Ensuring that your canine companion gets enough exercise is a crucial part of being a good pet parent. Unfortunately, determining how much and what type of exercise your dog needs isn’t always easy. You have to consider your dog’s breed, size, age, and even personality when assessing their needs, and even with these things in mind, figuring it all out on your own can be tricky.
If you are struggling to both understand and meet your dog’s exercise needs, your veterinarian is the best place to turn for help, so we’re glad you found us! Below, you’ll find answers to some of the most common questions about dog exercise.
If you are in Miami, FL, our team is here to help! Call (305) 842-3228 to schedule an appointment.
How much exercise does my dog need?
The amount of exercise your dog needs depends on several factors, including their age, breed, and current body condition. An overweight dog obviously needs more exercise than one who is underweight, for example. You also have to consider whether they have any underlying musculoskeletal problems, like arthritis or hip dysplasia.
How does exercise impact the health and well-being of my dog?
Exercise impacts your dog’s health and well-being in several ways. Regular physical activity prevents obesity and helps maintain the health of the cardiovascular and respiratory systems. It also lowers the risk of common problems like osteoarthritis and diabetes.
Additionally, exercising your dog allows you to engage with them. This builds a stronger relationship between you two and makes them feel happier and more secure.
How much is too much exercise?
Exercise is crucial, but you should never overdo it. Overexerting your dog is just as bad as not exercising them enough, and in certain circumstances, it can be deadly. Consider your dog’s age and overall health. Be mindful of genetic factors that could also lower your dog’s exercise tolerance. Dogs with adorable squished faces, for example, can’t handle as much exercise as their longer-snouted counterparts. As a result, breeds like Australian Shepherds and Labrador Retrievers can tolerate much more physical activity than brachycephalic breeds like pugs and French Bulldogs.
Pay attention to the weather, too. High temperatures and humidity put pets (and people) at higher risk of heatstroke. Pay attention to your dog. If they seem overly exhausted and are panting with their tongue hanging out, it’s probably time to take a break.
What are some ways to exercise my dog outside?
There are countless ways to exercise your dog outside. From regular walks to agility training, the options are virtually endless.
A few great ways to exercise your dog outside include:
- Agility training
- Dog sporting events
- Hide and seek
If you get bored taking the same walk around the block every day, your dog probably does, too. Try different activities to keep things interesting and hold your canine companion’s interest. You both might discover a new favorite hobby!
What about exercises for my dog inside?
Helping your dog stay active indoors is a bit trickier, but it certainly is not impossible. Of course, the options vary depending on how much space you have. If you have a set of stairs, having your dog chase the beam from a laser pointer up and down them is a great way to get them moving. You could even train them to walk on a treadmill.
Playing hide and seek is another fun indoor activity, and it’s great because it stimulates mental and physical activity. If space allows, tossing a ball inside your house works well. Playing tug-of-war is also a good option — as long as it’s played properly.
What are some health issues that can occur from a lack of exercise?
Obesity is the number one problem associated with lack of exercise. It’s far too common in companion animals and occurs when they take in far more calories than they use. The excess calories are stored as fat, leading to liver problems, diabetes, osteoarthritis, and other potentially serious health problems. Lack of physical activity can also affect your dog’s cardiovascular and respiratory health.
What are some ways to motivate my dog to exercise?
Like people, dogs have unique personalities. Some love nothing more than running for miles, while others are much happier curled up on the couch. They also have different interests. If your dog loves taking long walks with you, do that. Take them to the beach as often as possible if they love swimming. Consider enrolling them in doggy daycare or visiting a dog park if they enjoy playing with other dogs. Taking your dog’s personality into consideration and choosing activities they love is one of the best ways to help them stay active.
Always make exercise an enjoyable experience. If necessary, offer a tasty (and healthy) treat after your dog engages in physical activity. Just be careful not to overdo it!
If you have more questions about your dog’s exercise needs, we’d be more than happy to help! Call (305) 842-3228 to learn more today!