Photo of Golden Retriever dog playing in the creek.

Pick Up Your Paws!

by Kris Phillips

dog5It’s that time of year again, swimsuit season is fast approaching and it’s time to start working off those winter pounds. But don’t think just because Fido isn’t welcome in the gym you have to leave him behind. Sometimes dogs can be our best workout partners! They tend to have more stamina than we do, and drive us to push just a little harder. So here are some fun ways to burn calories with your furry trainer.

Play Fetch

Go Fetch!

Go Fetch!

Playing fetch with your dog burns around 300 calories an hour for you, probably more for them. It’s also a great training opportunity. You can work on commands like wait, drop it, and come. Wanna step it up a bit? Grab a frisbee, throw it, and run with your dog as he chases after it.

Go For a Walk

Going for a leisurely walk  will burn about 150 calories. But if you’re walking a bit quicker to keep up with Fido you’re likely to burn 260 calories or more in an hour.

Take a hike

Its no secret that hiking is one of my favorite outdoor activities. It’s a great way to get outside, get some fresh air, and sunshine. It’s also a great calorie burner, easily 600 calories or more depending on the terrain and how heavy your pack is.


Ok, given the die-hard turnout I saw at the frozen Canine Classic I may be preaching to the choir here, but dogs make great jogging partners. They can encourage us to push farther and faster. In fact, I only recently took up jogging because we adopted Swota. She came to us so overweight that when she laid on her side her top legs stuck strait out in the air. I put her on a diet and started hiking. But that wasn’t enough. I couldn’t get out on the trail often enough. So we took up jogging. Now she gets me out of bed in the morning, whether I want to jog or not. And there is no motivation quite like her laying on the floor and howling like toddler having a tantrum. Added bonus, jogging burns around 600 calories an hour.


The weather is warming up and going for a dip sounds like a great way to cool off. If your dog likes to swim you should join him and burn at least 240 calories an hour.


Cycling is a great way to burn calories and exercise your pooch. Just be careful! I tried this once, my easily distracted husky ran directly in front of me and we ended up somersaulting together. Fortunately, we both came away with minor bruises and road rash, as well as a lesson learned. So if your dog is good about staying beside you give it a shot. If they are easily distracted you might want to to stay away from wheels.

Things to keep in mind:

  • Not all dogs are suited for all activities. If your dog is very young, very old, or has medical issues consult with your vet before starting a new activity.
  • Safety needs to come first. Keep your dog beside you, allowing them to pull you is not only cheating it makes you more likely to trip over your pet.
  • Most important is to have fun!
    Colorado Disc Dogs at 2013 Bark for Art

    Colorado Disc Dogs at 2013 Bark for Art


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Dog Info - Helpful tips & tricks