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If there is one thing I am good at - it's walking my dog. I think I love it as much as Buddy does. It's a great way for both of us to not only get exercise but it's a great time for me to clear my head AND a great time to work with Buddy on his training. (That's something we're always working on!) Dan Dillon sent me this article and I think it's very well written. And with the temperatures starting to heat up, please watch your dog carefully when you're walking in warmer temperatures. A heat stroke is VERY serious for you and for your dog. It's scary too, it happened to my dog years ago and it was only about 80 degrees that day - but it was very humid. Make sure they have plenty to drink too!
So get out with your dog. You'll both benefit from it!
IT'S A DOG'S LIFE: TO MAKE IT BETTER, UNIVERSITY VETERINARIAN SAYS ADD
EXERCISE TO CANINE'S DAILY ROUTINE
MANHATTAN -- Humans aren't the only ones who can benefit from daily
exercise. A Kansas State University veterinarian says dogs need it,
"Dogs should get exercise at least twice a day, generally around 15 to
20 minutes each session for small dogs and 30 to 40 minutes or more
for large dogs," said Susan Nelson, clinical associate professor at
the university's Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, a part of the
College of Veterinary Medicine.
However, how long and the type of exercise depend on the type of dog,
its age and its health, Nelson said.
"It really depends on what the dog can do," she said. "For
short-legged or arthritic dogs, walking is good. Running is good for
dogs that are bigger and are in good shape, but how much running to do
depends on the dog and how in shape it is. Remember, you can't run a
basset hound like you would a Great Dane."
Choosing the type of exercise for your dog depends on how fit it is
and if it has any health conditions that limit its activity level. For
example, running and jumping aren't good for a dog with arthritis.
Waking and hiking are good low-impact activities. Swimming can be good
for many dogs, especially those who have joint mobility problems --
but make sure the dog knows how to swim first, Nelson said.
In general, Nelson said small dogs can walk up to a mile or two, while
large dogs may be able to handle three or more miles of walking or
Just letting a dog out to play on its own in a fenced-in yard isn't
good enough. The dog should be kept active while exercising, so
playing a game of fetch with a ball or flying disc are good forms of
exercise, Nelson said.
While getting your dog active is good, Nelson said it's also important
to make sure your canine friend isn't overdoing it.
"Some signs to look for include an obvious limp, if they are tugging
on their leash and don't want to go forward, or if they start to lag
behind," she said. "As the weather gets warmer, watch out for
overheating your dog. Signs include panting really hard; producing
thick, ropey saliva; and getting a dark, red tongue. Taking water
breaks along the way is a good idea."
If your dog gets weak, collapses or seems to struggle while exercising
in warm weather, it's important to get them cooled off and to a
veterinarian quickly, Nelson said.
Once temperatures climb into the 80s, Nelson said monitor your dog
closely when exercising and consider switching your sessions to early
morning and evening when temperatures are cooler. For some dogs even
temperatures in the 70s can be hazardous to their health.
"Don't forget about humidity levels in the heat, too," she said. "High
humidity can make it tough for dogs to breathe and they can't get
proper cooling through panting. This is especially true for dogs with
short, stubby noses like boxers and bulldogs."
Nelson said dogs with these types of noses can have a hard time moving
air in and out, and the tissues in their throats can start to swell
when they have to pant a lot.
"It is a vicious cycle that can lead to overheating because they just
can't pant as effectively as dogs with longer noses," she said. "Very
young and very old dogs also don't have a high tolerance for the
Heat can be hard on a dog's feet, too, Nelson said.
"As the weather gets warmer, pavement and asphalt can get hot and burn
the pads on their feet," she said. "Gravel can be a painful surface,
too, especially if they aren't used to running on it. Many dogs will
develop severe injuries to their pads if they aren't conditioned to
run on rough surfaces."
Another concern at this time of year are fleas and ticks, so make sure
your dog is protected against them before heading outside.
If your dog did fine on its walk or run but woke up stiff or lame
afterward, Nelson recommends having a veterinarian check it out to
ensure it's not something exercise will continue to aggravate.
Scheduling a physical with a veterinarian is a good first step before
starting an exercise routine for your dog, Nelson said, especially if
the dog is overweight or has had a sedentary lifestyle.
"You want to make sure your dog is ready to exercise. You may have to
start slow to build up their endurance," she said. "But once you get
started, it can be fun. For example, you can get creative and set up
things for your dog to find along the way -- search activities. The
important thing is to get them up and going."
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Kansas State University
128 Dole Hall
Manhattan KS 66506
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