Get Moving: It's National Canine Fitness Month!

April is National Canine Fitness Month, so today we are talking about all of the ways you and your dog can get active and enjoy the sunshine.

Did you know? According to a study done by Psychology Today, around 41% of dog owners never take their dog on a walk or give them an opportunity to get active? That’s a lot of pups that are not receiving the physical and mental stimulation they need to stay happy and healthy. Here are some tips to make sure your dog is staying active:

  1. Think about what you already love to do.

Walking, running, hiking, and swimming are great opportunities for you to let your dog tag along and get a quick workout in. If you run on a treadmill, consider running outside and letting your pup join! If you love kayaking, you can bring your dog and let him swim alongside you when there is a clear, safe stretch of water. Dogs love outdoor recreation!

  1. Take indoor activities outside.

Working from home? Consider doing some work at a dog park or in your backyard so your pup can run around a little bit. If you have kids, you can move their playtime outside and let the dog play with them too! Instead of having a meal at the dinner table, you can make it a picnic while your dog gets some energy out. It’s okay to get creative with it and knock out two things at once! :)

  1. Let them workout at home!

In the midst of a global pandemic it can be hard to get outside! However, there are plenty of ways for your pup to get some exercise at home:

    • Indoor Fetch
      • Try playing fetch down a hallway or across the largest area in your home. You can sit down and relax while rolling a ball back and forth with your dog without exuding too much energy – it could make for a surprisingly relaxing break in your day. Feel free to roll the ball, rather than throw it, so that nothing breaks!
    • Indoor Track
      • If the space in your home allows, you can find a path to run laps with your dog (safely!) Try holding their favorite toy by your side and letting them chase it while you run.
    • Build an Obstacle Course
      • You can also build an obstacle course for your dog to go through. This is a great idea for a rainy or cold day, or when you just don’t feel like going outside! Find some household objects and try setting up different obstacles – leash your pup and let her zigzag through water bottles or buckets, let them jump inside the laundry basket, or go through a cardboard-box tunnel. Our personal favorite: make two stacks of books and lay a broom on top of them. This creates a gate your dog can jump over!
  1. Walking your pup

No matter how creative you get with your dog’s fitness routine, they will always need a good walk to keep them healthy. Columbia has tons of great places for you to walk (or run) with your dog – here are some ideas if you want to explore somewhere new! There are also opportunities for fun outdoor recreation activities to do with your dog at some of the locations below:

    • University of South Carolina (UofSC) Campus
      • There are lots of sidewalks and paths throughout UofSC's campus – you can explore much more than just the Horseshoe! Try starting at the Capstone Building, walking past Thomas Cooper Library, and all the way down to the Darla Moore School of Business. This is a great, scenic path that your dog may love!
    • Riverfront Park & Historic Columbia Canal
      • This park has around 4 miles of trails to walk and lots of open space for your dog to play.
      • Link to website
    • West Columbia Riverwalk Park and Amphitheater
      • The Riverwalk in Cayce, SC has around 8 miles of paved trails to explore! They also have a picnic area if you want to have a meal outdoors to encourage your dog to get active.
    • Columbia Dog Park
      • Let your pup run it out at Columbia’s first off-leash, fenced in dog park.
      • Link to website
    • Sesquicentennial State Park
      • This State Park offers 2 acres of land for your dog to enjoy! Check out their website for hiking trails and kayak rental information.
      • Link to website


Cover Photo Credits: Anna Holman at Anna Elizabeth Photo

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