Spring into Exercise!


As I sit here, back aching and hands blistered from over-doing on the yard work last weekend, I am reminded of the phrase “easy does it”….. Obviously, I ignored my own advice…


So here is some advice for every pet owner –EASY DOES IT!!!  I know it’s spring, and I know everyone has spring fever and that everyone wants to get out and DO, but please remember that you and your pets have been cooped up all winter.  Muscles aren’t that ready to be put to marathon use yet!  Trust me on that!


Pets, like people, need to gradually get back into shape after the long months of being inside.  Taking Fido for a five mile run or hike after not doing anything for the past few months is a recipe for a HUGE veterinary bill.  Blown knees or elbows, strained muscles, torn ligaments, cut pads and even broken bones are what a lot of veterinarians see every spring. 


Slowly building up to what you’d like to do (play Frisbee, run, hike, etc) is the key to success.  Take Fido for a walk around the block before you start running.  If he starts out pulling you but then ends up with you pulling HIM, it’s obviously too much, too soon.


Be careful about those pads, too – Dogs’ pads can get cut very, very easily – on rocks, on sharp breaks in the pavement, etc., and for the most part they can’t get stitched (and they bleed a LOT!).  I know some places sell a product called “Tough Pad” which actually coats the pad and makes it harder to cut.  Treat the pads for about a week before trying anything like hiking.  I know they also sell leather booties but I don’t know a self-respecting dog that would every actually wear them!


And PLEASE make sure your dogs’ toenails are short!  The longer the nails are, the more a dog is forced to walk on the backs of their feet (like you would have to walk on your heels or on your wrists).  This mis-aligns the hips and shoulders, causing pain in the hips,  elbows, shoulders and back.  Make sure your dogs’ nails are cut every 5 weeks so they can be maintained at a short length.  You would be amazed at how much of a difference it makes.  And longer nails are more likely to split up the middle, causing GREAT pain.  Keep them SHORT!  Your pooch will thank you!!!


So the long and short of it is this – slow down, enjoy easing into spring.  Your shoulders, back, hands AND your dog will thank you!!!


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