Walking Is More Than Great Exercise for Dogs!

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We are excited to announce a new partnership with Francisco Maia, The K9PT, Chicago’s only certified mobile canine physical therapist. Many of you may already know TheK9PT, or follow their popular social media feeds, and are familiar with their work. For others, we would like to introduce his services to our clients with the recommendation that they ask us more about how to work with Francisco when their dog is training, in daycare or boarding with K9 University Chicago.  Francisco is an influencer regarding the benefits of exercise  for dogs.

Recently we asked Francisco to share a few tips with us about the importance of exercise for dogs and why walking is more than just a way to get from here to there. Please take a few minutes to read his thoughts and advice on the wonderful benefits walking, and other exercise, provides to both you and your dog!

Daily walks are a great exercise routine for both humans and their pups. As a physical therapist treating humans, I would frequently recommend different walking protocols to improve endurance and overall health to my patients. Today, as a physical therapist with animals, I am constantly recommending a walking routine to help with rehab, improve endurance, strength, and overall health. A walking routine with your pet has innumerous benefits, including but not limited to:

Health benefits: improved endurance, stronger muscles and bones, reach/maintain healthy body weight (obesity can lead to a variety of medical issues that can shorten their lifespan)

Behavioral benefits: a very happy and tired dog!  Dogs love to check out the sights and smells and will really look forward to spending time with you. A dog that doesn’t receive sufficient exercise can easily become bored or destructive at home.  A walk can also help your pet to feel more relaxed rather than restless at bedtime.

Bonding benefits: Barking and whining are just signs that your pet wants some attention from you. Regular activities, like walks, improve your bond with your dog and provide them the attention they seek as they follow you.

Social benefits: If you have a timid or fearful pet, regular walks can help build confidence and trust. You will likely be exposing your pet to other humans and animals alike, and with you there for comfort your pet can learn to be comfortable around them.

We all have a busy life trying to balance work with our desire to spend 24 hours a day with our pup.  Not to mention that with winter approaching, some of us would rather not have to spend much time outside. That is when a place like K9 University Chicago becomes a lifesaver!

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At K9 University Chicago your pup can get a lot of playtime, either with you using their indoor park or during their daycare and training services. They also have canine treadmills and will make sure that your high-energy pup will get plenty of exercise. Their pick-up/drop-off options also come in hand for busy owners, and they will even transport and exercise your dog on Tuesdays and Wednesdays as part of their K9U Chicago Swim Camp at Doggy Paddle!

So, how often or how long should you walk/exercise your dog?  Most dogs need to be walked at least once each day, though some dogs, particularly very active dogs, may require more.  Breed, level of fitness, and age also need to be taken into account when determining how long and how vigorous your walk should be.  Generally speaking, I recommend a total of at least 30-45 minutes a day, which can be accumulated between multiple walks.

About TheK9PT: Francisco Maia (Doctor of Physical Therapy and Certified Canine Rehabilitation Therapist) provides canine rehabilitation from the convenience of your home in the Chicago area.  His goal is to help pets live a longer and healthier life, while making it convenient and accessible for all pet owners.  He sees a variety of patients, but absolutely loves the improvement in quality of life that he can bring to older patients.  For more information, visit us at www.thek9pt.com.