Sweat with Your Pet

7 fun ways to exercise with your pooch

By: Jennifer Weaver 

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Sweat with Pets

Your furry friend just chewed through yet another pair of your running shoes. But before you enroll your pup in obedience school, consider bringing him with you on your workouts. (Discover the easiest, healthiest way to lose weight for good, even if you haven't run a step in years!)“A tired dog is a well behaved dog,” says Scott Mickelsen, DVM, manager of pet nutrition resources at Hills Pet Nutrition in Topeka, KS.

Related: Is Your Pet too Pudgy?

Just 30 minutes of exercise a day can improve your dog’s health and strengthen the pet-owner bond. Try one of these activities for an out-of-the-box experience for man and man’s best friend.

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Swimming works virtually every muscle in your body—and your dog’s. Believe it or not, certain types of dogs were born to make a splash. “Sporting breeds like the Golden or Irish Water Spaniel may enjoy the water because of their natural instincts to swim and retrieve game,” says Lisa Peterson, spokesperson for the American Kennel Club. Swimming can also help strengthen your pup’s heart and lungs.

Make it harder: Grab a ball or diving toy and toss it in, push yourself—and your pooch—to find out who will grab it first.

Video: Try this above ground workout

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Let your dog ride shotgun on the front of your board. We hear it’s like walking on water and your pup will surely enjoy the view as well as the fresh air.

Play it safe: Make sure your four-legged friend is wearing a life vest in case he heads overboard. Peterson also suggests mastering basic sitting and standing commands before hitting the board.

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You could burn up to 340 calories kayaking for an hour. Throw Fido in the cockpit and the extra weight may be just what you need to kick this workout up a notch.

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Let your canine get a little Zen during your next sequence. Programs for Doga, or dog yoga, are popping up at shelters around the country. Classes include stretching and meditation—which for dogs seem a lot like snoozing. Either way, you both will leave feeling limber and a bit more rejuvenated.

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Don’t dismiss this activity too quickly—canine musical freestyle, or dog dancing, is actually a competition. During the shows, pets and owners perform choreography to highlight their training and dance moves. If your mutt wiggles his tail to tunes, this may be the perfect sport for both of you.

Learn more: Visit the Canine Freestyle Federation for more information on how to prepare and compete.

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Hit the trail for a cross-country run with man’s best friend leading the way. This sport uses a special harness that links you to your pooch, allowing their strength to guide you along.

Pro tip: Just like us, exercises that involve running or jumping can be hard on your pet’s joints. “It’s important to make sure your dog is fully grown,” says Trish McMillan Loehr, director of applied research and behavior at ASPCA Community Outreach.

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Your dog can safely join you for a bike ride with a special leash that attaches to your seatpost. This bike attachment provides suspension through a spring system that will absorb the pull of your dog so you both have a smooth ride.

Ride smart: Start slowly and gradually work up to longer rides. Check with your vet if you have any questions regarding your pet’s ability to tag along with you, says Loehr. Learn more about the WalkyDog Bike Leash.

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