Andrea Metcalf, NBC5 Fitness Team, Better.TV, FITtodayTV.com
As fitness is my passion, I am happy to tell you about some new fitness products for your pet! FIDO is not left behind these days as I recently learned about special "DOG TREADMILLS". These treadmills are built differently that the ones you and I are familiar. These treadmills come in different sizes and have an easy entry and exit. They, of course, are something you will need to train your dog to utilize, but the idea is somewhat wonderful thinking that no matter the weather your dog can get his daily needed exercise. Another fun item, I pawed at was the Petometer. This dog pedometer measures your dogs activity levels by counting steps. The Pedometer is worn around the dog's neck attached to their collar. Remember your pet's need for fitness is just like yours--They need it daily to be vibrant, healthy and happy! A few tips for walking your dog:
1) Surface matters - watch for paw irritation and impact. Steer clear of cinders and gravel when possible and opt for soft grassy surfaces when possible. Soft surfaces like these take out the impact (espcially for older dogs with arthritis) and give some bounce back into their gait.
2) Use the lead! Even the best trained pets may dart after something in the street and especially while running. Wearing a reflective collar is another good idea for visibility at night for your pet and bright colors or reflective clothing for you as well.
3) Hydration is key for your pet and YOU! Bring water and a collapsible bowl or paper cup for you and your dog to share your water.
4) Weather that is too hot or too cold is harder on your pets than you! Remember extreme weather conditions may call for an indoor workout. Run the stairs in your house or play fetch inside. I like to toss a ball while doing my crunches on the floor. This way I stay active and get a toned middle while FIDO gets some exercise and fun!
5) Lastly, check with your vet before starting an exercise program and remember to start slowly. If you pet shows signs of fatigue, limping or just refuses to move-- consider the orthopedic conditions and them to the vet immediately. They can suffer tendon strains and sprains as we do with over use or being deconditioned for the activity. It's better to err on the side of caution and use progressions.
Now that's walking the dog!