Many of us here at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital have been training hard for AWL’s upcoming Paws and Claws 5k. While running is an essential part of training for any race, there are other things that we can do to help prepare. Cross training is defined as any activity other than the one an athlete plans to compete in that helps to improve performance. Plus, while running with your dog can be fun, adding other activities will prevent boredom and keep you and your dog motivated.
Swimming is an excellent way to get a good work out. It is easier on the joints of both humans and pets then running. Many dogs enjoy swimming, but keep in mind not all dogs know how to swim. Some breeds, like basset hounds, bulldogs and pugs do not have a body confirmation that predisposes them to excel in the water. Some dogs need to be taught how to swim. Never leave a dog unattended around water. And, as always, provide fresh water at all times.
Hiking can be a lot of fun, especially with our furry friends. We are fortunate that the Frederick Maryland area has many places to go for a hike. Sugarloaf Mountain, Gambrill State Park, Cunningham Falls State Park, Greenbrier State Park, Gathland State Park, and the Appalachian Trail are just a few. Remember to check with each park for any dog related rules before setting out on your adventure.
Playing fetch or Frisbee with your dog is great exercise for him. It allows him to run and play. Again, always provide plenty of water and watch for signs that your dog may need to take a rest. Consider the temperature and limit play during very hot times of the day.
Dog parks can be great fun for dogs and allows the space for off leash exercise. It allows them to run in a fenced area while providing them with the opportunity for socialization. Before taking your dog to any dog park, it is important to check with your veterinarian that your dog is current on all vaccinations (including bordetella). They have the chance to be nose to nose with a variety of other dogs whose vaccine history is unknown. Also, never leave your pet unattended.