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4 Fun Ways to Work-Out with Your Dog

4 Fun Ways to Work-Out with Your Dog

Your dog loves to and wants to move. Whether it’s playing tag in the backyard, your daily morning dog walk, or going out for a hike in the woods – your dog is happy to work-out with you.

We want you to embrace this joy for movement and have put together our 4 favorite ways to work-out with your dog.

This movement and working out with your dog helps keep your dog’s joints healthy, encourages a healthy weight (for you and your dog), supports your dog’s mental health, and gives both of you all-important bonding time.

Before starting a new work-out with your dog, it’s important you honestly think about your dog’s current level of fitness and age. If your dog is not used to running, hiking, or agility games – it’s very important you start slowly.

As well, you need to be aware of your dog’s age and any current health conditions. If you have a senior dog with joint health concerns or have some doubt about what your dog should be doing – please consult your veterinarian.

Above all else, when working out with your dog, you don’t want to do anything that causes your dog to become injured.

Read on for our 4 suggestions on how you can work-out with your dog.

How to Run with Your Dog

To run with your dog, it’s super important that you’re aware of your dog’s current fitness level.

Just as you’ll develop injuries and muscle soreness by doing too much running too soon – the same applies to your dog.

Here are some tips on how to run with your dog:

  • Don’t start running with your puppy. Your puppy shouldn’t start running with you until his bones stop growing. This really depends on the breed and size of your dog. Discuss this with your veterinarian.
  • Start slowly. Pay attention to your dog’s breathing. In fact, it’s best to start with a walk-run routine.
  • Keep the runs short. Slowly add running to your dog’s routine with 10 or 15-minute-long easy runs a couple of times a week.
  • Use a leash and comfortable harness. Look for a leash/harness combination that is designed for running.
  • Don’t let your dog run all-over the path or running trail.
  • Remember to keep your dog hydrated. And don’t feed your dog a big meal before you go out for your run.

How to Participate in Agility Games with Your Dog

One of the best ways to participate in agility games with your dog is to join a local dog agility club.

Look for an agility club that has a certified dog agility trainer. Discuss how your dog will be trained on the agility games. Ask questions about the types of agility games that are appropriate for your dog’s breed and size.

With the right training and environment, your dog will soon be hooked on playing on the dog walk, running through tunnels, weaving around poles, jumping through hoops or tires, and even balancing on a teeter board.

How to Hike with Your Dog

To start hiking with your dog, it’s important you do some planning and preparation. Regardless of the type and length of trail hike you plan on, it’s key that both you and your dog are prepared for the outdoors.

How to Hike with Your Dog
Hiking with Your Dog

To hike with your dog, remember the following tips:

  • Choose a trail that is not overly rugged. Start slowly with an easy to hike trail that is mostly flat and not very long.
  • Use a leash and harness. Make sure the leash and harness are comfortable and give both of you a sense of control. Look for a leash/harness set-up that is designed for an active dog.
  • Bring water and food for both you and your dog. There are lots of portable and collapsible dog bowls that make it easy for your dog to drink water on the trail.
  • Tell someone where you’re going and when you plan to be home. Don’t change your plans mid-way through the hike.
  • Remember to think about your overall safety – bring a map, water, cell phone, jacket, etc.
  • Think of your dog’s feet. Pay attention to the trail surface and make sure it’s not too hard on your dog’s tender paws.

How to Camp with Your Dog

When it comes to camping with your dog, it’s all about enjoying the great outdoors. And yes, camping with your dog is a work-out.

It’s very important that you choose a campsite that is dog-friendly. Don’t assume that every campsite or park accepts dogs. Read the rules and regulations for the campsite and if you’re in doubt – ask questions.

Bring a tent that is big enough for you and your dog to sleep in comfortably. No one wants to be crowded in an overstuffed tent.

Remember that when you’re at your campsite, you need to keep your dog leashed. Dogs are naturally curious, and it only takes a split-second for your dog to be distracted and wander off.

Bring a first aid kit for yourself and for your dog. Talk to your vet about the right types of bandages and other gear you should include in your first aid kit.

Don’t forget that the weather is out of your control. Bring extra towels, dog coats, booties, and blankets.

How to Play Flyball with Your Dog

Because flyball is a team sport, you need to join your local flyball club. Flyball is a super active and exciting sport for dogs of all breeds and sizes.

However, before you enroll your dog in flyball training class, it’s important you discuss this with your veterinarian. Because flyball is super-fast and requires a lot of dog agility, you need to make sure your dog’s joint health can sustain this activity level.

Flyball is a dog relay race. Typically, two teams of dogs compete side-by-side with each dog on the team taking a turn running and jumping through a flyball course to retrieve a tennis ball.

