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    Six Ways to Stay Active for Canine Fitness Awareness Month

    • 4 min read

    It can't get much better than snuggling on the couch with your dog while you both snack out and watch a movie. But indoor cuddles and goodies must come in moderation, as a sedentary lifestyle can lead to health problems for you and your dog. 

    While every month is fitness awareness month, FitPaws coined the term Canine Fitness Month for April as a reminder of just how important it is for your dog to stay active and healthy. So, check out these six ways to get your dog in shape.

    Dog Running on the beach with West Paw ZogoFlex Eco Skamp

    1. Exercise Together

    When you have a solid exercise plan in place, your dog will anticipate the weekly activities, encouraging you to continue to keep your dog fit. Here are a few exercise ideas to do with your dog:

  • Trail running: Ditch the walk around the block and head to the trails. Changing up your terrain adds variation to your workout, and all those scents will be so much fun for your dog to explore!
  • Frisbee: Ultimate frisbee meets fetch when you play frisbee with your dog. Just be sure to choose a safe frisbee for dogs rather than a frisbee for humans!
  • Cardio circuits: Add difficulty to your routine by adding fast cardio for short intervals followed by cooldowns, then repeat. This helps keep your exercise routine exciting and engaging.
  • Swimming: Depending on where you live, it might be warm enough to go swimming with your dog. 
  • Tennis: Have regular tennis matches with your dog by serving a dog-friendly ball like the Orbee-Tuff Squeak in the park. Your dog will run to retrieve the ball and you'll get a workout that you wouldn't get from throwing a ball.
  • Note: Human tennis balls can pose a safety hazard to dogs, so add those to your list of human gadgets that are dangerous to dogs

    2. Play Hide-n-Seek with Your Dog

    April isn't all sunshine and rainbows; when those spring showers come on through, you'll want to have a game plan for indoor fitness activities. This one might take a little patience, but hide-n-seek games are a great opportunity for you to train your dog, encourage fitness, and promote good mental health. 

    How to Train Your Dog to Play Hide-n-Seek 

    Your dog has a built-in scent detector, so hiding from your furry friend helps put that nose to use as your doggo searches around the house for you. Use simple commands like “stay,” “find,” and “search” and a simple reward system of a yummy treat when your dog follows the commands.

    Dog having fun with agility course

    3. Build an Agility Course for Dogs

    There's a reason the American Kennel Club sports the national agility championship for dogs, and many avid at-home viewers eagerly turn their TVs on to watch the fun. Agility courses are a classic way for dogs and their owners to work together to build fitness and encourage training. 

    The best part is some of the items you used to keep your dog active in the winter are great for transferring outside once the weather permits. From cones to tunnels to poles, you can buy agility course equipment online or search around the house with a little DIY and imagination. PVC pipes or bamboo stakes are perfect for designing into poles or for framing ramps, planks, or hurdles.

    Agility Course Safety

    Keep in mind, it's important to build an agility course that your dog can win without being overly challenged. Start with a simple and doable course that will keep your dog safe from accidents and frustration.

    Consider your dog's age, weight, height, and physical abilities while you design the course, and be sure to put the course away when it's not in use. Your dog should not attempt to complete an obstacle course without supervision.

    4. Go to the Dog Park

    Dogs who play together stay fit together. April weather often means sunny fields and lots of fun at the dog park. Call up your dog-owner friends and schedule a play date at the local dog park to get your dog running with furry friends. 

    Like children, dogs love socializing and playing together; after all, dogs are pack animals and need to play with other dogs. Seeing friends play encourages your dog to get out excess energy, and creating social and explorative situations also helps stimulate your dog and reduce boredom.

    5. Take Your Dog on a Walk

    Don't underestimate the power of a good walk or jog. Taking your dog out for a stroll is a healthy routine for both you and your dog—and it beats missing out on those beautiful sunsets by keeping inside and scrolling through social media!

    Always take into consideration your dog's physical fitness when you go for a walk or do any physical activities together. Older or smaller dogs might not be able to keep up with you during a long run, while larger, younger breeds might not get enough out of a short walk.

    6. Play Fetch 

    Fetch has withstood the tests of time as one of the best ways to get dogs active. There are all kinds of fetching toys for dogs out there, but be sure to choose one that is made from high-quality, durable, and environmentally-friendly dog toy materials. 

    Here are a few of our best-selling fetching friends: 

    Fetching Twig and Stick

    Fetching Stick & Twig by RuffDawg

    RuffDawg's fetching stick looks like a rainbow as it flies through the air, and your dog will absolutely love chasing the non-toxic, FDA-approved, and recyclable fetching toy! It comes in two sizes—twig for small dogs and stick for bigger dogs—and provides a safe, splinter-free alternative to real sticks.

    Zwig Dog Stick Toy

    Zwig Dog Stick Toy by WestPaw

    If your dog likes chewing toys after retrieving them, then the Zwig dog stick toy is the best of both worlds. The stick toy is hollow and lightweight, allowing it to smoothly soar through the sky, but strong enough for moderate chewers. Designed with larger dogs in mind, the Zwig toy is also veterinarian-approved and made with thermoplastic elastomers (TPE)—a sustainable, reusable, and recyclable dog toy material.

    Zisc Flying Disc

    Zisc Flying Disc for Dogs by West Paw

    West Paw's flying disc has it all: it's floppy, flexible, and lightweight, making the flier a fun toy for tossing and catching. But don't underestimate this frisbee's soft design—the flying disc is as durable as it is fun! You can even flip it over as a make-shift bowl after a long game of fetch.

     

    Until next time--

    Chopper & Otis See you Next Time