Agility Equipment, Health & Nutrition For Your Agility Dog
Keeping your dog healthy and fit is easier than you might think, and often establishing healthy goals for your furry friend helps you improve your own health as well. Here are a few health and nutrition tips that will help keep your pooch in the best shape possible.
Exercise Is Essential
While exercise is often seen as a chore to humans, dogs love it and are always up for a little fun. Some amount of daily exercise is highly recommended for just about every dog, and using dog agility equipment can be an excellent component of a canine fitness program. Consider scheduling a couple of daily walks, perhaps a morning and evening walk as well as some time with agility equipment several times per week.
You don't even have to set up a full course of agility equipment to enjoy the benefits of agility. Consider setting up a tunnel, a few fun jumps and perhaps a teeter or weaves in your backyard and just teaching these skills. Learning how to use the dog training equipment not only improves your dog's behavior, it provides an interesting form of exercise that dogs truly crave.
In addition to walks and using dog agility equipment, consider a few spontaneous activities during the week, as well. Games of hide and seek or fetch or tug are something that most dogs enjoy, and they keep your dog from becoming bored. A bored dog tends to be a bit destructive, so the more exercise and play time a dog enjoys, the less he will be inclined to chew or scratch up furniture and doors. If you aren't sure what types of exercise are best for your dog, talk to your veterinarian. For most healthy dogs, walking and using dog training equipment are perfectly good exercise options.
Food & Water
Like all creatures, food and water are essential for dogs. And just like humans, dogs love to nosh on foods that aren't quite so healthy for them. Most veterinarians recommend that a dog avoid human foods and stick with a diet that includes kibble and perhaps some canned dog food. Your veterinarian will be able to recommend several food options that will suit your dog's age and health, and it's always best to follow your vet's advice.
Still, dogs do love a good treat, and there are plenty of healthy options out there. When you start using dog agility equipment or begin obedience training, you may want to reward your pooch with a treat when a preferred behavior or skill has been achieved. Consider using very small treats, as the calories do add up. While it might not be a big deal if a human is two or three pounds overweight, just a few extra pounds on a dog can put extra stress on their legs, spine and body in general.
If you are using treats as an incentive while training or learning dog agility equipment, select the healthiest treats possible, with the fewest ingredients. Again, your vet can be a good resource for treat ideas. In addition, certain "human" foods can be a good, low-calorie option. For instance, cut up a baby carrot into bite-sized morsels and use a carrot tidbit as a reward. You also can cut up a green bean or perhaps a bit of apple or watermelon and use this as a treat. There are, of course, some foods that should always be avoided, including raisins, grapes, chocolate, avocado, macadamia nuts and any fruit with the seed still in it. Seeds can be toxic to dogs and also pose a choking hazard.
When it comes to water, some dogs are good about drinking and some tend to forget to drink water. However, all dogs need plenty of water each day. We like to keep water in several places around the house to encourage drinking. Most of us keep fresh water on hand in the kitchen, but you also can keep a bowl in the master bathroom or perhaps keep one outside, so your dog always has quick access to water. It is especially important to have water on hand during exercise, such as when using your dog agility equipment. Consider purchasing a collapsible travel water dish and keeping it close by during training or bring it along to the park if you are heading out for a long walk or a run.
Aside from good nutrition and enjoying plenty of fun exercise during walks and while using dog training equipment, your pet can maintain optimum health with regular visits to the veterinarian. In general, most veterinarians recommend that dogs have two yearly check-ups per year, especially as they begin to get a bit older. In addition, scheduling dental cleanings once or twice each year also goes a long way to keeping your pet healthy in general.
Grooming also can have an impact on overall health. For most dogs, bathing really only needs to occur about every two weeks, but brushing is something that many dogs need every day or every few days. Many dogs love this activity, too, and it can be easily accomplished as you watch TV and relax at night. Ensuring that your dog's ears are clean and healthy and that paws and pads are clean and healthy also is important. Clipping toenails is also something that needs to be done from time to time, and if you feel uncertain about doing this yourself, your vet or a local groomer can perform this service.