Pet Archives - K9 Fit Club

September 9, 2013

the-newest-trend-in-healthDog Fitness and Dog and Person Fitness is on the rise and becoming the newest trend. It seems every day, another business or person unleashes a new class or decides to offer a person and pooch fitness class.

Since K9 Fit Club isn’t everywhere (just yet), and dog fitness programs and classes generally aren’t regulated (although we are working on it), it’s up to you to do your research and make sure the program you consider follows certain standards.

K9 Fit Club offers the following suggestions to consider before you and Fido sign up for just any program.

Training and Credentials – Trainers should have experience and training in the services they are offering. All K9 Fit Club trainers are Certified Personal Trainers and K9 Fit Club Certified. All dog trainers and dog wranglers are also certified in Positive Dog Training Certification and K9 Fit Club Certified. K9 Fit Club offers a list of their credentials and affiliations within each facility.

Veterinary Emergencies – “It is also important that the fitness facility have qualified staff that has some experience in veterinary care,” says Tricia Montgomery, Founder & President at K9 Fit Club. “Always ask what their staff qualifications are, and make sure they have a veterinarian who can attend to emergencies or situations that might arise.” Each K9 Fit Club has a veterinarian on consult, along with an affiliation with a veterinarian who can be called for after-hours emergencies if when needed.

Programs Offered: The program or facility should be able to tailor programs for not only a person’s needs but a dog’s age, breed, weight range and additional health-related issues. Make sure the exercises and programs are fundamentally sound. From Begging for Beginner to Bow Wow Bootcamp, K9 Fit Club offers a wide range of programs for both novice and advanced.

Equipment: Equipment used within classes and programs are equally as important to the classes themselves. Is the equipment used specific for dogs and people? Is the equipment safe for both? Since dogs are different from humans, is the equipment used specific for a dog’s needs. Just like humans, the ability to maintain endurance, balance and engage core muscles for strength is important. “Dogs need products that were designed for the way they move, think and learn,” adds Krista Wickens CEO of DogTread Canine Fitness Equipment, “to ensure proper movement and form is maintained during exercise.” K9 Fit Club has partnered with FitPaws/FitBall and DogTread to provide all participants, both two legs and four, with a great and safe workout!

Assessments, Evaluations & Healthy to Participate: Does the program offer an assessment and an evaluation for the newbies? Are there special classes designed for the new participants to learn the basic fitness moves and obedience commands? Does the program require a veterinary standard or Healthy to Participate form? K9 Fit Club offers both, a Healthy to Participate and Assessments/Evaluations prior to participation in any class. K9 Fit Club additionally offers a Begging for Beginner Workout and an Intro to K9 Fit Club class providing any participant a great, safe workout.

Ratio of Instructors and Dog/Owner per Class: Safety for dog, owner, participants and instructors is a big concern for any class involving both dogs and people. To ensure a safe, effective and most of all FUN workout for all participants, evaluate the number of instructors per class, per the number of dog and owner teams. Can the staff designate and handle an aggressive or fearful dog? Are there enough instructors in the class to properly monitor the number of participants within the class? At K9 Fit Club, our classes are limited to 8-10 participants per class, with a minimum of 2 instructors, CPT and Trainer/Wrangler, both certified in K9 Fit Club Certification.

 

Programs for Disability: Is the program you and your pooch considering for the buff of the buff or the six-pack crowd? Is there an entrance for the seniors of disabled? Are their programs tailored for anyone? Although K9 Fit Club is dedicated to health, fitness and wellness, most of all, we leave no one behind. Whether a Sit & Be Fit or Waggin’ Wheelchair, K9 Fit Club has a program designed for you.

Accidents & Procedures: Make sure the program offered is up to date on certifications. Additionally, make sure they have an emergency plan to deal with whatever may happen. No one wants to think about, or plan for the worst. However, when it does occur, having plans in place can make the difference in any life or death situations.

