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19 May Best exercise equipment for dogs

Walking has always been the go-to exercise for dog owners, but in recent years there has been an increase in the creation and purchase of exercise equipment made specifically for dogs.  But how useful is this equipment and can it benefit your dog’s daily activity?

Dog treadmills

Dog treadmills are growing in popularity as they can be used to compliment the exercise of high energy dogs such as Huskies or Border Collies.  They can also be a useful tool when it comes to exercising your dog during the winter months when it can be difficult to get outside.  The machine is specially designed to accommodate the way a dog moves, and as it takes more concentration than a normal walk it is working their brain as well.

As well as the benefits of building muscle tone and increasing cardiovascular health, this piece of exercise equipment can be used to help dogs in rehabilitation.  You can set the pace depending on their mobility and slowly increase it in a controlled and measured way as their strength builds. Whilst a treadmill should not be used as a substitute for the fresh air and exciting smells of a daily walk, it can be a useful addition.  Especially when used with a dog activity monitor like PitPat as you can easily make sure they are hitting their exercise goal without overdoing it.

It is worth remembering however, that every dog is different, and this way of walking may not be right for them.  So make sure to consult with your vet before introducing something like this into their daily routine.

Agility equipment

Agility is a sport for dogs that involves them navigating obstacles as quickly as possible with no food or toys being used for encouragement.  The dog owner simply uses voice and hand signals to communicate what they need to do for each part of the course.  It is a wonderful way to bond with your dog, it can boost their confidence and it encourages them to socialise with other dogs as well.

You don’t need to take part in this sport competitively to reap the benefits though.  There are plenty of agility starter kits available for you to use at home.  They usually include some of the key items needed for agility training such as:

  • Weave poles
  • An open tunnel
  • Jump hoop
  • See-saws
  • Hurdles

Of course if you can’t get hold of this type of equipment, you can always get creative and make your own course for your pooch to try.

Balance discs

A balance disc is an inflatable round cushion which creates an unstable surface for your dog to stand on.  The unstable surface engages your dog’s core muscles, increasing their core strength over time.

For dogs core strength can help decrease the chance of spinal pain, soft tissue injuries and injuries that can occur due to osteoarthritis.  Due to the way core strength can help prevent injury, adding this type of training into your dog’s daily activity can be really beneficial for every life stage.

Flirt poles

A flirt pole is an elasticated piece of rope with a lure on the end which is attached to a handle so you are able to encourage your dog to chase the lure.  While this might seem like an oversized cat toy, flirt poles can be a great source of exercise for your dog.

A short game can be a great cardio workout that conditions muscles, improves strength and is mentally stimulating as well.  It can also be used as a training tool, helping your dog to respond to commands like leave, wait, release and stay.

While flirt poles can be a lot of fun they do provide exercise that is higher in intensity, so it is not suitable for dogs with joint issues and should always be used on a soft surface like grass.

Automatic ball launchers

Fetch used to be using your arm to throw a ball for your best pal to catch.  Then ball throwers were created so we could throw further and harder.  Now there are automatic ball launchers which enable your dog to play fetch by themselves!

There are lots of different options available, but most of them allow you to set a launching distance, add a ball, and watch as the ball is launched from the device and your dog chases after it to their heart’s content.  The best thing is the ball can easily and safely be placed back into the device by the dog, so they can continue to play as long as they like.

Fetch is great for your dog’s physique and an automatic ball launcher adds an element of surprise that will help keep them alert as well as active.  It could also be a great choice if you have limited time or mobility, as your dog will get all the benefits of fetch even if you are unable to play yourself.

Weighted vests

Some breeds of dog need more exercise than others and will naturally benefit from more challenging exercise.  A weighted vest can be used to help with this, adding resistance to their normal activity helping to build muscle tone as well as increasing strength and agility.

While there are definite benefits to be had it is worth mentioning that these vests do need to be used responsibly.  They should not be placed on a dog who is aged two or under and extra care  should be taken when using them in warm weather as they may cause your dog to overheat.

We would definitely recommend consulting with your vet prior to using a weight vest, so you can make sure that you are using it in a way that will aid rather than hinder or harm your dog.

So as you can see a dog’s exercise can be varied as a human’s and there are plenty of different options when it comes to using equipment to help increase your dog’s fitness.

Of course a great companion to all of these is PitPat, which by tracking exercise, calories, distance and more, will give you all the information you need to create and maintain the perfect level of activity and exercise for your dog.

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