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Boxer jumping

Do I need to warm my dog up before exercise?

14 Apr, 2016

Even though your dog may not be a world agility champion, do they need to warm up before going to the dog park?

Quite simply, warm up prevents muscle injury and soreness by:

  • Gently preparing the dog’s muscles for action.
  • Increasing circulation to deliver oxygen and nutrients to the muscles so they can perform.

A warm up can also include gently stretching the large muscle groups, to lengthen muscle fibres and get them ready for exercise.

A good warm up routine may be:

  • 5 – 10 minutes alternating between a walk and trot.
  • Include some change of directions, to warm up the large muscles of the abdomen and thorax.
  • Exercises to warm up specific muscles your dog will use in their “performance”. If you dog will be running hard, then perhaps warm up the muscles around the hips or if they will be playing with other dogs, warm up muscles through abdomen, shoulders and chest also.

A good warm up routine becomes particularly important as the weather cools down and our dogs’ are coming from warm places into the cool to exercise.

A cool down routine is also important. Spend 5 – 10 minutes allowing your dog’s muscles to cool by keeping your dog moving at a walk. A cool down maintains circulation to remove metabolic waste from the muscles and prevent stiffness.

For more tips on preventing muscle injury, please contact me or leave me a comment .

Until next time, enjoy your dogs.