Facility – Cleanliness is next to Godliness!:) The facility should be clean, welcoming and designed with your both dog and person in mind. Evaluate how each dog and owner enters and is greeted. The area should be secure to prevent canine escapes, should a dog become off leash. The facility should maintain liability insurance. K9 Fit Club maintains veterinary approved AVMA, AAHA and OSHA standards for each club.

As with any aspect of your dog’s health, you should consult with your veterinarian before you and your dog engage in a new fitness routine.

K9 Fit Club is growing a Nationwide Community of Clubs dedicated to the Health, Fitness and Wellness of both dog and owner. Changing Lives One Dog at a Time™.

Tricia

Tricia Montgomery
Founder & President, K9 Fit Club

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September 5, 2013

dog-at-parkDogs are naturally social animals that benefit greatly from the opportunity to interact and romp with fellow canines. To meet this need, especially in urban areas, going to the dog park has become a regular activity for many dog owners. Here are some tips for keeping these outings enjoyable for everyone.

DO be selective of the dog parks you use. Dr. Kandi Norrell, a primary care veterinarian at the University of Illinois Veterinary Teaching Hospital in Urbana, recommends “Choose a park that requires a membership.” To join such parks, owners must supply proof of vaccinations such as rabies and distemper. Dr. Norrell also suggests using “a park that is gated, has separate large and small dog areas, and has some form of shelter like trees or other shade.”

DON’T let your small dog play with the big dogs. “Even if you know your little dog is comfortable around large dogs, you can’t know how all the large dogs will be with small dogs,” cautions Dr. Norrell. “There may be a larger dog with a high prey drive that will go after a little dog.” There is no guarantee how well-trained or aggressive the other dogs may be.

DO keep your dog’s health in mind. Dr. Norrell notes: “Make sure your dog’s vaccinations are current, though not all vaccinations are 100 percent effective.” Even if your dog is up-to-date on vaccinations, it is still a good idea to take precautions, for example, not letting it drink from communal water sources. Also, to protect other dogs, do not bring yours to the park if they are coughing, vomiting, or having diarrhea.

DON’T bring puppies to the park until at least two weeks after their final set of puppy vaccinations. Dr. Norrell explains, “It takes at least two weeks for puppies to reach full immunity after the final puppy vaccinations at 16 weeks of age, though peak socialization for puppies occurs at 9 weeks old.” Rather than risk your puppy contracting parvovirus, viral enteritis, or an-other disease at the park, socialize younger pups in a more controlled set-ting, such as a puppy training class.

Dog Park_2009-02-28_IMG_2421.JPG
(Photo credit: Jim’s Photos1)

DO constantly supervise your dog, from the time you leave your car to the time you return to it. Dr. Norrell says, “Keep your dog on a leash between the park and the car. Many people assume that their dog will run from the park right into the car, just like at home, but that is how many dogs are lost.” When you first arrive at the park, keep your dog on the leash until you assess the atmosphere inside the park. “If there is an aggressive dog,” points out Dr. Norrell, “just come back another day.” Once your dog is offleash, always watch so you know what she is doing, where she is, and that she is not getting overheated.

DON’T ignore body language. If the ears are pinned, the tail is between the legs, or the hair on the back is raised, aggressive behavior could soon follow. Once a fight has broken out, it is difficult to safely separate fighting dogs, explains Dr. Norrell, especially if neither pet is leashed. People attempting to separate them are frequently injured. Safer options for separating fighting dogs include spraying them with water, distraction (although difficult) such as with loud noises (pennies shaken in a can), or snaring one or both dogs with a leash while keeping a safe distance, which is difficult without professional help and a rabies pole (a special leash used by animal control to safely leash an aggressive dog).

DO have a good time! Dog parks offer many benefits like socialization and a good place for dogs to exercise, though it is important to always keep safety in mind.

If you have any questions on safe dog park practices, contact your local veterinarian.

Anne Rivas
Information Specialist
University of Illinois, College of Veterinary Medicine

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August 14, 2013

You know it’s good for you. You know that exercise can give you energy, help you maintain a healthy weight, keep your muscles and joints flexible, help you live longer, and above all, make you feel better.

