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How to care for a dog athlete (not only in winter)

author Lucy Byrne | Sport a cestování

Doing sports with a dog is a great way to spend time together and keep you both in shape. Even if you only do recreation sports with your dog and don't compete, you should always think about your dog's health first and then about results. 

Let's start with nutrition. It's clear that a physically active dog needs high-quality food. Unlike regular kibble, its food should have a special ration of nutrients, as they need more energy and protein. You should therefore choose food with the labels sport, endurance, energy or maintenance. The ingredients in this food are put together especially for physically active dogs. 

You also need to tailor your dog's exercise regime. Warm him up before intense exercise. Do not forget to take regular breaks during exercise, and finish with light running or walking. You also need to remember to rest between individual exercises either with a quiet walk or undisturbed sleep.

Training should also be regular; one-off exercise (just on the weekend) would be hard on your dog's body, and could even cause muscle fever. On the other hand, he shouldn't overexert himself; you should avoid doing the same exercise for too long. I have written more about this in the article When excessive exercise is harmful to a dog. 

So if you don't have time for full training, keep your dog in shape by running together, he can accompany you during a bike ride, or you can do balance exercises or swim with dogs. 

It is clear that not only a dog's joints but also his bones, ligaments and tendons are under strain. We need to remember this and give them extra nutrition in the form of balanced nutritional supplements. Vitamins, minerals and amino acids help slow down cartilage degeneration and strengthen ligaments and tendons. They also improve mobility and reduce joint pain. 

In addition to nutritional supplements, salmon oil or brewer's yeast are also great for dogs. Salmon oil not only contributes to a healthy joint and musculoskeletal system, it also promotes a healthy heart and blood circulation and has an anti-inflammatory effect. Brewer's yeast promotes metabolism, has a beneficial effect on digestion, improves resistance to stress and disease and is also a source of energy under stress.

We can also help the musculoskeletal system through regeneration. Massages are very beneficial. In the event of problems, the Dorn method or physiotherapy can help.

How do you and your dog stay fit during the winter?