Canine athlete. Do those two words make you think of dogs that can perform amazing feats? While it's fun to watch highly trained canine athletes take dogs sports to the extreme, your own dog hardly qualifies as a canine athlete. Or does he?
The Canine Sports Medicine Association newsletter (April, 1997) puts canine athletes in four categories: "elite, amateur, professional and recreational." Unless you're headed for competition, chances are your dog is a recreational athlete and keeping him reasonably fit doesn't require expensive equipment or membership in a doggy gym. With your coaching, your dog can walk, jump and play his way into better shape. First stop? Your veterinarian's office for a complete physical and a discussion about appropriate exercise levels.
"All dogs benefit from exercise, but the trick is to find the right exercise program for each dog," cautions chiropractic veterinarian Sue Ann Lesser DVM. With a roving practice that covers five states, the South Huntington NY based doctor spends her days helping concerned owners keep their dogs in great shape. "Every dog is different. Daily walks might be perfect for one dog, but another dog could need more intense workouts. You need to think about the individual dog."