IMG_5416If you and your dog are getting a little more “pooch”, you’re not getting enough exercise–but neither are they. Simply walking the dog more often than only once a day can add a significant calorie debt to your balance sheet. Better yet, fit dogs, like people, tend to have fewer reasons to go to the doctor, less chance of cancers, and less risk of joint ailments.

Not only can exercise extend your furry friends’ lives; it may also expend some of their nervous energy and make them a little less likely to chew on the living room drapes.

The thing is, nobody’s filled pets in on all of these benefits of exercise! Without someone to lead the way, they’re not going to run laps or do leg lifts in their spare time.

So as a wonderful pet parent, part of your job is ensuring all your family members get safe, enjoyable exercise on a regular basis–whether they’re children, dogs, cats or ferrets! All pets need some physical activity to live a happy, healthy life.

Different dogs need different amounts of exercise, so you’ll want to talk to your veterinarian before starting your pet’s workout program. With a proper assessment, you can embark on an exercise program that won’t seem like work at all–to your best friend, its play.

Getting in shape is a win-win for everyone, not just in terms of losing weight, but making a commitment to do exercise together

DOGS – THEY GET US MOVING!

IMG_5342You don’t want to hit the ground running with your pooch, though. Just as with any animal–or person–you’ll want a veterinary assessment before you start your dog’s fitness routine. With this assessment, you can discuss plans and ensure your dog has a clean bill of health.

Just remember, like people who aren’t used to exercise, dogs should start off slow. And as we say at K9 Fit Club, a little bit of something is better than a whole bunch of nothing!

 

Moderately paced walking and swimming are a good way to start—both people and pooch athletes build their cardiovascular and muscle strength without putting undue stress on their joints.

A 15-minute walk in the morning and evening, combined with an appropriate diet, can be meaningful. As you and your pet get stronger, you can graduate to longer walks on the weekend, hiking, biking, and even running.

Once he’s adapted to the exercise, you and your dog can run and walk to your heart’s content, if you take a few precautions.

  • Keep a close eye on your dog: watch for any unusual signs of fatigue or trouble breathing.
  • If your pup wants to stop, let him.
  • Dogs that overdo it can suffer strained tendons or ligaments or other orthopedic problems.
  • Don’t expect your fuzzy buddy to be a weekend warrior, even if you only get exercise on the weekends yourself.
  • After a long week without exercise, your dog may be ready to get out and burn off energy. But because of their enthusiasm, many of the popular breeds, such as Labrador and golden retrievers, will overdo it.
  • Safety first—leashes are a plus or a must when you run.

Even the best-trained dogs can run into the path of a car or a territorial animal. And if you have to run when it’s dark out, put reflectors on your dog’s collar as well as on your clothes. Concrete and asphalt are tough on the paws, especially on hot days. Try to run on dirt paths or grass as much as possible. Gravel, cinders, and road salt can also irritate paws.

Take it easy in extreme weather. If it’s freezing cold or hot and steamy out, either keep your run short or play a little indoor fetch instead. The more active your dog is, the more water he’ll need. Make sure he has plenty of fresh water before and after your run. If you’re going for a long run, take some water along for him.

IMG_5367If your dog is getting bored with running or walking, take heart: there are other ways to get him the exercise he needs. A 15-minute game of fetch makes for a good workout. Supervised play with other dogs is a good option too. Tug-of-war is not a good game because it can damage his teeth and may increase aggressive behavior.

If you have the time and your dog has the inclination, you could even try running him through some agility obstacle courses, which incorporate a range of activities.

 

Or, by all means, if there is one in your area, you can visit K9 Fit Club!

