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Regular moderate exercise is fundamental to keeping dogs in shape for life. It tones muscles, lubricates joints and improves heart health. Moderate exercise varies from dog to dog, even with an individual dog based on fitness level and health status.

Regardless of your dog’s level of activity, you should start with a proper warm-up. A slow jog or brisk walk for five to 10 minutes helps to reduce the potential for muscle or ligament tearing and minimizes glycogen depletion and lactic acid buildup.

Likewise, cooling down for five to 10 minutes after exercise is important for muscle recovery and lactic acid dissipation. It also helps to flush out metabolites produced by exertion and prevents delayed-onset muscle soreness.

Cross-training, which combines endurance and strength training, is important as well. Endurance training involves running long distances and gradually increasing the distance and intensity. Strength or power training entails road working, pulling and uphill work for short periods at maximum intensity. Keep in mind dogs must be strong and sound before hard or long work.