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K-State Veterinarian Says Dog Owners Can Make Themselves, Their Pets Healthier With Physical Activity Based on Dogs' Specific Needs, Interests
Date:9/8/2009

MANHATTAN, Kan., Sept. 8 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- People and their dogs both need physical activity to fight obesity, and there are many exercises that owner and pet can do together that can improve their health and their relationship, according to a Kansas State University expert.

Dr. Susan Nelson, K-State veterinarian and assistant professor of clinical sciences, said dogs, like people, reap many benefits from exercise. She said there are physical and mental health advantages for the dog owner and the dog when they exercise together.

"Obesity is a big problem in pets, just as it is with people, and exercising helps keep the dog's weight down," Nelson said. "Dogs also need an outlet to relieve their energy or else they may develop destructive behavior. Your dog is going to be happier and more content if it receives adequate exercise.

"Exercising with your pet also promotes the human-animal bond," she said. "People like dogs because of their unconditional love, and dogs are going to be very pleased to have their owners do something with them."

Nelson said exercise is important, but dogs differ in the amount and types of exercise they should be doing to maintain good health. A blanket recommendation for exercise time amounts can't be given as exercise needs vary vastly between individuals, and factors such as age, breed, weather and general health all influence the amounts of exercise your dog will need. Nelson said to consider these guidelines:

* In general, larger and working dogs have higher energy needs, and smaller/toy breeds need less exercise.

* Ideally, dogs should get out twice daily for exercise. Times may vary from 15-60 minutes, depending on your individual pet.

* Turning the dog loose in the backyard isn't enough -- aerobic exercise should be continuous with few breaks. Most dogs are content t
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SOURCE Kansas State University
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