Why the Perfect Workout Buddy Is Hairy, Panting, and Shirtless

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Typically, your ideal workout buddy would not be someone with an exposed hairy torso who is panting heavily, drooling, and staring intensely in your direction. However, you’ve actually found yourself just that when that creature beside you is a beloved pet. To encourage pet parents to get back on the fitness track by getting outdoors with pets, Petco™ and animal-lover and celebrity trainer, Gunnar Peterson, give five reasons why pets are the best workout buddy one could ever hope for.

1) Being a no-show is out of the question. Ever have a workout partner that was never on time or just didn’t show up at all? A dog is always there raring to go, so pet parents don’t lose motivation. Plus, a fitness routine involving a pet has additional benefits. Besides helping keep you both physically fit, exercise also keeps dogs mentally alert and emotionally happy. They’ll be more content and less likely to get into mischief.

2) They look forward to new adventures. If you have ever worked out with a Debbie Downer , they were likely resistant to exploring new places. Most dogs are always enthusiastic about a change of scenery. Routine long walks will help cure boredom and satisfy their exercise needs too. Changing the walking route is a great way to challenge dogs because it is mentally stimulating to explore new smells, areas, pets, and people, while also giving them vital exercise and time to bond with their pet parent. Retractable leashes, like the Flexi Fashion Retractable Belt Leashes, are a great option to offer dogs freedom, while still keeping them safe and stylish.

3) They’re great for your social life. Not only will you both be in great physical shape, but getting outdoors with a dog can actually help you meet someone. According to an article in the U.K.’s Daily Mail, one in four pet parents have met dates while walking their dogs and one third of owners have made new friends. Dogs are social creatures too, so you both will feel emotionally and socially fulfilled.

4) They will never get bored with helping perfect your throw. Whether you’re in a summer softball league or gearing up for football season, a dog will never roll its eyes when you want to work on your pitching arm for the tenth time this week. In fact, you couldn’t ask for more enthusiasm when it comes to ball time. If your arm gets tired, toys such as the Chuckit! are great for playing fetch until you are ready to go again.

5) They’re always up for a new challenge. Dogs look forward to a challenge, as should you. A sharp mind is just as important as a sound body, so why not combine both? Get outdoors with a Kyjen Agility Kit. The dog takes cues from you to make his way through an obstacle course while racing against the clock. Unlike many other dog sports, basic activities on beginner obstacles are relatively easy to learn and most dogs can do well and have fun with minimum training. It's also a great way to enhance the emotional bond between you and your dog. The agility obstacle course keeps your dog's senses sharpened, body properly exercised, teaches problem solving skills and brain occupied.

Your pal's exercise program should be tailored to her age, size and breed. Ask your veterinarian how much exercise - and what kind - is appropriate for your dog.

For more information on staying physically fit with your pet visit: www.petco.com/wholepets.