Fitness and Frolics With Fido

The art of staying in shape with your best friend

By Sally Perkins

America is without a doubt a pet-loving nation. More than 85 million families across the country now own a pet and the number of those with dog companions has grown 29 percent in the past decade. Some states have a larger pet population than others but most have embraced a pet-friendly lifestyle to a large degree.

Florida, in particular, has made a concerted effort to provide dog-friendly, easy-to-access public spaces for all pet people within the state. Because of this, there are countless ways to ensure that your dog is well-exercised and happy.

Doggy parks

Check out Florida Dog Parks here. These parks are superb for walking, running, playing, having fun and keeping fit with your canine. Some areas have only one while others have many. If you are fortunate enough to be residing in Orlando, you will have plenty of choices as far as dog parks are concerned and they've got a lot to offer both canine and human. Downey Park in East Orange County boasts a timeout area as well as dog cleanup supplies while the city’s first official off-leash park, Paw Park of Historic Sanford offers everything from self-watering bowls to handicapped accessible doggy showers.

Bicycling

If you and your dog are up to the task you could consider letting him run alongside your bike as you cycle. Tangled leashes are always a concern when cycling is concerned but luckily you can pick up a special hook that will attach to the body of your bike from any good pet shop or try this Hands-Free Bicycle Dog Leash for Bike Riding Safe with Pets.

Swimming is always fun

Swimming is a low-impact exercise which is great for dogs of all ages, including those who have arthritis and those needing physical therapy after an injury. Apart from the exercise benefits swimming is also the ideal way to cool off during a typical scorching-hot Florida summer. If you don’t have a pool at your home, don’t despair. Some cities, like Miami, boasts a number of public swimming spots such as Haulover Park which has a designated doggy park and dog swimming area, perfect for both pooch and owner. Due to health regulations and a fear of transmissible disease most doggie pools are generally available only to dogs, with their eager human companions cheering them on from the side.

Regardless of where you live in Florida, chances are very good that your town or county will boast a number of fun and safe outdoor activities you can enjoy with your dogs. Even with countless parks and other dog-friendly spaces at your disposal, you can still simply take your dog for a walk around the block or play with him in your own backyard. There isn’t a rulebook stating how you need to spend time with your canine companion, as long as you are both safely enjoying the interaction.

Above photo by Leo Rivas on Unsplash

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