Woofy workouts: Power dog walking

Are you hoping to step up your dog walks so that they can turn into more of a workout for both you and your dog?

Brisk power dog walks can be a great way for you both to do more exercise, especially of the aerobic variety. The idea is that you get your dog’s heart rate elevated (and yours too!) but not to the extent that it could be dangerous if either of you is very out of shape or at risk of injury.

As they are more intense than the dog walks you’ve probably both been used to until now, you’ll need to build up to being able to do them regularly to avoid the possibilities of injury or other adverse effects.

Power dog walks - a couple walk with a Beagle on the beach

If you only have a limited window for exercising with your pet, power walking can be the perfect answer.

A 20 to 30 minute time frame is generally what you need, although half an hour gives a bit more leeway for letting your dog sniff around for the last 10 minutes, whereas 20 minutes requires a more dedicated brisk walking commitment. If you have a bigger window, there’s more opportunity for easing things off and ending with a 10-15 minute lower key walk to round things off.

With power dog walks, the aim is for your dog to trot alongside you and this’ll involve shorter strides and quicker leg turnover than with your current walks.

You should feel that you’re enjoying a brisk walk and may sweat a bit, but the speed should feel comfortable to keep it up for a while – a good 20 minutes or so for most power walks.

Your dog may pant but if you notice that they are breathing heavily, taking laboured breaths or coughing, ease up on the pace or stop completely for a while.

If your dog isn’t ready for a 20 to 30 minute brisk walk yet, aim for 10 minutes to begin with and try to build it up slowly but surely every week after that. Even a minute or two extra each week can help to step things up with endurance and stamina.

Things to consider before power dog walking

If your pet is older, overweight or has any health concerns that could make brisk walking dangerous, it’s best to speak to your vet before you attempt to build up your walking regime. They may not be suitable candidates for brisk walking and may be better with a more sedate routine for their walks.

Even if you presume your pet is healthy, getting the green light from your vet first can rule out any previously unknown health concerns that could be a problem if you change your dog’s exercise regime.

If you’re both very fit and active, why not consider running with your dog too?

More pets = more fun!

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