Are the neighbors complaining because Fido barks all day while you’re at work? Does he seem a little too busy when you’re home, delving into forbidden treasures and activities? Is your pooch getting a little paunchy? All these issues suggest your dog may need more exercise. Here is how to provide him with the activity and stimulation he needs.
Know your dog’s needs
All dogs need some level of exercise, but physical activity requirements vary based on breed, age and other sorts of characteristics. Since every breed is different, you should become familiar with your dog’s exercise requirements. For instance, small, sedentary breeds may be perfectly content lounging most of the day with a quiet stroll around the block or a game of indoor fetch stimulating enough to be fit and content. However, working breeds often require substantial activity with some studies showing very energetic dog breeds thriving with over a 90 minutes of exercise every day. Do you have a mutt? This can make things more complicated, but listen to what your dog is telling you to know if he’s getting enough time romping. If he’s acting up or getting pudgy, you should step things up a notch.
It’s more than fitness
Without enough exercise, your dog can experience other issues. According to some experts, without sufficient activity your dog can have increased anxiety, won’t age as well, can become apathetic, and may develop behavioral problems. Exercise offers an opportunity to bond with your pet, play and work on any training issues as well. If you struggle with providing a hardy workout, your dog may benefit from a backyard dog run. If you have enough room for one, some experts point out an outdoor dog run is a terrific option. It’s less expensive than fencing your entire yard, it’s normally secure so your dog can’t escape. Alternatively, there’s always the neighborhood dog park. A dog park is a great way for your pet to run around and socialize with other canines. A lot of cities even offer enclosed dog parks, which also helps with containment if your dog is a runner. Remember, if you do opt to visit a dog park, follow general safety rules and keep an eye out for aggressiveness in your dog or others dogs, and try to keep your pet away from an animal that appears sick.
Ease into it
Before you jump into a canine fitness regimen, Women’s Health suggests talking with your dog’s veterinarian. Your pet’s doctor can warn you about any concerns regarding your individual dog’s health. And remember, just like with people, dogs can get tired or sore from going at a new workout routine too hard. Ease into your new workout program and watch your dog for signs he’s overdoing it, like stopping more frequently, an unhappy demeanor, or acting more sluggish. When preparing for your outdoor exercises, also be sure you have the right equipment. For instance a well-chosen dog leash is comfortable for your pooch and easy for you to use.
Break up the routine
There are lots of things you can do with your dog that provide great exercise. If you’re looking to spice things up, K9 Magazine recommends a game of tug-o-war with an old T-shirt, playing Frisbee, or doing some “doga” (dog yoga) with your pooch. As The Bark explains, doga provides the added benefit of giving your furry family member a good onceover on a regular basis, so you’ll notice any new lumps, bumps or other issues.
Sometimes, there are other ways you can address your dog’s fitness. If your dog’s breed athleticism requirement is normally couch potato level, you may need to simply cut some calories. This can mean a lighter food, less snacks, or a reduced quantity of the same food. You can also do simple activities such as hide your dog’s toys in various places around the house. Just needing to look for favorites in new places is enough to keep a lazy breed busy and burning a few additional calories.
Healthy and happy
Keeping your dog fit is more than a physical concern. Providing enough exercise and stimulation also keeps your pooch from becoming stressed and developing behavioral problems. Get to know your dog’s requirements and then take steps to get Fido fit!