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Health: Get Active with your Dog

Health: Get Active with your Dog

Everyone knows that daily struggle of finding the energy to get off your chair and into the gym. It’s almost impossible to keep motivated. But little did you realise, that as a dog owner, you have the best reason to get out and workout! Who needs a gym buddy, when you have your wagging walking companion ready and raring to exercise! Exercising with your own Mr Muttivator costs little or no money at all and you will always have someone's wagging tail and eager eyes to spur you on.

Whilst we are all clued up with what not to eat, drink and many other weird and wonderful health hacks, we forget that the same applies to our pets. Getting the balance of a healthy lifestyle is hard to keep track of; the nutritional elements are just as important as exercise! It's not just physical but also mental stimulation that they need. Taking your dog out for at least two walks a day will help maintain their fitness and keep them occupied. This doesn't mean you have to walk for miles, run for hours or swim for days. If you start slowly, then both you and your pup will feel the benefits gradually. Do remember, if your dog has a medical condition such as arthritis, heart disease and so on, speak to your vet regarding a suitable exercise programme.

So how do you get started? It’s safe to say the staring point is the hardest point. By planning out what days you can (and will!) walk and where you can go, it makes it a lot easier for you to feel organized. Remember, there’s no race to the finishing line. Every human and dog has different capabilities. By starting slow, you can build up both your strengths and gradually build healthier and stronger. So by creating a healthy plan, you can keep track of your progress as well as stay interested.

If you’re still struggling to maintain the regime, do not panic; there is help! Introducing the Get Fit With Fido campaign. Get Fit With Fido is a campaign introduced by the Kennel Club to encourage dog owners to exercise with their dogs. A Kennel Club survey revealed that more than a third of dog owners are overweight. But why? Given that the same survey found that almost a quarter of dogs are also overweight, and a fifth don't get a daily walk, the solution seems obvious. As aforementioned, having a dog is the perfect excuse to get fit. And this doesn't limit it to just walking, never! The Get Fit campaign contains many activities available for all canine carers. From agility training, to flyball (a great doggy team sport!), the options are limitless. It’s also a fantastic way to meet other dog owners! So don’t feel down because you don’t live in an area with beautiful surroundings, or because you don’t have the patience to go on a long walk. Get Fit With Fido has so many options for the urban owner, the country owner, even the laziest of owners.

The health benefits are endless. Even a 20-minute, 1 mile walk a day will leave you and your family feeling refreshed, energised and fabulous, not to mention the happiness your dog will feel! You will both sleep a lot better, and will wake up feeling ready to rumble and conquer the day ahead! Here are some top tips to bear in mind when exercising:

•    The importance of providing the right kind of exercise for your dog
•    Water - make sure your dog is hydrated
•    Weather - In the summer try to avoid intensive exercise during the hottest period of the day
•    Dogs on leads - If you are walking your dog then remember to keep it on a lead in places where there are hazards
•    Warm up and down
•    Clean up after your dog - Responsible dog owners have an obligation to clean up after their dogs so ensure that you keep poo bags with you at all times.

So why not join the campaign and get tips and advice on how to maximize yours and your dogs health. Let today be the start of your journey to fitness, and we promise you will be noticing the benefits in no time! As an added bonus, the Kennel Club has introduced the competition for the ‘Slimmer of the Year’. And the prize for the 2015 competition includes a one-night stay and spa treatment for dog and owner at luxury Yorkshire retreat, Raithwaite Estate and tickets for the Kennel Club's Crufts and Discover Dogs events.

Motivation is at an all time high…go get ‘em people and pooches!

Sam Gosheron

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