You know that you should exercise your dog every day but do you know why? Exercise is good not just for your dog, but also for you, too, making your daily walk or weekly trip to the dog park a win-win for both of you. Let’s dive into why exercise is so important for both you and your dog and explore some ideas for exercising together.
Why Exercising Your Dog Is Important
Daily exercise is essential for your dog’s health in many different ways. First of all, exercise helps them maintain a healthy weight, burning off the calories from their dog food and dog bones. Exercise promotes regular digestion and regular bowel movements. Exercise will also mentally stimulate your dog, helping to fend off boredom. Finally, exercise will also help to curb destructive behavior, including barking, digging, and chewing on inappropriate objects. This is because tired dogs don’t have the energy to get into as much mischief as they otherwise would.
Exercising with your dog is also good for you. For one, spending time with your furry friend has been shown to improve mental health in humans. Exercising with or without a canine companion also causes your brain to release feel-good neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin for a compounding effect. There’s also evidence that people who walk or exercise with a dog tend to do it for longer periods of time and at a faster or higher intensity, providing even more benefits for you as well as your dog.
It’s important to understand that not every dog has the same exercise needs. How much activity your dog needs will vary greatly according to their age, size, size, breed, personality, and more. For instance, some breeds of dogs are more prone to arthritis or breathing issues, so certain physical activities are safer for them than others. Exercising a growing puppy or a low-energy breed too much can also lead to overuse injuries and other complications.
Your vet will be able to provide guidance on how much exercise your dog needs, as well as what kinds of exercises you should prioritize. You should periodically check in with your vet to update their guidelines as your dog ages. The exercise needs of a puppy, adult dog, and senior dog are all very different, even if other factors (breed, weight, etc.) remain the same. If you are extremely active and want your dog to accompany you on long walks or hikes, always clear that with your vet first, especially if their breed is prone to joint problems.
Ideas for Exercising Your Dog
Going for a daily walk — or multiple daily walks — is the perfect way to get started exercising with your dog. You can take them for a lap around the neighborhood to work off some of their energy and let them do their business. For older dogs or brachycephalic breeds that have trouble breathing, a leisurely walk or two each day might be all the exercise they need. They may also benefit from collagen sticks for dogs, which can improve their mobility.
However, for other dogs, a walk around the neighborhood is simply a warm-up exercise, and it won’t be enough to burn off their excessive energy. Taking your dog to the dog park is another great way to burn off their energy. Dog parks are fenced in, so you can take your dog off the leash and let them run to its heart’s content. It’s usually a good idea to bring a toy with you so that you can play fetch together in case there aren’t other dogs around or your dog doesn’t like to socialize. Always keep an eye on your dog and be prepared to intervene if they get aggressive or another dog tries to pick a fight.
Playing either inside the house or out in the backyard will help tire out your dog and also mentally stimulate them, even when the weather is bad. You can play fetch, tug of rope, hide and seek, or any other game that will engage your dog. Try switching up the toys you play with every so often to mentally stimulate your dog and keep them engaged. Their brains need to be worked just like their bodies. If you normally rely on a treat like a bully stick for dogs to keep them distracted, try switching to playtime on occasion to keep their calorie consumption at a healthy level.
If you live in an area with dog-friendly state parks, then you can also take your dog hiking with you. Keep in mind that most parks stipulate that dogs must be leashed at all times for both their own safety and that of both hikers and wildlife. No matter how well-trained your dog is, always obey local leash laws. It only takes one squirrel for them to bolt and potentially be lost forever. If you don’t like walking with your dog on a leash, then take them to a fenced dog park instead where you can let them off the leash without fear of them running away. Also Read – 6 Ways To Manage Your Dog’s Stress And Behavior During Travel
Be especially careful of exercising your dog on hot days. Because of their fur coats, they will likely get overheated before you do. Try to exercise in the cooler morning or evening hours and make sure to take frequent breaks to give them water and let them cool down. Be especially careful of walking on pavement, which can get very hot and burn their paws. If you can’t hold your palm for 10 seconds without it hurting, then the pavement is too hot for your dog. You should also be careful of snowy, icy sidewalks that have been treated with chemicals, which can hurt your dog’s paws as well. It’s a good idea to inspect their paw pads for injury after every walk just to be on the safe side.
Follow these tips to make exercising fun and beneficial for you and your dog. Not only is a daily walk great for both your health and theirs, but it’s also the perfect way to spend quality time together. So grab their leash and hit the sidewalk or dog park.