5 Signs that my Dog is Fit

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FitDog FridayWelcome to this week’s FitDog Friday Blog Hop where SlimDoggy and his blogger friends share ideas, stories, and photos on dog fitness and health.

An Important Question
Today we want to ask (and possibly answer) a simple, yet important question: “How do I know if my dog is fit & healthy?”  I thought of this question while on a run this week as my mind was contemplating the many different types of fitness disciplines that are available to us humans.  We have so many choices and different types of fitness choices, how can we know if we are fit when compared to other athletes? Is a long distance runner more fit than a sprinter?  Is a sprinter more fit than a gymnast?  Is a weight lifter more fit than a swimmer?

It occurred to me that a similar line of thinking also applies to our dogs.  SlimDoggy Jack is definitely fit!  He can run with me at a rather fast pace for 3, 4 and 5 miles at a time.  He wears his K9FitVest and does intervals with me.  He does pilates moves for his core.  And he goes for a walk 1-2 times per day as well.  We also know several agility and working dogs that are even more active (and younger 😉 ) than Jack.   But does this mean that our neighbor’s Boston Terrier, Elmo, who walks for 30-60 minutes a day, every day, is NOT fit?

Five signs your dog is fit

You see, it is not really fair to compare Jack with Elmo.  First of all, Elmo is a few years older than Jack.  Secondly, Elmo is much smaller than

Jack doing his kettlebell routine

Jack doing his kettle bell routine

Jack (and his short legs really aren’t met for long runs!).  But yes, Elmo is a pretty fit dog.  How do I know?  Well there are some pretty clear signs that you can see with the naked eye to give you an idea.  Here are 5 signs that your dog is fit – even if they aren’t ‘SlimDoggy Jack” fit.

  1. Your dog can comfortably finish the workout (whatever it may be) without undue stress or fatigue (e.g. collapsing or taking long rest breaks).
  2. Your dog’s exercise does not impact their ability to do other normal dog things during the rest of the day.  While they may take a post-workout nap, they remain energetic throughout the day and are up for a game of fetch or tug or whatever else they may like.
  3. Your dog exhibits what we call ‘happy behavior’ which is a general appearance of being happy, satisfied, and curious.  This signal can be amplified with high intensity exercise due to the runner’s high effect that dogs get.
  4. Their muscle tone is well defined and their waist is visible and tapered.
  5. Their coat is full, thick and shiny and they have a healthy appetite.

At SlimDoggy, believe me, we are not fitness snobs. There is no one perfect answer for the ‘right’ kind of fitness activity. Every person and every dog has different tastes.  Each of our dogs should have their own criteria for being fit based on their breed, age, and health and injury history.  Align your dog’s fitness goals with their unique circumstances to ensure that you are improving, and not harming, their overall health.

Now drop and give me 20!

What about you?  Is your dog fit?  How do you tell?  What is their favorite exercise activity?  Leave us a note in the comments.


fitDogFriday_avatarPlease enjoy our FitDog Friday Blog Hop brought to you by SlimDoggy and our co-hosts Peggy’s Pet Place and To Dog With Love. Join the Hop or just enjoy the links below – lots of fun fitness tips and advice!

We have some extra special giveaways this week for Bloggers who link up to our Blog Hop, but we are also offering prizes for our readers too, just enter a comment on any of our FitDog Friday Blog Hop Hosts sites. Read about our special giveaway raffle here. NEW prizes this week!


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  1. Great post, Slimdoggy. Our boys are always up for anything and that is the best way to be! Hiking, running, walking, fetching, tugging, wrestling, snowshoeing (which is probably everyone’s favorite.) I love that Wilhelm has the buffest haunches of any dog- big or small- ever. I love that Brychwyn has endless energy and that Huxley finds play/games at every opportunity. And they all have the most svelte waists… I wish I could include myself in the skinny waist club!
    Bethany recently posted…Hands-Free Leash ExtravaganzaMy Profile

    • Snowshoeing!? Priceless. Sounds like your guys are active and enjoying life. That is what I call Fit.

  2. Good points. Scooter’s fitness levels are totally different to Max’s – my friends dog who lives on the corner & has just turned 12. Scooter runs every morning next to my bike/Max walks a couple of blocks mostly uphills – at the same time they both return from their daily outings panting & happily collapse near the front door. Both have a good appetite and are raring to go out again in the afternoon. Both have lean frames and a visible waistline (their owners are kept pretty fit too 🙂 ). Fit dogs, like people, don’t need to stick to the same workout to enjoy good health & a long life.
    Paws and Pedals (Kate & Scooter) recently posted…Is your Dog on Instagram? – Get active & take some photos of your DogMy Profile

    • Great point about sticking to the same workout. Mix it up. For your dogs (and your own workouts). Keeps thing interesting and everyone motivated.

