CHARLOTTE – In honor of Canine Fitness Month, we interviewed Traci Harris, founder of Fit with Fido CLT. As a certified personal trainer and certified dog trainer, Traci’s unique business combines her two passions while helping pet parents and their fur babies bond. Over the next two weeks, Traci will be sharing the many benefits of canine fitness, as well as some of her top tips for incorporating physical activity into your fur baby’s life.
Dr. Bonilla: What is “Fit with Fido” all about?
Harris: Fit with Fido CLT is a full body, 45-minute workout class that you can bring your dog to. We work on basic commands to mentally stimulate the dogs, AND they get to run cardio drills with us and be by our side while we lift weights and finish with core work! In the past, I always felt guilty leaving my active dog, Sherlock, behind while working out. That’s what inspired me to start this business—now, we can both get a fun and challenging workout in. Plus, we get to bond and be tired together after every class!
Dr. Bonilla: Why is it so important for dogs to get enough exercise?
Harris: Exercise benefits dogs in so many ways. It helps get their energy out, which reduces behavior problems such as being destructive and anxious, and it reduces the health risks associated with obesity. Regular exercise also helps keep your fur baby’s joints active, so they don’t experience stiffness and muscle loss as they age. As with humans, exercise overall helps to prolong a dog’s life. Plus, I have never met an unhappy dog during or after exercising; a tired dog is a happy dog!
Dr. Bonilla: What are some fun ways to exercise with your dog?
Harris: There are a wide range of ways to exercise with your dog. I find it is always fun to check out a new spot, like a greenway or park, as dogs get mental stimulation from sniffing on a walk. Running with my dog has always been my favorite, both because he loves the feeling of a “pack mentality” and unknowingly motivates me to keep going. On days where you feel less active, pet exercise can even be as simple as throwing a ball in the yard or giving your dog a puzzle or toy to “work on”. I like to hide small treats around the house for my dog to sniff out, because it gets him moving and mentally stimulates him. You can also play hide and seek by putting your dog in a “sit and stay” position, finding a spot to hide and then calling him or her to come find you.
We will be featuring part 2 of our interview with Traci Harris in next week’s Passionate Pet Care article. Stay tuned!
Passionate Paws Animal Hospital is a proud member of the Union County Chamber of Commerce.