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5 Ways to Stay Fit with Your Pet

A new year means a new you—but what about your dog? Each January millions of Americans hit the gym, stay away from the fridge, and frequent the produce aisle of their local supermarket all with hopes of improving their health.  Unfortunately, many of us overlook our canine companions as we set off down a path to healthy living. This year, take your resolutions to the dogs and bring your canine companion along for the ride, run or walk to a better life!
 
#1 Check in for a Checkup
 
Scheduling an exam with your doctor and your dog’s vet is a great way to begin and then maintain your path to a happy and healthy life.  With the assistance of a physician you will be able to evaluate specific needs and become aware of any potential problems.  A visit with your respective medical professional can also help you create or modify diet and exercise plans to fit your needs as well as those of your furry companion.
 
Helpful Hint:
Have problems remembering to attend your scheduled appointment? Consider scheduling both appointments for the same day or during the same week. For an added reminder, find out if your doctor or vet offers courtesy calls the day before or the week of an appointment.
 
#2 Walk, Jog, Run or Play

For many, the work day often means one of limited activity for both owner and pet. Get the heart pumping, burn calories and strengthen muscles with a daily 15 – 30 minute walk, jog or run with your dog.  Before you hit the pavement evaluate your dog’s needs as well as your own to establish a workout regimen that works best. Small or older dogs may fair better on a steady walk while larger breeds or work dogs may need a longer run or jog.

Helpful Hint:
If you're on your feet all day, a simple game of fetch can be a great way to keep your dog moving while you take a break. If you have the energy but can’t get outside, incorporate your dog into some pet friendly exercise moves.  For a quick leg workout grab your dog’s favorite toy and start squatting. As you bend your knees, bring the toy to your dog’s eye level. As you straighten your legs, raise the toy above your head to get your dog jumping.

#3 Introduce Healthy Foods into Your Daily Diet

If you consider this to be a journey, then the food you eat helps pave the way.  Today, its commonplace to see terms like organic, all natural and whole grain describing the food we eat. These can be positive additions to any diet and the same can be true for your dog. Replace high calorie or over processed foods with healthier options that include fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins.

Helpful Hint: 
Selecting healthy food options for you can be as easy as taking a walk down the produce aisle; however, it may not seem as simple when it comes to your pet. The good news is that some of those things are also terrific additions to your dog’s diet and can be found in quality dog foods currently available to pet owners. Start by checking the ingredients before you buy and consider all natural and organic dog food brands. As always, discuss any major dietary changes with your vet.
 
#4 Drink Plenty of Fluids
 
When the sun is beating down on a hot summer day, filling up on H2O is a common practice; however, more often than not that sentiment is lost in the cooler months. Hot or cold, sunny or cloudy, your body needs an adequate amount of water and of course the same is true for your dog.  Keep the water dish full and be sure to bring along extra water on your daily walk or run.
 
Helpful Hint: 
It's often recommended that humans consume at least 8 glasses of fluid a day, but what about your pets?  The amount of water your pet needs on a daily basis can vary based on size, activity level, age or even breed.  Regularly supply and replenish water as needed to avoid dehydration.  Take hydration one step further with automatic waterers or pet water fountains that keep water fresh, flowing and appealing to dogs and cats alike.

#5 Take Your Vitamins

It’s no secret that vitamins, in the right amount, can do the body good.  Your dog may also experience benefits from select vitamins.  Vitamins and supplements can improve your pet’s skin and coat, aid in muscle and joint function and in some cases, improve cognition. This is particularly true for aging dogs that may experience mobility problems due to arthritis or muscle and joint pain.  

Helpful Hint:
Determining which, if any, vitamins and supplements your dog needs can be tricky. Make the best decisions for your pet by discussing dog vitamins and supplements with your vet.
 
Following these simple tips can help you and your canine companion as you begin your life long journey to a happier and healthier existence. Though many are targeted at improving your physical well being, don’t forget to nurture the heart and mind. Work, play and relax together. Spending time with your pet as you embark on this journey will undoubtedly strengthen the bond that can only exist between an owner and their furry best friend. 

 

 

 

 

 



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