Canine metabolic workouts generally come in two varieties: (1) “hard and fast” and (2) “slow and steady.”
Some examples of hard and fast workouts are fetch games, jumping drills, full-speed agility coursework, off-lead running, and any other activities that require your dog to gallop intermittently at or near top speed.
Slow and steady workouts are those that can be performed by your dog at either a trot or a canter. They’re less effortful than their faster counterparts and, consequently, they can be performed for longer periods of time. Think on-leash walking or light jogging.
You might be inclined to think that one type of workout is better than the other for your dog. And you’re probably right. They certainly have different costs and benefits and, depending on what you’re aiming to accomplish with your dog on any given day, one will always be a better fit than the other.
But here’s a little-known factoid to keep in mind the next time you’re deciding what kind of metabolic workout to subject your dog to: all else being equal, caloric burn rate is not a function of pace. Accordingly, your dog will burn the same number of calories every mile traveled, regardless of the speed at which she is traveling.
In this sense, when it comes to caloric burn, five miles at a leisurely Sunday morning stroll pace is just as good for your dog as five miles at an all-out running race pace. The two respective activities might otherwise differ in how they impact your dog’s health and well-being, but they’re virtually identical from a “calories burned” perspective.
We hope that comes as some good news to all the non-runners out there who are looking forward to some slow, relaxing walks with their canine companions this weekend.