With nearly 40% of the population owning dogs, it’s safe to say that Aussies are canine crazy. And what’s not to love? There’s nothing better than coming home to a loyal four-legged friend who acts like it’s Christmas every time they see you.
But as much as we love our furry friends, it seems not all of us are doing right by them. Research shows that 40% of Australian dogs aren’t getting enough exercise and a similar percentage are overweight or obese. When this happens, it can lead to a range of health problems like heart disease and joint problems as well as behavioural issues like irritability.
So, why aren’t our dogs getting enough exercise? Well, some people assume that if they have a big enough backyard, they don’t need to walk them. Plus, a 10-year study in Perth found that people are less likely to walk their dogs if they’re smaller, older or apartment-dwelling. But getting them out and about is important for a number of reasons. Not only do they need the exercise, but it allows them to socialise with other animals and humans and be exposed to different sights, sounds and smells. Why do you think they’re always so excited to go ‘walkies’? They thrive on the novelty!
In case that’s not incentive enough, regularly exercising with our pets has great health benefits for humans, too. Not only is it great bonding time with our puppers, but research shows that dog owners are 34% more likely to stick to their fitness regimes. That said, exercising with your pet doesn’t have to just mean taking them for a walk. Read on for 4 creative ways you can get fit with your fur baby.
1. Hit the beach
With summer only a few months away, there’s no better time to hit the beach with your dog. There are plenty of dog-friendly beaches around Australia where you can take your furry friend for a doggie paddle, or even take them for a stand-up paddle boarding sesh!
2. Take them for brunch
Let’s be honest—the best part of any weekend workout sesh is the brunch you have afterwards. And now, you no longer have to leave your dog behind, thanks to a growing number of doggie brunches popping up across Australia! These pet-friendly cafes, like Storehouse On The Park in Sydney’s Rushcutters Bay, serve up dog-friendly treats for your pup to enjoy. It’s the perfect way to finish off a walk or run with your dog.
3. Try dog yoga
Yep, dog yoga is a thing now. At studios like Stretch Yoga in Brisbane, you can get into downward dog with your actual dog. You’ll get a workout in while your pup gets to roam around new surroundings. Double win!
4. Go for a hike
Switch up your normal ‘walkies’ route by taking your dog for a hike in one of Australia’s many pet-friendly national parks. They’ll love getting out into the great outdoors and checking out some of the local critters (just make sure they don’t get too close!)