Exercising Your Dog Safely

Tell us your favorite ways to exercise with your dog!

Exercising with your dog is a great way for the two of you to be active together. Before you start, review these tips from our expert trainers to be safe and stay healthy.

Then, share with us how you like to exercise with your dog. We're collecting ideas to share with Canine Companions graduates to keep their service dogs in top shape! Fill out the form below to submit your ideas — thanks!

Tips for Exercising Safely with Your Dog

  1. Assess your dog's breed: Some breeds are better built for long periods of exercise (labs) then others (pugs). Dogs with shorter snouts can sometimes have breathing difficulties during periods of intense exercise.
  2. Assess your dog's fitness: Your dog's fitness needs to be built up just like yours! Take the time to slowly acclimate your dog to running or biking by starting with short distances and slower speeds.
  3. Take a look outside!: Dogs only sweat through their pads and tongues, so it is much harder for them to cool off when it is hot outside than it is for humans! Humid environments make this even more difficult. Try to exercise in the morning or late evening when the temp is cooler to allow your dog to safely regulate their temperature. Hot pavement can also burn your dog's feet!
  4. Watch for signs of fatigue: Your dog can't tell you when they are tired. The most common sign your dog is fatiguing is them slowing their pace or beginning to lag behind you. Keep an eye on this and allow them to rest when they need to.
  5. Watch for overheating: If your dog begins to stagger or show signs of confusion, get them into the shade immediately. Wet their belly and under their legs. Don't pour water on their heads or backs, the water can't soak through their fur fast enough to help cool them.
  6. Stay hydrated: Have water available for your dog during longer periods of exercise such as running or hiking. If you get thirsty, your dog probably will too!
  7. After exercise, check your dog's feet for blisters or cuts. Give them a once over to check for ticks or burs. Give them water, a healthy treat, and allow them to rest.

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