The cool twist on this sport is that to get the tennis ball, your dog must jump and land on a spring-loaded box that releases the ball.

Working Out with Your Dog

Above all else, it’s key that whatever sport or activity you choose is enjoyable for both you and your dog. If your dog doesn’t enjoy running or resists participating in agility games – don’t force your dog.

Have fun and explore different ways to stay active with your dog. You just might discover that your dog’s favorite ways of working out with you include playing fetch in the backyard or going on long daily walks in your neighborhood looking for new smells.

Remember to pay attention to how your dog is moving before, during, and after your runs, hikes, or sessions at the flyball or agility club. Your dog is very stoic and will do his best to hide any joint discomfort or other injury.

If you’re unsure about how your dog is responding to your new work-out routine – schedule a visit with your veterinarian.

Visit the Leaps & Bounds Facebook community page and tell us how you work-out with your dog. Share your top tips on how you keep working out fun for both you and your dog.

How To Care For Your Senior Dog’s Health

How To Care For Your Senior Dog’s Health

Your seven-year old dog might appear as energetic as a puppy, but don’t let this boundless energy fool you. We hate to tell you this, but a seven-year old dog is considered to be a senior dog. With this statistic in mind, we want you to be aware of how you can care for the health of your senior dog. Just as humans develop age-related health concerns, the same holds true for dogs. Learn how to care for your senior dog’s health and be ready with your questions at the next vet visit. Now, before we go any further, we do want to make sure that you’re not looking at your seven-year old dog and worrying about her health. Seven is just a benchmark age – just like 65 is for humans. Your dog, regardless of her age can live an active and full life – we just want you to have the knowledge you need to care for your dog as she ages.

What Happens as Your Dog Ages?

As your dog ages, she will display outward and inwards signs of the aging process. You might notice that your dog sleeps a bit more or that her coat is graying a bit. As well, internally, your dog’s organs are changing with age. There are some general guidelines on lifespans for dogs that are worth keeping in mind as you care for your dog:
  • Small breed dogs generally live from 10 to 15 years.
  • Medium breed dogs generally live from 10 to 13 years.
  • Large breed dogs generally live from 8 to 12 years.

Keep these generalized age ranges in mind as you care for your dog and as you notice any changes in her behavior, coat, habits, or mobility. With age, your dog is more likely to develop heart, kidney or liver disease, arthritis, cancer, and other joint-related conditions. As well, just like humans, aging dogs slowly lose some or all of their vision and hearing. This often occurs very gradually with your dog learning to adjust to these changes. However, if you notice your dog is slow to respond to your voice or is not moving around as easily – contact your veterinarian. Because dogs are very good at hiding their discomfort, it’s super important that you’re in tune with your dog’s mobility and activity levels. Your dog is smart and will hide any joint discomfort from you. Your dog may become reluctant to chase her favorite toy or might want to cut the daily walk a bit short or become reluctant to jump onto the couch – these are all indicators that your dog is suffering from sore joints. Many of the age-related problems your dog might be facing are typically not obvious to you, making it very important that your senior dog has regular veterinary visits. Typically, your vet will complete a number of age-related tests that can be used as benchmarks to monitor your dog’s health. When you visit your vet, bring a list of questions and remember to mention any changes in behavior, activity level, coat/teeth, or mood.

 

How to Keep Your Senior Dog Comfortable and Happy

The number one thing you can do to keep your senior dog comfortable and happy is to schedule regular veterinarian visits. We know that your dog dislikes the vet, but as your dog ages, it’s super important that your vet is looking out for her medical needs. Remember that veterinary medicine has come a long way and many age-related conditions can be treated – and the sooner the condition is identified, the better. There are a few things you can do at home and when out walking to help keep your senior dog feeling her best:
  • A comfortable dog bed: your dog needs to feel safe and comfortable when sleeping and resting. There is a wide range of dog beds available that can help ease any discomfort related to arthritis, weight loss, mobility issues, nervousness, and more.
  • Quality dog food: talk to your vet about the best food for your senior dog. Depending on your dog’s health, you might need to change her food. Talk to your vet about adding an all-natural dog chew such as Leaps & Bounds to your dog’s diet to help ease mobility issues. As well, remember to change her water daily – pay attention to any changes in water consumption.
  • Be ready to adjust your expectations: your dog is going to slow down with age, so you need to ease your expectations of what your dog can and wants to do. If your dog doesn’t want to go for a second walk or is not thrilled about the sub-zero temperatures – be ready to change your plans. It is important that your dog does still get in her walks, but don’t force the issue. As well, consider the effects that the temperature, rambunctious dogs at the dog park, and the walking conditions have on your dog.
  • Limit distractions: older dogs can become more nervous and sensitive to things that previously were not a problem. For example, kids, loud noises, hustle and bustle in the home, or a new environment can cause your dog to be fearful. Be sensitive to your dog’s reaction to these kinds of triggers.
Now, we don’t want you to be stressed out and worried about your dog’s health. Ageing is a normal part of life, and it’s important that you understand how aging impacts your dog. One of the best things you can do today is to simply take note of how your dog is walking, sleeping, eating, playing, and just generally being a dog – by paying attention to your dog’s everyday normal behavior, you’ll be more alert to changes and warning signs.

