Everyone knows that dogs need plenty of regular exercise, but how many of us neglect our own fitness? There’s no reason why you can’t combine the fun of walking the dog with your own fitness routine. It will be a fun bonding exercise, and work wonders for your fitness.

Keeping a dog healthy works much the same as with a human. They need rigorous exercise in combination with a good diet, such as the BARF diet, to turn them into a lean, fit animal. This should help your dog live longer, and be more comfortable in their old age.

Obviously, there are some elements of an exercise routine that will be unsuitable for your pet. Don’t expect to be lifting weights with Fido! But basic cardiovascular exercise is a good idea.

Remember that some breeds are better at certain things than others. Greyhounds, for example, are excellent sprinters but will not do so well at long distances. Build your dog’s fitness up slowly and steadily.

Running is obviously one of the easiest forms of exercise you can do with your dog. Try interval training using things like street lamps and road signs to determine the intervals. Either walk for one interval then run for one, or if you and your dog are feeling fit you can run for one and sprint for one.

For dogs that have a lot of stamina, you could try cycling alongside them instead for long distances. This is better for larger breeds of dog, but you will still probably have to adjust your pace so as not to exhaust your pet.

Using dog toys can be good training as well. When playing fetch, throw their ball as far as you can and try racing your dog to it for good sprint training. If you have a smaller breed, or one that is not very fast, you could handicap yourself by running backwards.

Alternatively, play tug of war with your dog to engage your stomach muscles. You can buy special toys for this purpose, or just use a knotted length of rope. Again better with larger dogs, this will be good fun for your pet and great exercise for you.

Written by: Hannah