Archive for the ‘Exercise For Pets’ Category

Jan 13, 2023

January is Walk Your Dog Month

Posted by Bob under Dog Ownership, Exercise For Pets

It should come as no surprise to dog owners that going for regular walks is not only necessary but also beneficial. Of course dogs need potty breaks, but the exercise and mental stimulation that come with walking your dog is great for both you and your furry companion.

While going for a leisurely walk around the neighborhood may not seem like much, there are actually many benefits associated with walking your dog regularly. Getting out in the fresh air with all sorts of new smells and sights to explore may bring your dog great satisfaction and may benefit their mental and emotional health. Additionally, giving them something constructive to do, such as walking, may prevent them from doing something destructive, like chewing on your favorite pair of shoes.

Perhaps more importantly, walking can help to reduce your dog’s weight or maintain an ideal weight. Unfortunately, obesity has become a major health concern in pets. According to some statistics, obesity is the most common preventable disease in dogs, affecting approximately 25-30% of the general canine population. As with people, obesity is associated with an increased risk for many serious diseases including cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and osteoarthritis.

Speaking of osteoarthritis, regular walks can help control symptoms of this disease as well. By reducing an obese pet’s weight, you also reduce the stress on their joints. Additionally, walking can help to strengthen the muscles and supporting soft tissue structures around the joints, promoting increased joint stability. It can also increase joint fluid circulation, which is beneficial to maintaining healthy joint cartilage.

Walking is a relatively easy and low-impact exercise that comes with many health benefits. While January may not seem like the best month to get out and walk your dog, it’s actually a necessary reminder that dogs need exercise year-round, regardless of the colder temperatures. That being said, you should exercise your pet safely and remember that every pet has different capabilities. If you have questions about exercising your dog, it’s always best to speak with your veterinarian.

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Oct 7, 2022

Walk Your Dog to Reduce Symptoms of Arthritis

Happy National Walk Your Dog Week! Each year, we like to bring attention to this very important topic. Walking your dog has many health benefits, both for you and your pup. Walking is a low impact exercise that can provide mental stimulation and also improve joint health. For the purpose of this blog, we will focus on the benefits of walking to reduce the symptoms of osteoarthritis (OA).

Osteoarthritis in Dogs

Approximately 1 in 5 dogs is diagnosed with osteoarthritis. OA is a degenerative disease in which the cartilage within a joint breaks down, causing changes in the surrounding bone. Common symptoms of OA include pain, stiffness, and reduced range of motion. In dogs, the majority of OA cases stem from a developmental orthopedic disease such as joint dysplasia. It can also develop as a result of an injury such as a cruciate ligament tear.

Walking to Improve Joint Health

Since so many dogs develop OA, it is important to take care of their joint health from an early age. One way to do this is by taking regular walks. Though every pet is different, most dogs can handle at least some amount of regular walking. Walking is a relatively easy and low-impact exercise that can help to support joint health in dogs with and without OA.

Walking May Improve OA Symptoms

Like in people, walking can help to reduce the symptoms or delay the onset of osteoarthritis in dogs. Walking regularly can help dogs lose weight, thereby causing less stress on the joints. It can also help strengthen the muscles and supporting soft tissue structures around the joints, promoting increased joint stability. In addition, walking increases joint fluid circulation which is beneficial to maintaining healthy joint cartilage.

It is important to remember that every pet has different capabilities. For instance, some dogs may not be able to handle one long walk per day and instead may benefit from shorter, more frequent walks. For this reason, it’s always a good idea to speak to your veterinarian about your dog so that they recommend an exercise plan tailored to your pet’s specific needs.

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Apr 8, 2022

The Many Benefits of Walking your Dog

April 6th was National Walking Day. Regular walks can have several health benefits for both people and our dogs! In this blog, we will look at the potential benefits that come with taking your dog on regular walks.

Walking to Improve Joint Health

Walking is a relatively easy and low-impact exercise that has been shown to reduce symptoms related to osteoarthritis. Regular walks can help you lose or maintain weight, thereby causing less stress on the joints. It can also lead to increased muscle mass, which shifts the pressure and weight from your joints to your muscles. In addition, it increases joint fluid circulation which is beneficial to maintaining healthy joint cartilage.

Since 1 in 5 dogs is diagnosed with osteoarthritis, it is important to take care of their joint health from an early age. Like in people, walking can help to reduce the symptoms or delay the onset of osteoarthritis in dogs. And as a low-impact activity, walking puts minimal stress on the body, thereby reducing the risk of injury.

