The Citizen (KZN)

Hit the road with your buddy in Active Dog Month

- Saturday Citizen reporter

Active Dog Month is celebrated in April, and what better way to get pet parents motivated to spend more time with their dogs than getting out and about.

“Dogs need as much playtime, attention and exercise as humans, perhaps even more,” says Dr Guy Fyvie from Hill’s pet nutrition.

Spending time getting your dog moving is not only great for them physically but also emotionall­y, as your dog will love this quality time.

Winter is quickly sneaking up on us and this is another reason to get your dog’s joints moving.

“Just like the colder weather can lead to stiffer and more painful joints for humans, so too does it affect our pets,” says Fyvie.

If you don’t have an exercise routine for your dog already, this is a perfect time to start.

Fyvie says if pet parents need some motivation to get out and about with their dog, Hill’s has some great ideas to try out this Active Dog Month to get them started.

If you and your dog aren’t runners, then start off slowly. Walking, hiking, and playing fetch are all great ways to introduce physical activity into their routines, and yours.

If your dog loves water, swimming is a great low-impact exercise. Supervised swimming is especially good for older dogs who often suffer with painful joints.

If your dog does have joint issues, ask your vet about feeding Hill’s Prescripti­on Diet Mobility food which is clinically proven to help improve a dog’s ability to run, walk and jump in as little as 21 days.

Setting up an obstacle course in your garden or at the park is a fun way to get your dog moving, while also providing a mental challenge. The kids will love getting involved with this, too.

Just like us, dogs can get bored with the same exercise routine, so add in new routes or challenges. Treat-dispensing balls are a great way to keep them moving and entertaine­d.

Playdates with other socialised dogs are not only good to develop social skills but also to get your dog moving and playing.

It is important to pay attention to your dog’s energy levels and any signs that they may not want to exercise or are easily tired.

A visit to your vet can help guide you if you are concerned about the kind and extent of exercise your dog should be doing.

Fyvie concluded: “By getting active this month with your dog, you will not only be focusing on their health and well-being but also bolster your bond.”

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