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Warm-up and other safety tips for exercising your dog
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Warm-up and other safety tips for exercising your dog

Safety must be a priority while exercising your dog. Here are a few signs to watch out for and tips to ensure your dog’s well-being while at play
Here are some safety tips and checks before exercising your dog that will keep excursions and adventures risk-free.  
Photo by Anantha Subramanyam K / Happiest Health

Just like us, our four-legged companions need exercise. And dogs too can get dehydrated and can overexert themselves. Some days may be too sunny or too cold for them to exercise and you need to understand that they need to be kept safe and sound while playing. There are many activities you can do with your dog and here are some safety tips and checks before exercising your dog that will keep those excursions and adventures risk-free.  

Safety tips while exercising your pooch

Warm-up and cool-down

Dogs, just like us, benefit from a warm-up and cool-down routine before and after exercising. Start with a walk before letting the dog out on runs or play and end the playtime with a slow walk. This helps prevent muscle strain. 

Keep them hydrated

Carry dog water bottles or a bowl and water for your dog, especially on sunny days. Dehydration can be dangerous. “The first thing I will notice is excessive panting. Then the nose will become extremely dry. The mucous membranes will also become dry,” says Dr Neha Menon, associate veterinarian at Supertails Bangalore. “Some dogs get very excited, they forget that they need water even when they’re exhausted. So, make sure that clean water is always available for them.”

Proper leash and harness

Use a secure leash and a well-fitted harness while exercising your dog, especially larger breeds. This prevents them from choking or slipping out of their collars. 

Lookout for overexertion

Pay attention to your dog’s behavior. If your dog seems excessively tired, panting heavily or has difficulty breathing, it’s time to take a break and cool down. “Changes such as a wavy pattern while walking or limping can be signs of overexertion,” says Dr Hitesh Bhardwaj, veterinary consultant, at Crown Vet Hospital, Bengaluru. 

Checks for a safe exercise session with your dog

Consult the vet

Regularly assess your dog’s fitness and adapt an exercise routine accordingly. Ask your vet for personalized advice, especially for large breeds that are prone to joint issues. 

Weather and exercises

In summer, avoid exercise during the afternoons. Pavements during this season get scorching hot in the sun and burn your dog’s paw pads. Test the pavement with your hand — if it’s hot for your hand, it’s too hot for your dog’s paws. ”Dogs will show signs of discomfort when they are walking on hot pavements,” says Dr Menon. 

In winter, protect your dog from hypothermia by keeping them warm using dog clothing. Keep track of the weather and plan their playtime accordingly.  

Know the terrain

When hiking or walking your dog on uneven terrain, be on the lookout for potential hazards like sharp rocks, broken glass, thorns and slippery surfaces. These can cause injuries and infections.

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