Winter Dog Advice from SierraSil

Winter Dog Advice from SierraSil

Winter is here. Wherever you live, the days are shorter and a bit cooler. You might be dealing with 10 centimeters of fresh snow, a steady downpour of rain or some less than sunny days – regardless of the weather change, it does have a big impact on your dog. Your dog’s health and happiness should not suffer with the changing seasons and crisp weather. While it’s tempting to hibernate indoors and wait for the sun to come out again, your dog needs her daily exercise. This time outside walking, running, sniffing around and looking for the perfect stick is critical to your dog’s joint health and emotional well-being. To help you and your dog get through the winter months happy and healthy, we’ve compiled our most popular winter dog tips into one blog post. Of course, we do want to hear from you. Visit the Leaps & Bounds Facebook community page and share your top winter dog tips with us. Tell us how you keep your dog healthy, happy, and eager to get outside when the weather is less than welcoming.

 

How to Make the Most of Winter with Your Dog

There is nothing wrong with going on your usual morning and evening dog walks during the winter, but how about spicing things up with some new winter dog activities. Take a look at our suggestions and get outdoors to truly enjoy the best of the winter months.
  • Take a hike: get off the windy sidewalks and find shelter from the wind in the woods. The trees and will keep you protected from the winter wind and your dog will have a blast exploring a new area. Look for local hiking areas and greenspaces that are dog friendly and aren’t overcrowded with cross-country skiers or fat bikers.
  • Skijoring: there is nothing quite like enjoy the skis with your dog. Check with your vet first, and once you get the okay, hit up the local ski trails with your dog. Learn more about skijoring on the Skijoring USA website.
  • Dog park fun: your dog is a pack animal and he needs the company of other dogs. The dog park is an ideal way to let your dog play with other dogs and to burn off some energy. This time spent with other dogs is critical to preventing depression and boredom in your dog. To help you stay warm while your dog is dashing around with his pals, remember to bring a thermos full of hot chocolate.

How do you make the most of the winter months with your dog? Tag us in your Instagram photos of you and your dog enjoying the outdoors.

 

Top Tips for Safe Winter Dog Walking

Shorter days, icy sidewalks, pouring rain, and piles of snow can make your winter dog walks a bit of a challenge. When getting ready for your dog walks, keep these safe winter dog walking tips in mind.
  • Light up and be bright: your morning and evening dog walks are in the dark. This means it’s hard for motorists, pedestrians, cyclists, and other dog walkers to see you. The brighter you and your dog are – the better. Put a light on your dog’s collar, use a leash that has blinking lights, wear a reflective vest over your coat, and carry a flashlight. Not only will you see better, but you’ll be easy to spot. Above all else, don’t assume that others can see you – be alert at all times when crossing intersections, driveways, and the street.
  • Use the leash: yes, your dog is well-trained and can be trusted to walk off leash. But your dog (like every other dog) is easily distracted by new smells, squirrels, and other dogs. Choose a leash that is comfortable for your dog and is easy for you to control. You want to keep your dog safe from running into the street or from walking into an area that is not safe for his tender paws.
  • Dress for the weather: this means both you and your dog need to be ready for the winter weather. Invest in a quality dog coat that suits the climate you’re in. If your streets are treated with salt or are covered in ice and snow – make sure you protect your dog’s tender paws. There are lots of boots available that can give your dog both traction and protection from the elements. When it’s quite cold or incredibly wet, it’s okay to shorten your dog walk. Pay attention to shivering and if your dog simply stops walking, this is a sign that it’s time to head home.
When you get in from your walk, dry your dog off and check his paws for any clumps of ice or snow. If you do notice any cracks or sores in your dog’s paws or on his skin, take your dog to the vet for treatment. If you have a senior dog, you might want to buy a heated dog bed for your dog to relax in after your winter walks. The heat will ease any dog joint discomfort and be a welcome place to nap after a run in the dog park. Make the most of the winter this year with your dog. Who knows, you just might discover a new favorite place to walk or your dog might be a natural at skijoring. And yes, if it’s sideways snow or freezing rain – it’s okay to stay in and cuddle up in front of the fireplace. Here’s to a happy and healthy winter with your dog.