Getting Physical with Your Pet
There are plenty of excellent reasons to get a dog and among the companionship, cute photos, and responsibility, owning a fur baby can improve your health. Studies have shown that dogs help lower blood pressure and cholesterol, reduce depression, stress, and anxiety; and even motivate you to exercise and help lose weight. A dog may, in reality, be your greatest workout partner.
Working out with your dog, however, is not limited to walks around the neighborhood. There are so many great ways to get active with your pup!
Swimming is a great all-in-one workout that is especially beneficial for people or dogs with arthritis. Swimming is easy on the joints due to it being a low-impact sport. It works for various muscle groups, improves endurance, and strengthens the heart and lungs. Not all dogs love swimming, so start slow. Once they get adjusted, it’s a refreshing and fun way to break a sweat.
A classic canine workout, frisbee can be a relaxed game at home, or your dog can join a “disc dog” team and participate in competitions. Frisbee is a fun way to get your dog outdoors and also train them on coordination.
If you live or vacation in an area that offers hiking opportunities, you’ve got one lucky dog. Dogs love to hike and be introduced to new scents and engage with other animals. You’ll need to keep a brisk enough pace to elevate your heart rate. Be aware of protecting your dog with flea and tick prevention and a Lyme vaccine if you are in an area where those bugs are prominent. The views and both uphill and downhill walking make hiking with your dog a fantastic workout.
Downward-dog just got a makeover. Doga incorporates your pet into Hatha yoga poses, for example, you recline in a comfortable pose with your legs bent over your dog’s torso. Classes are popping up all over the country, but while hiking and swimming up your dog’s heart rate, doga does not. Instead, doga is more for strengthening the bond between pet and owner and aiding in the relaxation of your pup.
While most people may be wary of taking their dog rollerblading out of fear of injury, when done safely and correctly, rollerblading is an excellent dog workout. It helps teach your dog discipline in staying by your side and not pulling the lease while also increasing their heart rate more so than walking or hiking does. Rollerblading keeps a more normalized pace than running, adding consistency to the workout.
Visit a Dog Park:
More of a workout for your dog than yourself, a dog park is still a great option. Taking your dog to the dog park can be as little or as challenging activity wise as you want. You can run with your dog or play fetch/frisbee or just let your dog run around and socialize with the other dogs. Dog parks not only helps keep your dog active but aids in their ability to be around other people and other dogs.
Local Dog Parks:
NOLA City Bark: The roomiest off the off the leash dog parks, City Bark is located in the heart of City Park and spans nearly five acres. The park opened in 2010 and features separate play areas for small and big dogs, water fountains, a walking trail, and even a dog washing station. There are, however, guidelines for gaining access such as applying for a permit, an annual registration fee and having your dog be up to date on vaccination, as well as being spayed or neutered.
Wisner Dog Run: Smaller than City Bark, but still off-lease, Wisner Dog Run offers about 8,500 square feet and opened in last 2013. It takes up part of the existing playground at the park off Laurel Street between Lyons and Upperline and provides benches, water fountains, and fairway-like dirt run for the dogs.
Crescent Park Dog Run: With its opening in 2014 along the Mississippi River bank in the Bywater, Crescent Park Dog run is a 1.4 mile, 20-acres spot at Crescent Park. There is a short dog run on the park’s eastern side and is off-lease.
The Levee: While not a traditional dog park, the levee is an open park close to lots of river road traffic and the railroad track, but is one of the most scenic places to take your furry friend. Located along the Mississippi River, dogs are free to roam and interact with the most amount of people. The Levee also provides the most space for various workouts with your dog. The Levee is a must for dogs and owners alike.