Additional Benefits of Walking

We mentioned above that regular walks can help your dog lose or maintain an ideal weight. While this is of course good for their joints, it is also beneficial to their overall health. Unfortunately, obesity has become a major health issue in pets. Obesity in dogs can lead to several diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, and several types of cancer. By helping your dog achieve and maintain an ideal weight, you are potentially helping them live longer.

Additionally, regular walks can help to regulate your dog’s digestive and urinary systems. Routine walks outside can help keep your dog “regular” and prevent constipation while regular emptying of the bladder can help reduce the risk of bladder infections.

Lastly, regular walks outside with your dog can be beneficial for your dog’s mental and emotional health. Walking exercises the mind as well as the body. Allowing your dog to explore and smell different scents provides mental stimulation. And by giving them something constructive to do, such as walking, you may prevent them from doing something destructive, like chewing on your favorite pair of shoes.

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Jan 7, 2022

January is Walk Your Dog Month: Benefits of Regular Exercise

Welcome back! We hope everyone had a happy and healthy holiday season. It is officially January- one of our favorite months! Did you know that January is recognized as Walk Your Dog Month? This is a great time to discuss the importance of regular, low-impact exercise for our four-legged companions.

Health Benefits of Walking

Walking is a relatively easy, low-impact exercise that comes with several health benefits. Some of the benefits of walking include stopping the loss of bone mass, losing weight, strengthening muscles, and supporting joints by improving joint fluid circulation. Though this is not a comprehensive list of the many benefits of walking, these specific benefits can potentially improve joint health.

Exercising Your Dog

It is safe to assume that these benefits are not only true for people, but for our pets as well. And given that 1 in 5 dogs is diagnosed with osteoarthritis in their lifetime, it is extra important to do everything we can to support their joint health. Fortunately, regular, low-impact exercise, such as walking, has been found to delay the onset of and/or reduce the symptoms of OA in dogs.

When it comes to exercise, each dog has unique needs and capabilities. It is best to speak with your veterinarian, who can help tailor an exercise regimen specific to your dog. That being said, it is generally true that regular, moderate exercise is favored over intermittent, intense exercise. According to Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine, “Regular physical activity is paramount in the treatment of osteoarthritis both in humans and animals. A lifestyle of regular activity that is moderated away from intermittent extremes of exercise (such as long hikes on the weekends) and activities to which the pet is not conditioned is essential. Ideally, multiple shorter walks are better than one long one. The same activity every day (or slightly increasing if tolerated) is ideal.” 

Now that you know the scoop, let’s all take our dogs for a walk this January for Walk Your Dog Month!

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Nov 19, 2021

Exercise With Your Dog on National Take a Hike Day

Posted by Bob under Dog Ownership, Exercise For Pets

This past Wednesday, November 17th, was National Take a Hike Day. This annual event encourages us to get outside to take a hike for some exercise and fresh air. But this doesn’t just apply to people. Dogs can benefit from hiking too!

Exercise Provides Health Benefits

As we discussed in previous blogs, providing regular exercise for our pets comes with an array of health benefits. In dogs, regular, low-impact exercise can be a good way to potentially delay the onset of osteoarthritis or reduce the symptoms of existing osteoarthritis. We frequently talk about walking your dog as a means to maintain or reduce his/her weight as well as to lubricate joints and strengthen muscles. Hiking can be a good way to mix up your regular walks around the neighborhood.

Hiking With Your Dog

While hiking can be fun and beneficial for both dog and owner, it is best to check with your veterinarian before embarking on any major hikes. Experts agree that regular, short-interval exercise is key, as opposed to doing one big activity on the weekends, such as a long or strenuous hike. That being said, there are many hiking trails that are shorter and less strenuous. It’s a good idea to do your research to find a hike suited to your dog’s athletic ability.

Dr. Harman’s border collie, Ben, on the trail.

Advice from an Experienced Hiker

Our own founder and CEO, Dr. Bob Harman, is an avid hiker. His border collie, Ben, frequently accompanies him on hikes and serves as his hearing assistance dog. While Dr. Harman and Ben are very experienced hikers and sometimes spend several days in the mountains, Dr. Harman has advice for hikers of all levels: Choose your trail and map out your hike before you leave the house. This will ensure you know what to expect on your hike so you can prepare yourself and your dog accordingly. Always make sure to pack enough water and a snack or two for both yourself and your canine companion. Keep an eye out for signs of fatigue, dehydration, or discomfort in your dog. If you notice any concerning signs, it may be best to turn back before finishing the hike. You can always try again another day!

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