  3. What a great checklist. I’d say all 3 of our dogs are fit. Favorite activity? Toss up between playing Jolly ball (rowdy game of fetch involving 3 Jolly balls and 3 dogs) or frisbee (though Rosie hasn’t figured this one out yet.) They prefer running/fetching to walks.
    Sue at Talking Dogs recently posted…Follow-up Friday: Hummingbirds, Deer, Dogs in the BedMy Profile

    • 3 Jollys and 3 dogs = 3 fit and tired pups!

  4. Since my sister and I were young a lot of people think we are seniors because we are so mellow and we do sleep a lot. We do tons of walking and we play in the yard but we are tired pups. Being tired is not a bad thing as when the opportunity arises for fun, we are right there and ready to go, so we are not over exerted. But you do have to watch it, especially in warmer weather as we can’t do as much.
    emma recently posted…Blogpaws Adventures With Flat Emma | GBGVMy Profile

  5. First time to join FitDog Friday. Thanks!! My girlz love walking, hiking and have just starting “running” with me again. My shepherd loves swimming too, the lab–not so much!!

    • Too funny. Our Labs don’t seem to enjoy the water either. Both are rescues so we can’ tell if this is because they don’t really like it or if they just weren’t exposed to it growing up!

      Thanks for joining the hop! Make sure to come back each week and contribute when you can.

  6. I love going hiking for the day with my bipeds. I always hope there will be a river or a lake included in the walk.
    Clowie recently posted…Through the garden gateMy Profile

    • Water during any activity is a huge bonus! Unless it is rain (when you aren’t prepared for it).

  7. SPOT ON! Great advice! No one size truly fits all…for dogs or humans. Personally we like to mix it up…my lab (recently departed) trained for Tri’s with me. The best swimming, running and biking partner anyone could ask for. I am working with two rescues now…we will see what they enjoy, but all indications point to anything that involves moving…
    DogTread K9FITvest recently posted…DogTread Workout: High Five for Canine FitnessMy Profile

    • Yes. Movement is life and dog’s need and love it. So do we humans– the only problem is that we have gotten lazy due to modern living. Not us FitDog Friday bloggers and readers (and our dogs)! We are on a mission..

  8. Great post! I’m happy to report that Riley is officially a “Fit Dog” according to these 5 signs. She always gets scored “perfect” on the Ideal Body Condition Scale at the vet, but as you know, that doesn’t mean jack squat if she can’t keep up on walks or during exercise. But she can! 🙂
    Elyse and Riley recently posted…Throwback Thursday–Puppy Time!My Profile

    • Thanks Elyse and Riley. Riley sounds really fit and very happy! What more could you ask for?

  9. Excellent tips. (The same can be said for myself–do I come home from a walk or run and collapse for the rest of the day? lol). Kelly is in great shape for an 11 year old, she loves to run. The only thing that bothers her a great deal is the heat.
    Peggy Frezon recently posted…FitDog Friday – Time to Get your Wiggle OnMy Profile

  10. […] are joining up with the FitDog Friday blog hop hosted by SlimDoggy, Peggy’s Pet Place, and To Dog With […]

  11. I think my dogs are pretty fit. They are always up for a game of ball, or a walk. I’ve just started adding some jogging to our routines (will be writing more on that next week). They like to sleep but if my husband or I go outside, they want to go out too. I am interested to see if I will notice the “runner’s high” once our running really gets going (we are starting out slow).
    Jan K recently posted…We Took a “Walk on the Wildside”My Profile

    • I hope you do – it’s a great feeling. Don’t give up on it – it takes awhile for it to kick in. I don’t usually start to feel it until I’m 2-3 miles into the run.

  12. Giz does meet your criteria for being fit and i can tell from his enthusiasm on our hikes that he is loving it as much if not more than me…the one thing he does that makes me smile is as the day warms up he’ll run as fast as he can, then plop down in every tiny bit of shade he finds and wait for me…he’ll dash from shady spot to shady spot and then look back at me with that “hurry up Mom” look…it’s so cute
    GizmoGeodog recently posted…Small Dogs CAN Wear Backpacks!My Profile

    • Good strategy Giz! BOL!

  13. Since he’s on the fit friday blog, Elmo now thinks he’s a rock star, and we are dealing with diva dog behavior….

    Thaaaaanks slim doggy !!!!

    • Elmo is a rock star. Deal with it! 🙂

  14. This is a wonderful topic! At times I really think that Leroy is fitter than Sherman, but I have to keep in mind that Sherman is older and dos not have as laid back of an attitude as Leroy.
    Jen recently posted…The Terrible TicksMy Profile

  15. I recently “inherited” a 10 year old dog whose chief activity was sleeping on the couch. I am slowly getting her (and me) into shape by walking once around the neighborhood every day and a longer walk in the park on the weekends. This may not seem like a lot, but for an inactive 10 year old dog (and 50+ woman), it’s definitely a start!
    Vicki Cook recently posted…Favorite Video Friday: Okla. tornado survivor finds dog buried alive under rubbleMy Profile

    • It’ a great start! As you both increase your fitness, you will be able to try other things as well. Find what works best for your situation and be consistent.

  16. Great post! Have a great weekend.

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