One of the easiest ways to keep your dog healthy is by making sure he gets plenty of exercise. Taking your dog out to walk, run and stretch will not only keep fido fit and trim, it’ll also help you stay in shape. Your dog can be a great workout partner, allowing you both to get the benefits of regular exercise. Before you begin an exercise regimen, you should check your dog and your supplies. You’ll need to make sure your pups nails are trimmed, otherwise walking and running on hard surfaces can be uncomfortable. Also, you’ll want a secure, comfortable collar or harness along with a good leash. A retractable leash in good condition is ideal for exercising, as you never have to worry about the extra length getting in the way and tangling in your pets legs. For dogs (and owners) that aren’t used to exercising, it’s best to start out slowly. A walk around the block, or a couple laps around the track at your local high school are great ways to start. Take your time, and walk at your own pace. Go as far as you both can comfortably go and make it a goal to increase your distance with each walk. Try to walk every other day, giving your muscles and your dog a day of rest in between to recuperate and relax. Walking just a short distance can be difficult for extremely overweight pets. Regular walking will help establish a routine for you and your pet. It will also help loosen limbs and get your body prepared for what’s to come. Once you’re comfortable with your walking routine, you can step up the activity level to something more challenging like jogging or cycling. You’ll want to tailor your exercise routine to your dogs size and age. Small, young dogs tend to be energetic, but their size makes it difficult for them to keep up with bicycles. Walking or jogging with small dogs is a better idea. Larger dogs may not get much benefit from jogging if they aren’t able to let loose and put in some effort. Cycling with a large dog is a better idea as it allows your pet to work harder and exercise more of their muscles. As your large dog ages, he may begin to feel joint strain, so adding a supplement to his diet can help relieve discomfort so he can exercise pain-free. When you get home from exercising, give your dog plenty of water and a comfortable place to rest. Orthopedic dog beds are great after a long work-out as they provide plenty of support to your animals limbs, which will probably be just as sore as yours. If you have an older pet that experiences joint pain as a side-effect of exercise, providing him with pet stairs or a pet ramp at home can help him reach his favorite spots to rest while his legs and joints recover. With time, your older dog will benefit from the exercise routine and joint pain may actually reduce with continued exercise. You can use your dog stairs for additional exercises at home. Having your pet climb up and down the stairs will give them quality exercise while working on their motor skills at the same time. Stair exercises are great for days when the weather doesn’t allow you to go outdoors. Get creative with your workout routine and have fun exercising with your dog. About the author: Nadia Paone writes on a variety of dog related subjects, including dog training, general dog tips and dog product reviews, she is also part of the Dog Supply Network team, which run an online store that specializes in quality dog gear such as orthopedic dog beds and other specialty dog gear.