September 10, 2009

Exercise benefits humans and dogs

People and their dogs need physical activity to fight obesity, a U.S. veterinarian said.

However, Dr. Susan Nelson of Kansas State University in Manhattan said there are many benefits besides weight loss when humans and dogs exercise together.

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

Exercise benefits mental health for both. Nelson said dogs need an energy outlet and dogs receiving adequate exercise will be happier, more content and less likely to develop destructive behavior. Ideally, dog and owner should get out twice daily for exercise.

Medium and large dogs typically make better long-distance running partners. If your dog can run longer than you are able, you may want to consider biking while having your dog run beside you on leash, Nelson said.

Pay careful attention to safety if you choose this option. Smaller dogs are better suited for shorter distance running or walking.