Workout Partners: Exercising With Your Dog on the Road

dog swimming in water

Are you the kind of dog owner who experiences guilt pangs when you have to leave your pooch behind for more than a couple days? Do you find yourself wishing there were a way to bring your furry friend along for the trip?

Well, why not give it a try?

Relaxed airline restrictions and dog-friendly hotels are making it easier than ever for owners to take their dogs when they hit the road for vacation or business trips. Your pet obviously benefits from being with you, but it’s a two-way street. Having Fido along gives you a ready-made workout partner and the motivation you need to maintain an exercise routine, which can be so easy to let slip when traveling. Here are a few tips to help you and your little buddy stay active and fit together.

Take a hike

One of the easiest and most enjoyable exercise options for dog and man is to hit a hiking trail and head into the woods together. If you’re comfortable hiking without a leash, make sure your pal has been microchipped and has identification tags in case he spies an insolent squirrel or rabbit that needs to be taught a lesson, and takes off into the woods. Before you go anywhere with a dog, be sure he’s up to date on vaccinations and take along adequate parasite prevention measures, especially if you’re heading where ticks, fleas, mites and countless other microscopic troublemakers abound.

Go to the park

Just about any area you’ll travel to will have a public park nearby. Check out your travel destination, identify a park that has the space and facilities you’re looking for, and find accommodations nearby. You’ll have a ready-made exercise destination every day that you and Bowser are away, a perfect spot for running, tossing the Frisbee or just hanging out together. Dog parks, on the other hand, can be dangerous. So, if you do intend to go to one, be sure to be vigilant regarding your dog’s behavior, as well as that of the other animals there. 

Go for a bike ride or run

Riding a bike with your dog trotting along at your side is one of the best ways for both of you to get an outstanding workout. If you’re unable to bring a bike along, many cities have bike rental opportunities (often for free) to take advantage of. Opt for a bike path in a natural setting rather than a bike train in an urban setting to avoid the risk of the unpredictable presence of speeding cars and inattentive pedestrians, as well as injury to your canine chum.   

Get wet

Vacation often means heading somewhere near a large body of water, be it a lake, river or the ocean. If that’s your intention and your pup loves the wet stuff, go for a swim together – you can get your laps in and let him have fun splashing around. If he’s into playing fetch, stand on the beach, toss a tennis ball or Frisbee into the waves, and watch him go after it, though beware the heads of other swimmers bobbing above the waves. Keep a close watch on your dog; some of the more adventurous pets enjoy heading for the deep water and dangerous tides and undertow (which swimmers should also be aware of). 

Your dog is a pet, but he’s also a member of the family. There’s no need to spend unnecessarily to warehouse him in a dog-boarding facility while you take off for fun and adventure. (Though, if you do, make sure it’s somewhere that a trainer is present. This will minimize the risk of altercations, and Fido may get some training while he’s there!) Instead, make careful preparations ahead of time, and there should be no problem taking him along. 

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