How to Keep Your Pup in Shape
Great news! Not only does owning a dog make you happier, but it can also make you healthier! According to a recent article in Shape magazine, owning a dog increases your odds of walking, staying active, and even reducing your risk of diabetes.
It’s not hard to figure out why. Dogs love to exercise, and most breeds crave outdoor activity. That means your dog will give you a lot of incentive to get off the couch and walk around the block, throw a frisbee, take a hike, visit the park, or go to the beach.
There are so many ways to have fun with your dog, but it’s also important for your dog’s health.
Why is Exercise Important for a Dog?
Exercise is important for the mental and physical well-being of your dog. You probably know that there are a lot of health risks associated with obesity in dogs. Obesity is associated with joint arthritis, increased risk of torn ligaments, back problems, cardiac disease, difficulty breathing, and increased probability of some types of cancer. Exercise is one of the best ways to ward off obesity.
But there are also considerable mental consequences. Dogs crave activity and exercise. After all, dogs have been bred for thousands of years to run, hunt, guard, or herd. When they aren’t allowed the exercise their genetic makeup demands, they often fall into undesirable behaviors, which can include excessive barking, whimpering, howling, hyperactivity, digging, chewing, tail chasing, and even destroying items in your home. Lack of exercise can also make some dogs depressed, and make others unusually aggressive.
What Kinds of Exercise is Good for Dogs?
First off, let’s be clear that letting a dog outside is not exercise. Spending an afternoon alone in a fenced in yard is not a good way to give your dog the physical exertion he needs. But there are a lot of great exercise options to consider. Try them all, and see which ones give your dog the best workout.
1. Give Your Dog a Brisk Walk
Put your dog on a leash and walk him around the neighborhood. This is good for you and your pup. For smaller dogs, this can be a substantial workout, but for larger dogs, short walks may not be enough
2. Take Your Pup to a Dog Park
Many communities have dog parks, in which dogs can get off their leash and play with other dogs. This is a great option for people with limited physical ability and is also a great way for your dog to socialize with other pups
3. Take Your Puppy on a Hike
Even if you’re walking your dog twice every day, most dogs enjoy exploring new trails with their owners. Pack your dog up and take to the local trails. Get great dog hiking tips here.
4. Bring Your Dog to the Park
While some people don’t have access to hiking trails, most people are close to a park. Parks offer lots of ways to exercise your dog. Get tips for park visits here.
5. Plan a Beach Trip for Your Canine Pal
Beaches offer dogs lots of opportunities for vigorous exercise. Not only do they burn energy in the waves, even walking on the sand is a type of exercise. Make sure you keep your dog safe in the water by getting tips here.
6. Develop Indoor Exercise Routines
Not every day is a great day for outdoor exercise. And if your puppy is cooped up for a few days as a storm moves through your areas, it’s a good idea to have indoor exercise ideas in place to keep your dog occupied until you can take him out again. We offer some fun indoor exercise ideas in this blog.
7. Learn to Play With Your Pup in Your Backyard
You don’t need to take a trip every time your dog needs exercise. With a little planning, you can have lots of fun with your dog in your own backyard. We list some fun activities here.
8. Take Your Dog to a Local River or Lake
Many dogs love to swim. If you have a breed that is a water breed, rivers and lakes are sources of great fun and vigorous exercise. Get tips on how to take safe visits to lakes and rivers here.
9. Find Someone to Exercise Your Dog
Not everyone is able to give their dog lots of physical exercise every day. That’s why it’s so important to find a good dog walker, dog sitter, or doggy daycare. All of these options are able to provide exercise and mental stimulation for your dog if you’re unable to do it yourself. Get tips on how to find reliable, trust-worthy dog caregivers in this blog.
Dogs are physical animals. They need regular exercise to stay mentally and physically healthy. If you are planning to bring a dog into your life, make sure you’re able to provide enough exercise for your breed. If you’re unsure what kind of dog is right for you, research breeds here. If you’re ready to look for your dog, start here.