14 Workouts You Can Do With Your Pet and Other Animals
Just like humans need exercise to maintain their health, so do animals. Fortunately, getting fit together is a new trend, with classes popping up in everything from goat yoga to puppy paddleboarding -- plus some workouts to do with your own pet. When bringing your pet into the mix, make sure current vaccinations are up to date and that she’s physically up for the challenge. Also, remember these hot weather pet safety tips for working out in the dog days of summer.
Leash Your Fitness owner Dawn Celapino started her canine fitness program in 2009 in San Diego shortly after she adopted her Cairn Terrier, Jack. There are daily fitness classes and monthly activities such as kayaking, hiking, and yoga. Celapino attempted to set a World Record for largest Dog Yoga Class with more than 255 dogs. Want to learn how to set up a pet fitness class in your area? Celapino will be happy to discuss.
According to this yoga practice, doga is supposed to help support the natural bond owners have with their dogs. Mahny Djahanguiri founded her Notting Hill, London, doga practice to combine her love of animals with her daily yoga practice. All dogs taking the class must be social, vaccinated, and neutered.
At first glance, paddleboarding may seem like it is not as intense a workout, but stand up paddleboarding (or “SUP”) is a great way to get fit. SUP can increase your focus and balance while using almost every muscle group. Wondering how to share that board with your canine buddy? Instructional step-by-step guides show how to properly introduce Fido to the sport while also providing adequate protection for your pooch, including a life jacket and “doggles” — doggie goggles.
Cats aren’t known for their ability to follow orders, so it may seem unusual to have a workout with your cat. However, Shorty, Kodi, and their owner Robert W. Moore will show you just how to get the most out of a feline workout. These Youtube stars even have a book entitled, “How To Exercise Your Human” written from the cats’ point of view.
OmKai Yoga and Bounce Animal Rescue in Fort Collins, Colo., teamed up to give people a chance to mingle with adoptable puppies while getting a yoga workout. While the puppies don’t get much of a workout as they wander freely around the studio, they do benefit — several puppies are adopted after each session.
For building upper body strength and working your back and your core, kayaking is a great overall workout. So why not bring your pooch? Some breeds are naturally inclined to jump in the water, others not so much. Start by introducing Fido to a calm ride in a lake instead of diving into rough ocean chop. Make sure your pooch is properly fitted with a lifejacket like the Frisco Dog Life Jacket from Chewy.com. Proper precautions will make the experience fun and safe for you and your pet.
Want an outdoorsy experience while working out? Join Alpaca Yoga in Marquam, Ore. to do yoga while cute and cuddly alpacas wander nearby. After stretching, class attendees can feed the alpacas and have some local wine, or take a gander at the Alpaca sweaters inside the Ranch’s shop.
Taking your dog for a run is a great way for you both to shed pounds and keep in good cardio shape. If your dog isn’t used to running, start with a five to ten minute run and walk the remainder of the way. Also remember that you’re not the only one who needs to remain hydrated. Carry a Good2Go Take Out Collapsible Pet Travel Bowl (around $10 or less at Petco) so you both keep cool.
There are nationwide races that you can enter that will happily include your dog. REI, Runner’s World, and Active all offer lists of canine-friendly races for everyone from beginners to experienced runners. Just remember dogs get overheated quickly, so let your dog stop during the race to lap up some water. Most importantly, check in with your vet to make sure Fido has a clean bill of health before tackling that marathon.
Playing chase with your dog and a Frisbee is a fantastic way for you and your dog to get into shape and bond. Rather than simply throwing the Frisbee and waiting for your dog to bring it back to you, immediately after tossing the disc, run after your dog. Chewy.com has a Tail-Spin Flyer for $5.49 that’s soft on a dog’s gums and also doubles as a water dish.
For those who live in areas where the weather gets cold enough, cross country skiing could be just the right exercise routine for including a pet. An increasing number of ski centers are designating portions of their trails for skiers with dogs. When introduce a pet to the climate, make sure they’re warm enough and have ample stops for hydration.
Goat yoga participants have mentioned issues with goats urinating on their mats, having to sidestep goat “nuggets,” and goats ramming them while they’re in warrior pose. Still, goat yoga has a benefit over dog or cat yoga for folks who may be allergic to more common pets. Besides, what better way to get your vinyasa flow going than with a goat cuddle?
Rollerblading burns up to 700 calories per hour, and can sculpt thighs quickly and effectively. It’s also a fast sport, so consider how a dog on a leash might hinder your workout and possibly hurt your pooch. It’s best to get a pulling harness ($9 on Amazon). Inline Skates suggests ways to get your dog acclimated to the rollerblades, too. As always, bring plenty of water for you and your buddy.
Learn about abandoned animals while helping to raise funds for Bandaids for Bunnies, a bunny shelter in Richmond, British Columbia. Sunberry Fitness bunny yoga participants learn about the rabbit overpopulation crisis currently affecting Richmond County. Unfortunately, the classes have been put on-hold for the summer due to a viral outbreak. New classes will start in the fall, so get hopping.
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