 

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August 8, 2013

You may wonder if your dog understands every word you try to say. Indeed, trained dogs instinctively understands commands like “sit”, “jump”, “roll” or “run”, but what about other important thoughts you want them to know? You may also be puzzled at times, when your dog tries to act like he wants to tell something. The thing is dogs can’t talk. They can’t even show appreciation or comfort you in bad times.

how to tell your dog you love themIt’s not only through wagging tails and big warm eyes that you can feel dogs can deeply understand your feelings towards them. It’s very much true to dogs that actions speak louder than words. The eyes and tail may signal their excitement but it’s merely their emotions sent to you that give you the feeling that your dog understands what you’re saying. If you want to be sure that your pooch knows how much you care, here are ways to show that you love them:

1. Take a walk together

Lovers like to walk together at the park. Dogs feel the same happiness to be walking with you too. Take that walk and spend time with your pooch. It may not take you much time to walk around. Your dog may like to run or play with other dogs also. Take that time to sit and show the dog that you’re being supportive to his interests.

2. Share your thoughts

Treat dogs like friends and not merely pets. They also love to hear stories and life experiences. It’s important to keep the conversation going to avoid them from getting bored. Share your thoughts. They may not respond to what you’re saying, but they are listening. A good conversation goes with a good speaker and a good listener.

3. Take time to sleep together

It will make the dog feel secure and comfortable to sleep beside you. It may not be as often as it can be, but make sure you spend time to sleep with your dog. Some dogs may feel they are outcasts or isolated if they are being restricted to go inside certain rooms. Don’t be so hard on reprimanding your pooch. Stay calm and avoid making them feel that they are not welcome inside your house.

4. Read to your dog

If you are a bookworm, you can read to your dog and share that wonderful story you’re reading. They may also love bedtime stories like kids. The fact that you spend time to read a story for them is a good way to tell them that you love them. Your dog just love to hear your voice and spend time with you.

5. Exercise together

Your dog will gladly appreciate to know you care about their health. It’s not easy to say, “I worry about your weight doggie,” because the dog will not understand such thought. Exercising with your dog or taking them to workout camps makes it easy to relay the message that you care about their health. Encourage your dog to meet fitness goals and show support in his workout. In return, your dog can be a good workout body for you. Be a model to your pooch. Maintain a healthy body to entice that doggie eagerness to be healthy too.

Don’t keep those feelings from your dogs. They have the right to feel loved too. Show them you care the way they have shown they love you. Communicate the way they relay messages through strong and sincere emotions. You and your dog must create a mutual connection with how both sides will understand. It may sound complicated, but with both of you caring for each other, it will be simple as talking to the same kind.

 

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July 3, 2013

As we prepare for backyard barbecues, friends and fireworks, K9 Fit Club offers tips this Fourth of July, on how to keep your best friends safe and calm during this day of celebration.

Although they are a member of the family, it is safer to keep your pets at home during Fourth of July celebrations instead of bringing him to a parade or a neighbor’s party. Keep your dog in the house, rather than in your yard. He will be a lot happier indoors, and not tempted to leap over a fence to find you.

Dogs can be startled by the loud noise of fireworks. Once the festivities begin, keep your pet in a safe room where he can feel comfortable. If he is crate trained put him in his crate covered with a blanket to make him feel secure.

Block outside sights and sounds by lowering the blinds and turning on the television. Play soothing music in the background to counteract the symphony of the “rockets’ red glare.

Get them and you, up and out and moving. Dogs, as well as humans, like routines. Just because it is Independence Day, doesn’t mean you take the day off from your exercise routine. If your pet seems overly anxious, spend some time with your pet, speaking soothingly to help them to relax.

Avoid scraps from the grill. While tempting to our pets, any sudden change to your pets’ diet can cause stomach upset. In addition, some certain foods like onions, avocado, grapes and raisins can be toxic.

Human products can be dangerous to animals. Avoid spraying your pet with insect repellent and only use special sunscreen that is intended for animal use. Keep your pets away from matches and lighter fluid. They can be extremely irritating to the stomach, lungs and central nervous system, if ingested.

Should your dog get scared, escape and run away, help find him with microchip identification. Collars and tags can fall off so make sure you have permanent ID with a microchip. Keep contact information current with your recovery service provider.
K9 Fit Club is building a Nationwide Community of Clubs dedicated to the health and fitness of dogs and their owners.
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