The Importance of Exercise for Dogs

Exercise for Dogs

Exercise is as important for dogs as it is to humans. Ensuring that your dog gets the right amount of exercise will go a long way for their health.

Benefits of Exercise for Dogs

Dogs are a lot like people in many ways. For instance, a sedentary lifestyle is bad for them, while exercise can help ward away illness and diseases, making them feel great. Because of this, exercising your dog is important, up to a point that there are even proposed laws that require dog exercise to be mandatory on an everyday basis.

The right exercise program will help ensure a long, happy, and healthy life for your pet. Here are some exercises you can do with your dog to keep him fast and fit.

Common Exercise for Dogs

Walking

One of the healthiest and the most effective forms of exercise for dogs and other pets is walking. It is easy, enjoyable, and simple, so there is no need for special equipment when you want to take your pet out for his daily walk.

You will also benefit as much from taking your dog on its daily walk. In fact, many consider it as one of the best perks of dog ownership. In 2008, the Health Promotion Journal of Australia reported that dog-owning families have half the risk of childhood obesity compared to those with no dogs. Researchers from the University of Western Australia also noted that 70 percent of dog owners get at least 150 minutes of exercise per week, while only 40 percent of non-dog owners get the same amount.

In order to make the best out of walking for exercise, plan on at least 30 minutes each day. Making it a daily routine will be even more beneficial, especially when you walk your dog at the same time every day. He will come to expect his daily walks from you and will not hesitate to give you a nudge when you feel lazy or if you’re trying to slack off.

Swimming

Another good exercise for dogs is swimming. Dogs are natural swimmers and are born with swimming instincts. However, that does not necessarily mean that they like doing it. Some dogs tend to be wary of water, while others are more drawn to it.

If your dog likes swimming, be glad; it’s a great form of exercise. It offers great aerobic conditioning but without the impact stress that comes of running. This low impact exercise can be beneficial for elderly dogs who are suffering from arthritic joints.

As it is with swimming, you do have to be careful of where your dog swims. Lakes or ponds that have lots of algae growth or high volumes of dead fish could contain bacteria that may be harmful to your pets. If your dog swims in a chlorinated pool, there is also a chance that the chlorine could irritate your dog’s skin. To avoid this, a quick rinse-off with a hose is best.

Interactive Activities

For most dogs, any type of exercise can be fun, which is more than what we can say about the majority of humans. However, even dogs get more excited when their humans are doing activities with them. Interactive activities like fetching and Frisbee offer exercise benefits for you and your dog. Understanding dog body language will also be much easier as you do more of these activities. This type of exercise for dogs serves as great bonding opportunity that can be as much of an enjoyable experience for you.

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Dog Exercise

Limit Exercise

There is too much of a good thing when it comes to exercise. Too little physical activity can be a bad thing, but too much activity can be just as bad. Watch out for some of the following indicators to know whether or not your pet is getting the right amount of exercise.

Too little exercise would show the following:

  • Pudginess
  • Hyperactivity, including
    • Excessive chewing
    • Digging
    • Barking
  • Improper elimination

Too much exercise shows the following:

  • Lagging or sudden stops to lie down
  • Excessive panting, wheezing, or shortness of breath
  • Visible signs of distress or agitation
  • Signs of lameness

Dogs, on average, spend around an hour or two for exercise every day. However, take into consideration other variables including your pet’s age, overall health, and breed in order to tailor his exercise regime according to his specific needs.

Short-nosed breeds like pugs and bulldogs are less tolerant of aerobic exercises such as running, swimming, and walking compared to long-snouted breeds like collies and retrievers.

Older dogs also need less exercise than younger ones. Just like humans, they become more fragile as they age. In general, however, an adult dog is the most tolerant of exercise compared to elderly pets and young pups.

Other temporary factors, like heat and humidity, can also impact the amount of exercise that dogs can tolerate. Higher temperatures mean that they will be less akin to running, although do remember to keep them hydrated so that they will not experience dehydration.

Make use of common sense

Like yourself, your dog is a unique individual, so tailor an exercise regime best suited for him. Take into account his conditions when starting a program. Remember, if your dog is out of shape or overweight, give him a slow start and ease him in to his new exercise routine, or else he will be facing more health problems when his body cannot adjust properly.

When it comes to exercising, a happy, healthy lifestyle is the end game, so focus on a regular exercise routine for both you and your pet.

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