Your four-legged friend may seem happy taking a nap in his bed or on the couch, but like humans, they require regular exercise. If you have a backyard, you may think that your pet has all the practice he needs, but that’s not quite right. Dogs also need interaction to ensure they are happy. If you are a pet owner, it is crucial to ensure they are healthy and fit; an exercise routine is recommended. The practice goes hand in hand with a nutritious and well-balanced diet. Hence to start a fitness behavior, here are some tips that can help you get started.
Benefits of exercise
Like humans, dogs can suffer from obesity. Obesity is likely to occur if you overfeed and under-exercise your dog. In the US, obesity is expected, where 54% of dogs are suffering from obesity. Just because it’s common doesn’t mean it’s okay. Obesity affects your canine’s health by causing ailments in their liver, heart, and respiratory system. Also, it can affect their movement since the joints and tendons are weakened by obesity.
Dogs are also prone to behavioral issues such as destructive behavior. The behaviors include barking, digging around your backyard, and chewing on anything, including your shoes or slippers. Hence, to reduce such risks, it’s imperative you start exercising your dog. Also, it reduces the chances of your pet having chronic symptoms. Additionally, it allows them to be social while exploring their surroundings.
Exercising helps in the following ways:
- Keep dogs agile and limber
- Reduce tummy troubles
- Improve sleep quality
- Build confidence
Dogs need to be active. They are naturally subjected to Hunting, herding, or protecting. Every breed is ingrained with a particular purpose, none of which includes sleeping and eating. You owe it to help them reach their innate potential.
When to start exercising
It’s essential for you to first understand their life stage and fitness level before starting an exercise routine. For example, puppies under three months should have off-leash time on soft surfaces such as carpets and grass. However, the pups should use the stairs sparingly. Stairs can lead to hip dysplasia in puppies of certain breeds. You should also have long runs with your puppies when they are older, between 10 and 12 months. It ensures their growth plates are closed; hence they are fit and healthy for long runs.
How much exercise does my dog require?
Taking your dogs for daily walks is a great start. However, many dogs benefit from daily aerobic exercises and 30-minute walks. The aerobics include any routine that makes your dog pant, for example, swimming, jumping, running, and dancing.
It’s important to remember that senior dogs and puppies have unique needs. You need to consult your veterinarian before making any significant changes to your dog’s routine.
Activities for your dog by breed
Your best friend’s breed and size also affect the type and level of exercise you should try.
Here are some of the breeds and the best fitness exercises train you should undertake.
- Toy Breeds:
These little furry cuties are prone to obesity since they are often overlooked because of their size. But the good news is, toy breeds are super easy to exercise indoors.
- Pugs and Bulldogs:
These breeds have short or flat noses, which makes it hard for them to breathe. The exercises should be light, break when required, and refrain from exercising outside in hot and humid weather.
These are energetic dogs that do well with at least 60 minutes of exercise daily.
- Sight Hounds:
They are sprinters like Greyhounds and Whippets and are suited for short, intense bursts. They aren’t your best jogging buddies, but they excel at interval training.
- Herding Dogs:
They are herding dogs by nature and are easily bored. It means they require rigorous activity. Hence, they need to exercise twice a day for up to 2 hours.
Exercise Ideas for the Great Outdoors
Dog exercise is typically equated to dog walking. Although dog walking is ideal for every fitness regime, dog exercise should be fun and varied.
The walk can be fun when you incorporate different ideas like using different routes, having the dog have short interval training bursts, or letting the dog lead the way(on a leash).
There are plenty of activities you can practice outside with your pup. They include on-leash skating, running, and cycling. It is important to remember to stop when your dog wants to stop since they are not built for long-distance running.
You can create new ideas using household items like cardboard boxes and broomsticks to make jumping courses for your pups. It helps develop the dogs mentally and physically. Ensure you keep the jumps below your dog’s elbow level for safety.
You can also use balls and Frisbees for outdoor activities. Additionally, a dog park trip is essential for your dog to help it acquire social stimulation. You’ll enjoy watching your puppy and their new buds create their exercise games.
A series of indoor exercises are available for your pup. You can play a game of fetch on a large premise. Also, you can blow bubbles that your dog can chase or create an indoor food puzzle. The stairs are also a good option; dancing with your dog is also commendable. If you have a pool, you can opt for water therapy which creates a great indoor workout.
To provide social play for your dog, you can find out about any group options in your area. The group activities can include agility, tracking or flyball classes. It can be a better option if there are no doggie parks in the vicinity.
Since you already know that dogs are man’s best friend, you should give your puppy a chance to be your best workout buddy. Exercising together along with your dog is a wonderful bonding experience, and there are even studies that show that dog owners shed pounds quicker than individuals who do not own dogs. Exercising together with your dog should be fun and satisfactory for the parties involved. Additionally, adding a source of adventure will make it an exceptional experience for you and your pup.