2826 Shader Rd., Orlando, FL 32808

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Cross Training Ideas for Your Dog

The benefit of cross training in humans is well understood, and the same can be said for your dog. If you routinely walk or jog with your dog, here are some canine cross training activities you can do to keep your dog in top shape or help him get in better shape.

  • Swimming. The best low impact exercise out there, swimming gives your dog a full body workout that builds strength and endurance. It’s also a great exercise if your dog is recovering from an injury or surgery.
  • Playing fetch. This is a great sprint type of workout. Your dog runs at full speed to catch whatever you’ve thrown, trots back, and then rests before you throw the object again.
  • Core strengthening exercises. These are best done on an unstable surface, such as an air mattress or sofa cushion.
  • Hind leg exercises. Since dogs typically carry most of their weight and use their front end more than the rear, this is important especially as dogs age and start having problems getting up.
  • Fun sports such as agility, rally, lure coursing, and other activities if you and your dog enjoy these activities.

Mixing up your dog’s exercise activities is not only good for building strength and endurance, but it also helps provide mental stimulation as well. Cross training is beneficial for all aspects of your dog’s health and well-being; we encourage you to give it a try today.

Exercise and Arthritic Dogs

Contrary to what most people think, exercise can do wonders in helping mobilize and reduce pain in your arthritic dog. You may think that resting or limiting exercise is the right thing to do but it’s not.  It’s the lack of exercise that is the most damaging – joints become less flexible, muscle strength decreases, and joint pain and stiffness increases. Even though it may be painful to move, it’s important that an arthritic dog continues to move. That being said, when looking at exercise options for arthritis, you have to be smart and consider the type and amount of exercise.

Swimming, especially in a warm water pool is hands-down the best exercise for arthritic dogs. It is a non-weight bearing, full body workout that builds cardiovascular endurance as well as strengthening muscles. If you’re dog isn’t a candidate for swimming or you don’t have access to a pool, light walking can help strengthen muscles, and provide some benefit to the cardiovascular system. Maintaining good muscle mass is critical as it helps compensate for any structural abnormalities caused by arthritic conditions.

If you’re not certain your dog is suffering from arthritis, watch your dog.  Does he

  • walk stiffly,
  • limp or favor certain limbs,
  • show stiffness or discomfort when getting up from a lying-down position,
  • display lameness in certain limbs,
  • appear to have stiff, swollen or sore joints,
  • seem to experience pain when touched in certain areas,
  • seem to find certain positions uncomfortable or painful,
  • Suffer from a loss of flexibility in the joints, and/or
  • hesitate to jump, run or climb stairs?

If so, have your veterinarian check your dog for arthritis. Exercise has numerous unseen advantages that benefit your dog by increasing strength in the affected limb(s) and decreasing stress placed on all joints.  Additionally, it will improve joint mobility and aid in weight management resulting in increased stamina.  Exercise together with veterinary approved medical therapy, will give you and your dog the ability to enjoy more quality time together and your dog will live a happier, healthier life.

The New Baylor – A Boot Camp Success Story

Baylor, a 4 year old chocolate lab that belongs to WFTV Channel 9 anchor Vanessa Welch and her husband, WESH Channel 2 meteorologist Jason Brewer was overweight and heading toward a myriad of health problems. As part of an obesity awareness campaign by Florida Hospital and the Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando (formally the SPCA of Central Florida) WFTV decided to do a weight loss story featuring Baylor, in preparation for this Saturday’s (May 17th) Run for the Rescues. The story featured Baylor participating in our 12 week weight loss boot camp. In our boot camp dogs come twice a week, and work out in the indoor warm water pool, on treadmills, Pilates-like and other fitness equipment. Plus they spend time playing with the other dogs who are here for our day fitness programs and boot camps.

As part of the boot camp, we also look at what the dog is being fed and offer nutritional counseling to support weight loss. Once the dog’s endurance improves, we encourage the owner to become more active with their dog. This is what Vanessa has done in the last few weeks of the boot camp, she puts her oldest toddler in the jogging stroller, puts Baylor on a leash and goes out for a run. They’re up to three miles now. Prior to the boot camp, Baylor couldn’t walk a half mile. Photo of chocolate lab Baylor before and after weight loss boot camp

Take a look at the before and after photo of Baylor. His transformation is amazing! We know weight loss boot camps work, so if you want to get your four legged family member in shape, give us a call.

Dogs and Summertime Exercise

With the weather turning toward our typical summertime heat, it’s worth once again talking about exercising your dog in the summertime. Dogs can easily get heat exhaustion and they can get sunburned, some breeds more easily than others. Heat exhaustion is quite common in dogs and can happen even if your dog is simply playing in the back yard.  So you have to be careful. What can you do to keep your dog in shape during the summer while keeping him safe? Here are some suggestions.

  • Most obvious, walk your dog early in the morning or late in the day, after the sun goes down. If you choose the latter, be mindful that sidewalks may still be hot.
  • Take shorter, more frequent walks.
  • Avoid hot surfaces like asphalt. If necessary, protect your dog’s feet with dog boots.
  • Refrain from running, or exercising your dog using your bicycle.
  • When exercising, make sure you keep your dog well hydrated, and look for signs of dehydration.
  • Move indoors and use a dog treadmill to walk or run your dog.
  • Swim, swim, swim! (That being said, avoid the lakes around here during the heat of the summer.) If your dog doesn’t know how to swim, doesn’t like the water, or you don’t have access to a pool, give us a call. We can help!

If you use your common sense and look for alternative ways and times to exercise your dog, he will be able to maintain his fitness levels throughout the summer! And that will make for a happy dog and a happy you!