Canines are battling one of America’s worst enemies – obesity. More than half of all dogs in the United States weigh more than they should. Like their human counterparts, overweight dogs are at risk of serious conditions such as cardiovascular disease and arthritis. You can help your pet get back in shape with dog exercises.
The Benefits of Dog Exercises
Physical activity has more benefits than simply maintaining a healthy canine weight. These include:
- It keeps them busy so they do not find other ways to entertain themselves such as chewing furniture
- It helps keep their brain active.
- Dog exercises reduce the likelihood of arthritis, hip dysplasia, diabetes or heart disease.
- It creates a stronger bond between you and your pet.
Dog exercises should be a constant part of your dog’s lifetime. But, keep in mind that there are specific fitness levels for each life stage.
Dog Exercises for Puppies
Puppies have limited physical abilities due to their small frame. Since their bones are still growing, they may be prone to injury. Generally, young puppies should be limited to short walks and multiple play sessions throughout the day. A general rule of thumb is that a puppy needs five minutes of exercise per month of age, twice a day. Of course, the breed of your dog and size matters as well.
If your puppy is younger than three months, soft surfaces such as grass or carpets are ideal. Do not allow them to run up and down the stairs as this may lead to hip dysplasia.
Dog exercises for senior dogs
Just because your senior dog moves slower now doesn’t mean they should stop exercising. For pets suffering from arthritis, exercise is a must to strengthen those muscles around the joints. Working out also aids bowel movement which is vital in older dogs.
If you have a senior dog, a calm and leisurely walk is the best form of exercise. You can also try low-impact exercises such as swimming, underwater treadmill and indoor games.
Types of Dog Exercises
Helping your dog stay in shape should be a fun activity and not a dull chore. If you do the same things over and over again, they’ll be just as bored as you are. Below are a few dog exercises to shake up your routine.
Brisk walking is great for both human and hound. Walking makes your heart stronger, lowers blood pressure, strengthens your bones and lowers your risk of depression.
There is no universal rule for how far or how long your pet should walk ad an adult dog. Set an initial goal and increase your speed and distance gradually. Walk around the block, uphill on terrain or into the woods so he can sniff different things.
Always bring a bottle of water with you. If the furry one looks tired, stop.
· Play fetch
Young dogs love playing fetch with a ball or frisbee. It’s a great exercise that lets them to run long distances without leaving your sight. Make sure his toys are soft, lightweight and safe for his mouth.
Swimming is an all-in-one workout that helps improve circulation and boost metabolism. It is most beneficial to dogs that require low-impact activities that are easy on the joints.
Not all dogs enjoy swimming so it is best to start slowly. Encourage them with treats or toys so they don’t get scared of the water.
If you want to jog with your pet, choose a breed that is suitable for the activity. Greyhounds may be great at sprinting, but can get tired during long-distance runs. Labradors, on the other hand, can run up to five miles without stopping.
You can start with a five minute warmup and then jog for around twenty minutes. Remember that dogs do not have sweat glands so avoid jogging on a hot day.
Dogs love the outdoors! It’s an excellent opportunity to find new smells and meet other animals. Just make sure you protect them from fleas and ticks that may be lurking in the woods. After hiking, always check your dog for any crawling creatures they may have picked up along the way.
· Doggie Daycare
Many counties and cities offer doggie daycares. This is a safe place for your dog to exert pent up energy. When researching doggie daycares, you can find one that is best suited for your furry friend. Many will offer an evaluation to make sure that your dog will have an enjoyable experience. As well, doggie daycare are great for socializing with other dogs. Some even have obstacle courses for mental stimulation.
Positive Paws offers behavioral and obedience training so that your pets are well-behaved while interacting at doggie daycares.
Dog Exercises Make a Healthier, Happier Dog
When planning a dog exercise routine, the key is finding an activity that you both enjoy. It doesn’t have to be as rigorous as running. Even leisurely walks can help burn calories.
Whatever exercise activity you end up doing together, it should be fun and fulfilling. Working out is a great way for your dog to spend time with you. Meeting new dogs, following new scents and going on an adventure are just a bonus.
If your dog is shy, fearful, or aggressive toward people and other dogs, contact Positive Paws today. Our basic training can help them learn essential behaviors such as sit/stay, come, down/stay, and controlled leash walking.