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The Importance of Warming Up Your Dog Before Exercise

Woman running with her dogDo you and your dog like to work out together? Go for a jog, or a brisk walk together? If you do, that’s great for both of you, but remember that both of you need to warm up prior to kicking it into high gear. The benefits of warming up prior to exercise are clear. It

  • increases blood flow to the muscles and heart, reducing muscle and cardiac injuries,
  • makes your dog’s muscles more supple and increases the elasticity of the ligaments,
  • lets the body know its cardiovascular system will be working harder and will need greater oxygen intake, and
  • gradually increases your dog’s heart rate before exercise.

A warm up exercise can be as simple as walking at a slower pace before your jog, or it can involve a series of exercises, like sit-to-stands, clockwise and counter clockwise turns, and weaves between your legs. How long should the warm up be? It depends on your dog, but usually 5 to 10 minutes is enough.

And don’t forget the cool-down after your exercise, it’s just as important as the warm-up. Just like with the warm up, walk at a slower pace for 5 to 10 minutes. Cooling down will allow your dog’s heart rate and oxygen intake to gradually return to normal, and will reduce post-exercise stiffness and soreness by helping with the removal of lactic acids.

Just like with humans, keeping your dog in shape requires the right type and amount of exercise, including proper warming up and cooling down. Do this for your dog and your 4-legged best friend will be at your side for a long time to come!