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  • Benefits of Pet Ownership

    Your pet could be keeping you happy and healthy, read on to find out how. More >


    Pedigree™® Fit Families offers advice and tips on how to exercise with your pet and increase your activity level in a fun and safe way. More >

    Tips for Humans

    Pedigree™® Fit Families offers advice and tips on how to exercise with your pet and increase your activity level in a fun and safe way. More >

Tips for Humans

Exercise with your dog

Before undertaking any exercise, it is important that you know how to get the best out of the activity and that you are prepared. If you are in the slightest doubt about your ability to perform exercise, or believe that you might be at risk in any way whatsoever, seek advice from your GP or fitness professional before starting.

  1. 1. Warm Up

    Muscles and joints all work best when warm. It is very important that you warm-up and stretch the lower body, especially the calves. This will prevent aches and pains after exercise and minimizes the risk of pulled muscles. It can take 20 minutes or more before the body is fully warmed so take it nice and easy at the start and work up to your normal pace.

  2. 2. Drink Water

    It is essential to remain hydrated during exercise, so make sure you drink lots of water to offset potential fatigue, aches and pains. Don’t wait until thirsty before having a sip – thirst is a sign that the body is already 10% dehydrated!

  3. 3. Dress for the Occasion

    Wear or take appropriate clothing and footwear. Layers of clothing are helpful as they help you to regulate your body temperature as your body adapts. Much heat may be lost from the head so consider wearing or taking a hat and scarf to wear if needed. One of the most important considerations is your footwear; make sure you have comfortable shoes and good socks to avoid blisters.

  4. 4. Pack the Essentials

    If you are exercising for more than an hour, keep your blood sugar up with healthy snacks, such as apples.

  5. 5. Keep it Up!

    Make exercise part of the daily routine for all your family and increase the amount you exercise gradually each week. Start to walk to places instead of taking the car or bus. Make sure you are well fuelled; we recommend you leave an hour after eating before starting any exercise (to allow for digestion). Walking will not only improve your health but can save you money too.

Top Tips for Your Dog

Again, if you have any concerns about your dog’s ability to exercise to the level you are proposing, seek advice from your vet before starting.

  1. 1. Prepare your Dog

    You should start by gradually increasing the amount of exercise you do with your dog. Try increasing the length of his walks by 10 minutes each week. However if your dog appears to struggle with this or appears to be getting very out of breath then go back to the amount you were walking before and increase it more gradually. (If you regularly exercise with your dog then you are already ok for many of the exercises and games Pedigree™®; Fit Families has recommended).

    *It is not advisable to take young puppies or very old dogs on very long walks. Young puppies should have short periods of exercise frequently, whereas older dogs should only do as much as they can manage, depending on their age.

  2. 2. Use Games to Build Fitness

    You can increase your dog’s fitness by playing games with them at home. Throwing a ball is good as it increases their fitness and can be done at home in the garden. You can easily allow them a rest before a few more throws if they appear to be getting tired, as this will help build fitness levels.

  3. 3. Think about the Weather

    Always consider the weather conditions. Don’t try to take your dog on long walks on very hot days. If it is a hot day ensure that you take plenty of breaks to allow your dog to have a rest and also give him frequent opportunities to drink water.

    Similarly, most dogs are fine to go out walking on cold days. However if it is extremely cold dogs with very thin coats (e.g. greyhounds) or very small dogs may need a dog coat to help keep them warm.

  4. 4. Rest and Relaxation

    Your dog may appear slightly stiff after concentrated bouts of exercise. If this occurs don’t worry – just give him slightly shorter walks the next day. However, if he continues to appear stiff for several days or appears to limp you should consult a vet. After a session of strenuous exercise, you can wind down by gently massaging your dog.

  5. 5. Know Your Dog

    Dogs love spending time with their owners and enjoying the great outdoors, but remember all dogs are individuals. Some may get fit very quickly while others may take longer to become fit. Be careful when exercising your dog on hard surfaces and always take the weather conditions into account. If you are unsure, please seek advice from your vet before undertaking any of the exercises.

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