In the pursuit of an active lifestyle, many pet owners are looking for ways to include their beloved furry companions in their exercise routines. To ensure their dogs’ safety and well-being during physical activities, it is essential to follow expert advice. In an exclusive interview with Dr. Victoria Tomasino of GoodVets Palm Beach County a renowned veterinarian with a passion for fitness, we delve into the dos and don’ts of exercising with dogs.
Safety First: Protecting Our Pawsome Friends
When it comes to keeping dogs safe and comfortable during exercise, Dr. Victoria Tomasino emphasizes the importance of gradually introducing new activities. “Building endurance takes time,” she advises. Watch out for signs of exhaustion, dehydration, or soreness in your dog’s joints and muscles. It’s crucial to allow them enough rest and recovery time.
Pay special attention to exercising in optimal conditions. Early morning or late afternoon sessions, as well as exercising in air-conditioned spaces, are recommended. The heat can be especially challenging for brachycephalic breeds, such as Bulldogs and Pugs, which have difficulty breathing. Dr. Victoria Tomasino suggests taking extra precautions to prevent overheating in these adorable-faced breeds.
Bonding Through Exercise: Strengthening the Human-Animal Connection
Exercising with our dogs not only provides physical benefits but also strengthens the bond between humans and their pets. Dr. Victoria Tomasino highlights that any one-on-one time spent with your dog enhances this connection. Engaging in physical activities with your pooch can be highly stimulating and rewarding for them.
To make the most of this bonding time, Dr. Victoria Tomasino encourages positive reinforcement through verbal cues or tasty treats. By rewarding their efforts, pet owners can further solidify the bond and motivate their dogs during workouts.
Matching Exercise to Breed Needs: Finding the Perfect Fit
Different dog breeds have varying exercise requirements, and it’s crucial for pet owners to match activities to their specific breed. Dr. Victoria Tomasino categorizes dog breeds into seven major groups: working, herding, toy, hound, sporting, non-sporting, and terrier.
While working, herding, sporting, and terrier groups demand higher exercise needs, it’s essential to remember that endurance takes time to build. Proper research before adopting a particular breed is vital to understand their intellectual and physical demands accurately.
Dr. Victoria Tomasino provides a range of suggested exercises based on each group. From obedience trials to sheep herding, from walking to tracking, there are numerous activities to suit different breeds’ needs. It’s essential to tailor the exercise routine to match your dog’s energy levels and abilities.
Choosing the Right Equipment: Safety and Comfort
Selecting appropriate exercise equipment, leashes, harnesses, and toys contributes to a safe and comfortable workout experience. Dr. Victoria Tomasino advises using sturdy collars for identification purposes and indestructible toys for tug of war or fetch games, especially for heavy chewers.
Avoid using retractable leashes, as they can compromise control in dangerous situations. Opt for short, sturdy leashes that allow quick redirection if needed. Additionally, consider life jackets for water-based activities, ensuring a comfortable fit that keeps your dog safe. Providing access to water through collapsible bowls or portable pet water bottles is also crucial to keep your furry friend hydrated throughout the exercise session.
Lead by Example: Fitness Enthusiast Incorporates Dogs into Workouts
As a fitness enthusiast herself, Dr. Victoria Tomasino shares her personal experiences of incorporating her dogs into her workouts. From beach play and frisbee sessions to roller skating and paddleboarding, she cherishes outdoor activities with her high-energy breeds. Paddleboarding and sheep herding have become their exciting shared hobbies, showcasing the versatility and joy of working out alongside our canine friends.
Physical and Mental Benefits: Transforming Health and Behavior
Regular exercise with dogs offers more than just physical fitness. Dr. Victoria Tomasino notes significant improvements in behavior and mental well-being for properly exercised and mentally stimulated dogs. Reduced anxiety, improved obedience, and a stronger human-animal bond are just a few of the positive effects observed.
Avoiding Common Mistakes: Expert Advice for Pet Owners
Dr. Victoria Tomasino highlights some common mistakes and misconceptions pet owners make when exercising with their dogs. Running dogs alongside golf carts in hot conditions and engaging young puppies in strenuous training are particularly risky. Understanding your dog’s limits, adapting activities to their preferences, and prioritizing their safety are essential to avoid potential pitfalls.
By: Daedrian McNaughton