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become victim to the “winter five” and he will exert enough physical energy to help him have a stress-free day of hanging out alone if you need to go to the office. If you’re not a runner but you want your dog to have that opportunity, not to worry. There are plenty of off-leash parks both indoors and outdoors in Seattle and across the bridge to the eastside. Your dog can engage in cardio exercise on his own or with other dogs. However, not everyone is a runner, nor do you need to be for your dog to be able to run with the wind. Another option is to hire a dog-runner to take your dog out for you.

MUSCULAR STRENGTH TRAINING. Strength training is equally important to your pup as it is to us humans. Strong muscles help build strong bones, help to support ligaments and tendons, and help us to sustain the activities of daily living. According to FitPAWS (fitpawsusa.com) adding strength training to your dog’s regular routine can increase balance, stamina, and increase range of motion in their joints. FitPAWS is a company that specializes in gym-like equipment for dogs. They have a variety of equipment to choose from based on whether your dog is a working dog, a show dog, or the family pet. You might be familiar with the Bosu ball used to increase strength, balance, and coordination. Believe it or not, there are Bosu balls for dogs, too. If you’ve never tried to use one but you’ve maybe seen someone use one, it’s not as easy as it looks, trust me. I’ve needed to use one many times after an injury. However, had I used one to strengthen my lower body and my core, I probably would not have been in the physical therapist’s office to begin with. The same goes for our dogs. FitPAWS has a variety of types of balancing balls for dogs of all sizes and types.

There is the half ball to balance using either their front legs or their back legs. Then there is the longer rubber balancing “balls” that are shaped more like a large bone. These are in various sizes depending on the size of the dog. They are meant for your dog to stand on it on all four legs. Talk about strengthening their core muscles! I don’t think I would even be able to do that. And then, there are individual balancing balls, one under each paw. Each of these items are beneficial for any dog but especially for those with a propensity for hip issues. Speaking from experience, a strong core helps to alleviate some of the stress on weaker areas of your body. There is also what is called stacking in physical training. Just like it sounds, you are adding on to each level of activity. For example, you might start your dog with one leg on a balance ball, then add the second leg. You might also try individual paw pads to help with strength, balance, and “limb awareness.” There is also a variety of agility equipment if you and your dog are so inclined. One of the great features of all the various types of equipment is that they don’t take up very much room and the prices are reasonable. Perhaps your dog is already at a stage whether due to age or injury or genetic makeup that weight bearing activities should be kept to a minimum. The perfect solution is swimming! Yes, even in winter. I recently had the opportunity to take my Great Dane/English Pointer to her first swimming lesson at K9 Aquatics (k9aquatics.com) on the Sammamish Plateau. Besides doing research for this article, I want to be proactive in her care now so we’re both familiar down the road should we need to be. Plus, it’s a fantastic exercise for her to enjoy now. The combination of the warm water and the non-weightWinter 2018 • 33

CityDog Magazine Winter 2018 Issue  

Smart, city-savvy and fun, CityDog Magazine brings the joys of life with our four-legged friends to dog lovers throughout the Pacific Northw...

CityDog Magazine Winter 2018 Issue  

Smart, city-savvy and fun, CityDog Magazine brings the joys of life with our four-legged friends to dog lovers throughout the Pacific Northw...

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