HIIT Exercise for a Dog

HIIT Exercise
for a Dog

HIIT Exercise for a dog - an excellent option

Exercise is one of the most important things we can provide our pups.  As loving pet parents, we need to make the right decisions to ensure our furry family members stay healthy and live long, happy lives.  In our previous blogs, we discussed why exercise in general is important for your pup, and how to determine the right amount of time to walk your dog.  In our exercise blog, we discussed HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) as  great exercise for a dog.  In this blog, we’ll go into HIIT workouts more in depth, and even give an example of a starter routine to try with your pup!

Why HIIT is great exercise for a dog

High Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT, is a type of exercise style that has gain popularity in recent years – both with humans and pets!  The idea behind HIIT is instead of working out at a low to medium intensity for longer durations, you focus on incredibly high bursts of energy for a shorter time period.

An easy way to explain HIIT is by using the sport of track and field.  Runners on a team compete in different events, some are focused on longer distances such as the two mile event, and other are focused on much shorter distances such as the one hundred meter dash.  Both runners exert a lot of effort to be competitive, but in very different ways.

If a distance runner competed in their event at the sprinter’s pace, they  would never finish a race because of the high output of energy.  The same concept applies to exercising your pup – an hour walk can be replaced with just 10 minutes of high intensity exercise.


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Talk with your vet before trying HIIT

High Intensity Interval Training is by definition intense.  This means if your pup is not used to exercising in this manner, it’s important to consult with your veterinarian before starting a new routine.  HIIT is not for every dog out there, and may be too much to handle for a pup that is already overweight or is a senior.

 Just as if you were starting a new workout routine, it’s important to take the first few sessions slow.  Make sure your are in the appropriate surroundings and there are no safety concerns.  For example, because HIIT training can involve sprinting and chasing objects, a wide open field with grass away from roads would be a great and safe choice for your workout.

Exercise for a Dog
Exercise for a Dog

Basic Principles of HIIT Exercise

Many HIIT exercises are great for pups because it actually mimics how they would naturally play.  That said, there are some basic things to keep in mind when you are determining what your HIIT routine will look like.

  • Make sure to give your pup rest between burst of exercise
  • HIIT sessions should initially be 10-15 minutes maximum 
  • Start with short exercise (30 seconds) and longer rest periods (45 seconds) 
  • As fitness levels increase you can shorten the rest periods
  • Define visual cues for rest periods (for example, sit with your head down)
  • Use your phone’s alarm to keep track of rest and exercise periods
By keeping the above principles in mind, and paying close attention to your pup during the workout, you’ll ensure they remain safe and healthy.

A Starter HIIT Exercise Routine

Here is an example of a basic HIIT routine that fun engaging exercise for your pup.  Exercise times are set to 30 seconds, with 45 seconds of rest between activities.

  • Have you pup chase you at a high speed
  • Rest and walk back to your starting position
  • Play “Tug of War” with your pup using a rope toy
  • Rest and walk back  to your starting position
  • Throw a tennis ball and have you pup fetch
  • Rest and walk back  to your starting position
  • Capture the flag with a hand held toy
  • Rest and walk back Repeat cycle 4 times
This particular routine does require effort from the pet parent as well which may not be possible for a variety of reasons.  If this is the case, you can use the SwiftPaws for Home for the HIIT benefits.
Exercise for a dog

HIIT Exercise for dogs is fun, engaging, and challenging

Once you begin HIIT training you’re learn how much fun it can be, and how challenging it is as well! Although HIIT workouts may not be the right fit for every pup, these short bursts of energy can help your dog live a full and healthy life.

Want to join the conversation and share your HIIT workout?  Join our Facebook community here, we’d love to hear from you!

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