5 Simple Ways to Keep Your Dog Healthy and Fit

dog sitting on grass

Pet fitness is quite necessary but often overlooked. We’ve probably all seen a fat cat a few times before, or even a dog that was lazy and out of shape, but even a pet that appears to be in optimal health still needs to exercise, and it’s especially important that dogs are kept active. Although the level of activity a dog needs will change from breed to breed, and again depending on their age, in general it’s the best policy to help your pup stay fit so they’ll enjoy a longer, healthier life. Maybe you get tired of walking or running though, or simply need some more interesting options, and we’re gonna lay out 5 of our favorites you might not think about.

1. Your Dog’s Diet

This one should be obvious, but a lot of people are still in the dark on proper diets for their pets. Are you aware of how much you feed your dog? Do you regulate and measure food, or are you, for example, letting a child in the household fill up the dog bowl until it’s spilling? Are you accounting for treats and snacks? It’s very important to be mindful of just how much your dog is eating, and especially what they are eating, as human foods can cause a variety of health problems, if not downright adverse side effects from consuming for you pet. Like humans, it’s also important to link your pet’s diet to to their level of activity so you’re not under- or overfeeding. Also, if you’re leaving your pet in the care of others in or beyond your household, regardless of how long you are away, it’s important to inform them of your pet’s dietary needs as well, just like you would a child, to ensure a proper diet is always maintained.

2. Swimming

It’s still winter, but especially here in Texas, 80-degree weather is starting to creep back in, and we’re all beginning to take closer looks at bikinis and swimsuits. Swimming is an excellent and fun way for your dog to stay in shape. If you’ve never taken your dog swimming before, first find a clean lake or shallow pool, ideally with minimal other people that could distract or cause additional anxiety. Let your dog touch and paw at the water, and slowly invite and lead them in a bit deeper over time — keeping in mind that if they’re not interested, that it’s okay and to maybe try something else. Never push or force your dog into a body of water as a means of forcing them to swim. Not only is it cruel and highly dangerous, but you’ll lose a lot of their trust. Floatable toys are a great way to work with a new swimmer, or go all out with a pro. Don’t forget to account for how your dog will dry off after, and be mindful of the temperatures you’re exposing them to in and outside of the water.

3. Frisbee

Fetch can be fun and just as satisfying for your pup, but with Frisbee we have you in mind too, especially if you’re not a big fan of running but would like your dog to do so. You can’t just throw a Frisbee, it takes good form for you as the thrower so you get a nice little arm workout action in there too. And it’s likely a Frisbee will travel longer distances than other objects, giving your K9 a greater distance to cover while running. Just be sure to enjoy this workout in a nice, open but closed or fenced off area where your dog isn’t in danger of passing cars, bikes, etc. for ultimate safety.

4. A Fit Friend

This is something a lot of pet owners don’t think about. Maybe you don’t have the time, you’re sick, or you simply aren’t as active as you should be for a variety of reasons. You probably have a neighbor or friend that is regularly active, whether that be walking, running, or taking bike rides. When you’re in need, instead of letting your dog sit around all day with you — which can be tempting if they’re your best friend, but not ideal — don’t hesitate to ask if they wouldn’t mind taking your pup with them while they engage in a fitness activity. But be sure to watch out for your friends that might want to keep them!

5. Dog Walkers and Pet Caregivers

If you don’t have a fit friend like number 4, Dog Walkers or Pet Caregivers are the perfect way to make sure your dog gets at least a weekly walk around the block, or even some playtime at the park if you’re not able to do so yourself, or maybe have a month with a busy project you’re taking on. There are plenty things dog walkers will do to keep your pet as active and engaged as you might prefer. Talk with them about the activities that your dog enjoys, like Frisbee or dog parks with obstacle courses, for example, and ask if they can add that kind of fitness to your package of services. We get many different requests here at TLDOM, and we’re rarely unable to fulfill.

What are some of your favorite ways to keep your dog fit and engaged? What’s their favorite way to enjoy the outdoors with you? Let us know in the comments down below, and be sure to check out a variety of services we can offer you here in Austin, TX for puppy play or dog walks sure to keep your canines healthy.