Activities For Dogs After Owner'S Heart Attack

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Introduction

When you have a heart attack, a lot gets reevaluated. A lot changes. There's that struggle to live normally, and that voice inside that says your normal is now different. And yet, something that doesn't change is your love for your dog, and likewise, your dog's love for you. So when something this huge happens, it's not surprising that your dog is always right there, ready to throw the ball, ready to check up on how you're feeling, ready to go on the next adventure - like you both always do. It's difficult, seeing this love so unchanged. And it's oh, so welcoming at the same time. If you're wondering what you can do with your dog after a heart attack, here are some ideas.

Walking

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Sunny Day
Free
Hard
2 - 12 min
Items needed
Leash
Activity description
Depending on when you had your heart attack, you may only be able to walk for about 2 minutes at a time. If it was a few weeks ago, you may be walking for 4 to 6 minutes at a time now. Whatever the case, doctors always say the best way to get to exercising again after a serious heart event is to walk for short intervals at a time. Do what you can, and take breaks as needed. Your dog may be confused at first, but grateful that you're trying. And you will be doing your part in making your heart strong again. It's a win-win.
Step
1
Prepare for the walk
First thing is first, find the leash, attach it to your dog, and get a water bottle full of nice, cold water. It may seem like a lot, a water bottle for a short walk, but you'll need it. It won't feel like a short little walk. Remember, your dog will be extra excited this time, since it's probably been a while since you went out for a walk together. Manage your dog well, and seek help if needed. It may even be a good idea to have a friend accompany you to be safe.
Step
2
Focus as you walk
Now that you have everything, it's time to head out that door. Focus on every step, breathe in and out, tighten your core, and drink some water as soon as you start getting thirsty or tired. Remember, you can't expect your body to keep up as it used to. It will in due time, so until then, listen to it: when it's time to stop, you need to take a break, sit down, and let your heart rate drop back down. If you have an enclosed yard, you may want to try walking around there first, and your pup can be free to explore as they please.
Step
3
Know your limitations
After 3 to 4 times of taking breaks, it may be time to head back home. After all, you'll be taking breaks on the way back home as well. It's best to not overdo it, since your heart and body can't be expected to make such a huge comeback so quickly. Give things time. Your dog will understand! Feel free to walk slowly and allow your companion to take all the time they want to sniff and explore at your slow pace.
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Swimming

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Sunny Day
Cheap
Normal
20 min
Items needed
Doggy Life Vest
Leash
Activity description
Swimming is known for being low-impact on the joints and being all-round good exercise. However, it's also recommended for those with heart conditions. The low impact of water supported motion, and the control that you have to simply stop as soon as something becomes too much, all really caters to you. Why not include your dog? Dogs generally love to swim, and keep you company. You can swim alongside your dog, or try to catch up, and when you need a break, just tread water for a bit before trying again. It's all in good fun as long as you don't push yourself past the point of comfort.
Step
1
Safety first
When you go to the lake or beach, it's the lifeguard's duty to keep an eye on everyone there. Our suggestion would be to ask the lifeguard to keep an extra eye on you due to heart complications. No need to go into personal details! Once you do that, you'll hopefully feel a lot safer out on the water. So, bring your dog and have fun, but stay within the lifeguard's line of sight if you can help it.
Step
2
Enjoy yourself!
This is your time to shine and get your heart back up to a strong state. Stronger than it was originally would be the goal! So, chase your dog around using a light pace. Swim alongside your dog. And take breaks as needed. Outfit your pup with a doggy life vest so that there is no physical or mental stress in regards to your pet's safety.
Step
3
Shore walk
Swimming is lower impact than walking, so feel free to pick this up as a weekly activity to do for both your health, and your dog. After the swim though, you may want to include a short walk as a way to further build up your strength. Walk along the shore, making certain that your dog stays by your side. They can frolic in the waves close by as you enjoy feeling the sand between your toes.
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Agility

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Sunny Day
Cheap
Normal
20 - 30 min
Items needed
Dog treats
Beginners agility kit
Activity description
Agility is great for dogs who love to run around and be active. The best part is that you as the human, don't really need to do anything except give orders, and reward with treats. While your dog does the running, the weaving, and the jumping, you're standing firmly on the ground, at best just walking to the next obstacle, and giving an order. In other words, this is the perfect activity for people after heart attacks. There is no serious exercise do be done on your end at all. And your dog still gets to have a blast of a time hanging out with you!
Step
1
Order the kit
A beginner's agility kit is cheap, anywhere from $25 to $35. You can get them from specialty pet stores, or Amazon. The only supplies you really need are something to jump through, poles to weave between, and a tunnel. Remember, you don't need anything intricate for beginner agility. You're doing this for fun and fitness, not competition.
Step
2
Set things up
Once you've received the item, go ahead and set them up in the backyard. YouTube is a valuable resource, if you need more of a visual tutorial. Otherwise, the kit should come with instructions. And remember, things should be straightforward. Poles in the ground, tunnel beside it, and hoop beside that. Just make sure everything has a nice flow to it and that nothing is too crammed together.
Step
3
Let the training begin
Once you're set up, it's time to begin training. Pull out the dog treats and guide your dog through the obstacle course. Watch your dog instinctively pick up on what you want. Suddenly the course will become easier and easier. If your pup is having a difficult time learning the course, enlist a friend to help you teach your dog the obstacles. Moving alongside your dog as they learn to weave or get over the fear of the tunnel can be taught by your friend, and once learned, you will be able to direct your dog through the course, all the while gently upping your own stamina.
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More Fun Ideas...

Catch

Ah, a classic game of catch the ball or Frisbee. It sounds boring, and compared to a lot of what you could be doing, it is, but it can certainly help give you a much-needed rest. You can sit and throw and wait for your dog to come back with the toy again. Low-impact on you, rewarding for the dog. This may be your first intro toward exercise after a heart attack.

Hide and Seek

Here's something low-impact for you: hide in a spot you think will take your dog a while to find you. Then have the dog look for you, like when you were a kid and you'd hide from friends or siblings. Contain your laughter until your dog finds you, because you know it's only a matter of time!

Conclusion

Well, as you can see, the fun doesn't need to end. Even after a very significant health concern happens, there's always something you can do to stay in the game. And your dog will be there waiting for you to get back and at it, no worries. Until then, there's light activities you can both share.