to stop too

Roller Blading
Roller blading is worth a try. Just like jogging, its fun with dogs that love to run. Be sure you’re good on wheels and don’t forget your kneepads.

Frisbee is great with breeds that like to focus on objects; Border Collies and Australian Shepard’s find Frisbees fascinating.

Most bird dogs, Labradors, Retrievers and even some Mastiffs love the water. It is also therapeutic for older, arthritic dogs. Be sure your dog can swim, because like people, not all can. Stay near by and keep a close eye on him.

Have a Ball
WITH BALL GAMES. BE SURE THE BALL IS BIG ENOUGH SO YOUR DOG CANNOT SWALLOW OR CHOKE ON IT. Also make sure it’s made of sturdy material like hard rubber so your dog can’t chew it into little pieces and risk choking. Dogs get plenty of exercise fetching and frolicking with balls. They also enjoy chasing, chewing, bouncing and pouncing on them,
Some balls have compartments you can fill with treats like apples, carrots or cucumbers. They’re purr-fect for pet’s that enjoy a good game of “Hide and Go Seek”. They’re also great boredom busters if you’re out for the afternoon or at work.

Avoid rough games like tug of war, wrestling and those that involve your dog chasing you. These games encourage aggression and teach your dog to struggle against you as opposed to working with you.

Dr Carol Osborne DVM is the world’s only veterinarian to be a board certified Diplomat of the American Academy of Anti-Ageing Medicine. She has her own bespoke pet health products at www.drcarol.com