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Dog-ercise decoded…

Are you and your pet getting the most out of taking the dog for a walk?

Owning and exercising a dog is a great way for you both to maintain your health and for dog owners to ensure they get their recommended 30 minutes of physical activity most days of the week.

But remember that dogs are susceptible to the same health problems that inactivity brings, such as obesity and diabetes.

Professor Adrian Bauman is a Jack Russell owner and director of the University of Sydney’s Physical Activity, Nutrition and Obesity Research Group. Here are his tips for maximising the benefits of dog exercise, from the Sydney Morning Herald:

Exercise ideas:

  • Don’t just stand on the spot throwing the ball. Chase your pooch and try playing dog soccer, kicking the ball away when you get possession.
  • Jog around the oval throwing the ball for the dog as you go.
  • Mix up walking and sprinting to give you both a blast of interval training.
  • If you are a regular runner, take the dog with you.

    Common sense considerations:
    • Take it easy if your dog is a short-legged breed. Slow down if your dog is panting heavily or wants to stop.
    • Throw a ball, not a stick. It’s much safer.
    • Throw long, low shots, avoiding high bounces that could encourage your dog to risk jumping too high.
    • Remember that walking on sun-heated bitumen may burn dogs’ paws in summer.
    • Be conscious that dogs can be affected by heat exhaustion if they over-exert themselves in hot weather.
    Or better still just let him cool off in some nice water on a hot day!