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Keeping your dog in shape
A healthy dog lives longer. Help your dog enjoy a long life with you!
Regular, moderate exercise is essential to keep your dog in shape throughout his life. It will tone his muscles, help lubricate his joints and improve his heart health. The intensity of exercise any dog needs will depend on each dog’s physical condition (fitness) and health.
Warm-up and Cooldown
Regardless of the physical condition of your dog, you should always start the exercise with a warm-up. As with humans, a light jog or a brisk walk for five (5) to ten (10) minutes will slowly increase your dog’s heart rate and reduce the possibility of injury to muscles or ligaments. A warm-up will also decrease the lactic acid build-up in your dog’s muscles and minimize muscle soreness and fatigue after exercise.
In the same way, it is important to take ten (10) minutes for a proper cool down so that the muscles recover, and the lactic acid and other metabolites produced by exercise dissipates properly. This will prevent subsequent muscle pain. Additionally, cooling down is mentally important in helping your dog relax and settle down from the previous activity.
Long distance running, agility exercises and other high intensity competition activity requires a combination of endurance and strength training over a period of time. You can’t go from a couch potato to marathon runner in one day. The same applies to your dog and you will have to gradually increase length and intensity of training to build up your dog’s endurance in order to prevent injury.
Always check with your veterinarian to ensure that your dog is healthy enough to start any type of training.
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