During the month of April, Canine Fitness Month focuses on keeping our most loyal companions healthy and physically active.
Like many of their human counterparts, too many dogs suffer from obesity and “sedentarism,” the two most common preventable conditions in the canine and human populations. Too much sitting and too many calories in the form of treats or poor nutrition choices often contribute to weight gain. Besides causing our furry friends to have sore joints, difficulty breathing, a higher risk for cancer, canine diabetes and other diseases, obesity also shortens their lives.
Unfortunately, sedentarism has become the normal lifestyle for many dogs and their people. The opposite of a sedentary lifestyle is movement. Playing, being outside, engaging and moving. Canine Fitness Month encourages us to take a step toward a developing a healthier lifestyle and bond with our four-legged family members.
Get walking! This is the obvious first and easiest exercise for most canine and human companions. One foot in front of the other and the fresh air will do you both good.
- Try active play. Throw a ball, stick or frisbee in a safe environment, or better yet – run or jog with your pet to retrieve it.
- Play hide and seek with your pet’s daily allowance of treats. Place them behind doors, under bowls and chairs. Make treating an active reward.
- For dogs unaccustomed to the game of fetch, use a treat dispensing ball that will interest them in retrieving the ball. It may take time to get them to bring the ball back to you, but once the treat is gone, they will in hopes of more treats. Keep the amounts small and intermittent.
- Food fitness games. Place an unstable object in front of the food bowl for your dog to step on as they reach for the food bowl to introduce balance activities and limb strengthening as a fun and rewarding game.
- Raise the floor. Integrating a platform that can be climbed on, or crawled under, during the day is an excellent way to incorporate movement if space is small and the weather isn’t cooperating.
- Many dogs are shadows to their canine companions, following us around everywhere we go even if it is just to lie down under foot. Take advantage of this when starting a new workout routine. Encourage them to participate when you put in the cardio or yoga video. When you shuffle across the room, grab a toy and lure them to do the same.
- Incorporate some of your pooch’s well-known obedience drills – like sit, stand, down – into your yoga routine. When you go into cobra, try asking your loyal pal lie down. When you move into downward dog, have him sit.
- Creating obstacle courses indoors and out is possible the whole year round. With a small amount of equipment or none at all, just moving rugs and chairs around to create obstacles will create a workout worthy of both human and canine. The key is to make movement fun for both of you!
- Don’t have time? Find a Canine Fitness Trainer or a Dog Walker that can help get the recommended 20-30 minutes your dog needs each day.
HOW TO OBSERVE
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Promoting Pawsitively Healthy Choices!
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FitPAWS® founded Canine Fitness Month to bring awareness to the growing and preventable issue of canine obesity and sedentarism. They have been the leader in canine fitness for more than 10 years and in human fitness with their FitBALL®brand for 26 years. FitPAWS® is passionate about shining a light on the limited amount of movement that dogs are getting and enourage people to get out and move their mutts. They recently developed a certificate program for the very first Certified Canine Fitness Trainer Program with the University of Tennessee. The program provides Trainers, Vets, Behaviorists, and Physical Therapists expertise on equipment and methods to create good, effective canine fitness programs. The Registrar at National Day Calendar declared Canine Fitness Month to be every April beginning in 2017.
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