Above almost anything else, diet and exercise will be the key contributors to how our future well-being plays out. These two life-giving stalwarts are as old as time immemorial. For dogs, it’s a very similar story.
There are dependencies, and, if you’re considering getting a dog for the first time, the breed of your pet matters. When it comes to exercise, not all dogs are equal. Some dogs need far more exercise than others.
Read on to learn the tricks and tips you need to keep your dog happy and fit as we delve into the world of dog exercise.
How Much Exercise Does a Dog Need?
Knowing how much exercise your dog needs seems simple but you may as well ask, how long is a piece of string? Exercise depends on the age, breed, size and physical well-being of your dog. An average adult dog that’s in good health will need anything from between 30 and 60 minutes of exercise every day.
Puppies tend to tear around at full throttle before collapsing in an exhausted heap. You should keep walks short and regular. One long walk each day can be too tough on a puppy’s developing body. Bear in mind that exercise is a great way to train and socialize a new dog.
Exercise by Breed and Physical Well-Being
There are some breeds of dogs that have far more energy than others. Border Collies and Belgian Malinois are the athletes of the dog world. They could seem to run forever without ever tiring.
Border Collies, in particular, are highly intelligent. Many can pick up a new command in under five repetitions and follow it more than 95 percent of the time. They need the mental stimulation of the outdoors. The more interactive their experience, the better.
Bulldogs, Shih Tzus and Basset Hounds lie at the other end of the scale. They’re unlikely to want to compete in a race against their more athletic chums.
Your dog’s physical health is also another factor to consider. This may be especially important if you’re planning to take in a rescue dog. Some dogs suffer from conditions like hip dysplasia or have heart and respiratory issues. Seek advice beforehand about what kinds of exercise might be most appropriate.
Your Dog’s Age
If you’ve had a dog all their life, you’re going to know best how far they prefer to walk.
Senior dogs may not be able to run as far as they once did. However, just as it is for elderly humans, taking some exercise is really important for a senior dog.
Exercise offers all dogs the opportunity for some mental stimulation. Golden Retrievers, Dobermans and Pomeranians, like many other breeds of dog, need this in the same way we humans need to keep our minds active as we grow older.
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Exercise keeps dogs fit and healthy. It can help keep them living longer and stave off obesity and the risks associated with it.
10 Different Ways to Exercise Your Dog
First up, If you want your dog to get more exercise by joining you in a new hobby like cycling or running, you must increase their fitness level incrementally to avoid any injury or illness.
Like us, every dog has their own personality and passions. So, ensure your dog enjoys the kinds of exercise you’re planning for them. To give you inspiration, here are a few ideas:
This should be part of every dog’s daily routine. Most dogs will benefit from at least 1 or 2 walks every day. A brisk walk will allow them to burn off energy and calories whilst a slower meander lets your dog sniff and explore – which is great for their mental health.
If your dog enjoys the water, go for it! Swimming is great for joints and it’s an extremely low-impact activity.
Remember to take things slowly if you’re introducing your dog to running with you. Try a gentle jog followed by some brisk walking to start with.
- Playing Fetch
This is a game made for dogs. Try to use frisbees or toys rather than sticks which can cause injury. Tug of war, hide and seek or hiding a toy to sniff out are other great options that you can also play indoors
Hiking is a great way to spend time with your dog but prepare well. Ensure you plan the route carefully, ensure that it’s not too long and remember to take plenty of snacks and water for both you and your pet. Take regular breaks.
This is an actual dog sport. It’s ideal for fit dogs that have a lot of energy or an extremely active brain. It involves obstacle courses and catching balls. Belgium hosted the Flyball Open World Cup in 2022 at a venue close to the border with the Netherlands. There are plenty of other competitions going on throughout the year.
This is an excellent way to exercise high-energy dogs like Dalmatians, Huskies and Pointers. You should always build up your dog’s fitness gradually. Remember, a dog will always try to keep up with you no matter how tired they are! Have plenty of water at the ready.
Learning something new should always be on every dog’s daily agenda. It helps keep their minds active, reinforces your commands, stops boredom and is a useful way for owners to bond with their pets.
You can definitely practise yoga with a dog. In a similar way to training, it’s a good way to keep your dog’s mind active, cut out boredom and bond with your dog. Try yoga at home or see if there are any local classes near where you live.
- Indoor Games
There are plenty of activities for your dog to enjoy at home, from running up and down stairs to using a treadmill when the weather’s bad. Hide and seek, tug of war and agility games are all great options.
Exercise for Dogs to Stay Healthy
There’s no question that regular exercise is good for healthy dogs.
If you have concerns that your dog is not enjoying their exercise routine, please get in touch with us. One of our highly qualified team will be happy to talk things through.
We’ve lots more useful pet-related articles in our blog section. Find out here about how to protect your dog from ticks!
Do you still have any questions about how to exercise your dog? Then schedule a video consultation with one of our qualified vets!