Fitness is as important to animals as it is to humans in light of health. Exercising sessions not only help us to bond with our pets but also aid in keeping them in shape. Considering our pets are dear to us, it is, therefore, essential to ensure that they exercise for wellbeing. With that said, you could be wondering, what are the best exercises for my pup? For how long should my dog exercise? Well, no worries as we’ll be looking into these questions, covering the recommended activities for dog exercise, the length of sessions, and the appropriate exercise activities for each dog age bracket.
Benefits of Physical Exercise for Dogs
The benefits that come with helping your dog exercise cannot be overemphasized, the primary one being enhancing physical fitness, which translates to improved health.
- Fosters physical fitness and good health
- Lightens up your pup’s mood
- Helps in relieving stress
- Helps you to bond with your pet
A dog that regularly engages in physical exercise seldom gets ill, and their mood is often lightened up. Also, dogs being confined are susceptible to becoming stressed, and engaging them in physical activities such as games help in relieving the stress. An additional benefit is that exercises help you to bond with your dog as you interact.
How Frequently Should a Dog Exercise?
You could be wondering, “How much exercise does my pup need?” The thing is, there’s no standard amount of exercise needed for a dog to remain healthy, as every dog is unique, and the exercising needs for each are dependent on several factors. Let’s have a look at these factors according to dog seniority brackets:
How Much Exercise Young Puppies Need
Similar to kids, puppies are more lively and energetic than senior dogs but have a small concentration span. With their energetic spirit, puppies require regular exercising, but with sufficient rest times in between sessions. On this note, it is important to monitor the onset of an energy burst, for example, when your puppy runs across the room, as this is the best time to engage them in exercising as in playing.
Extending exercising activities for puppies doesn’t work as they quickly become exhausted and, therefore, need for ample rest in between activities. Addressing the subject of frequency, playing is vital for your puppy’s growth, and exercising as frequently as possible is the best approach as long as your pup is in good shape to play. Given their energy, puppies often initiate playing, which is unlike adult and senior dogs, and therefore complying with their moods is a good approach to help them grow and keep fit.
However, you don’t want to push your puppy too hard, and always monitoring their behavior and physical response during games should be a good indicator of fatigue setting in or whether it is okay to continue. If you are interested, you can make arrangements with a sitter or in a pup daycare where your puppy will be engaged in physical activities and taken good care of.
How Much Exercise Healthy Adult Dogs Need
When it comes to healthy adult dogs, the exercise needs are majorly influenced by the breed of your dog. At this stage of their lives, dogs aren’t as playful as when they were younger, and therefore the level of their physical activities is somewhat reduced. Considering breed is the major influencers of their energies, there are breed dogs that are playful and require more exercising than others.
For instance, German shepherds are active and energetic compared to bulldogs, and therefore the former will require more playing to make for exercising. Depending on your schedule, you might find it difficult to exercise with your dog daily, but ensure that your dog exercises as many times as possible, depending on their energy level. If you are not that much available, you can hire a dog with a pup sitter or professionals in a daycare.
An important note to consider, dogs do not have the verbal ability to say they are tired in a way that we can comprehend, but their bodily movements and behavior should serve as an indicator of when to stop exercising. The main idea behind exercising is to keep your pup fit and happy, pushing them too much may achieve the inverse results. On some occasions, you might have to consult with your vet to evaluate the needs of your pup and determine what activities will work best for your dog.
Exercise Requirements for Senior Pups
Similar to human beings, senior dogs are not that much energetic given their body, which is gradually weakening because of aging. On that note, it is vital to analyze the exercising needs of your specific dog carefully. Also, seniority in dogs is the most diverse pup age bracket, and therefor different pups present varying exercising needs. For instance, you might find specific breeds of senior dogs are considerably energetic than other breeds.
Medical conditions are also a huge determinant when figuring out the ideal exercising activity for a senior dog. Whether a senior dog is highly energetic or not, it is important to choose activities that are not overly rigorous to prevent fast and extreme exhaustion during exercising. At this level, you have gotten to understand your pup better and can tell the variation in their moods and feelings, and this is one of the major things that can help you know the level of exercising your dog can handle, reading their behavior.
Even with the precautions, it is also important to consider your vet’s input regarding the best exercising activities, as senior dogs are a little more sensitive and require extra care to ensure their wellness.
9 Activities to Engage Your Dog in Exercising
Given the playful nature of dogs, the best way to help them exercise is by engaging them in games. The engaging and rigorous nature of most pet games helps them to work out and stay in shape. Following are nine great ways you can help you pup exercise:
Hire a Trusted Dog Walker
If you are often engaged at your workplace and do not have time to take your dog for a walk personally, you can opt to hire a trusted pup walker who’ll help you at it. Several short walks are ideal for puppies, while a few long walks are great for both adult and senior dogs. As a security measure, it is good to restrain dogs using a leash during walks more so in busy environments as it is easier to restrain their movement. However, this might not be necessary for open settings such as parks.
Play Games in the Dog Park
Whenever you have the time, taking your pup to the dog park is a great idea for exercising and hanging out together. You can take a walk with your pup in the dog park, play a few games such as fetch or even do some racing. Getting out of the home settings goes a long way in lightening up a dog’s mood, given the change in environment.
Visit the Doggie Daycare
There are days where you are tightly engaged in errands and are short of time. It is during such days that leaving your pup in a doggie daycare is a viable option. You don’t want to leave your pet all alone at home the entire day without her having any engaging activity. In a pup daycare, there are several activities specifically designed to help dogs keep fit besides being taken good care of by trained and trusted personnel.
Play Games With a Flirt Pole
Using a flirt pole to exercise your pup is an activity that subjects them to rigorous physical activity, which works great in helping them keep fit. Playing with a flirt pole is not space intensive, and is a great game for individuals who do not have large open spaces. Also, the safety concerns associated are not that intensive, and therefore you can be confident of your pup’s safety when playing.
Get Your Pup an Interactive Toy
There are numerous interactive toys on the market, custom-designed to keep dogs active, especially when you are not around. Dogs play with interactive toys, and in so doing, they engage in physical activity that translates to exercising. It is a great option when you have errands to do as you don’t need to take part in the game. It is a good exercising activity more so for indoor settings and is ideal for puppies, adults, and senior dogs.
Go Bikejoring With Your Dog
Bikejoring is considered by many as the dry land sled racing and is a fun activity that enables you to exercise your dog as well as have a good time to interact. The activity entails a pup running ahead of a cyclist while attached to a towline. The rigorousness of this outdoor play makes it a good option for engaging your pup in exercising. However, it is essential to exercise precautions whenever bikejoring considering the possibility of accidents occurring. For instance, avoid bikejoring on busy streets, uneven terrain, and in areas where there are dense obstacles. Also, ensure that you wear the proper safety gear for protection in the event of an accident.
Play Fetch With Your Pup
Dogs are playful animals, and every opportunity to play is an opportunity to exercise. Ball fetching is a fun and engaging activity that presents an opportunity for you to bond with your pet and exercise. It is among the safest exercising options great for dogs of all age brackets. You can play fetch on your lawn, backyard, or at the park. Also, it is an affordable option considering all you need is a ball suitable for the activity or any other similar toy.
Play Fling the Frisbee
Flinging the Frisbee is somewhat similar to playing fetch in terms of the concept. The difference, in this case, is that you use a Frisbee in place of a ball or any similar toy. It is an engaging game good for exercising your dog as your pup runs up and down, catching the Frisbee and bringing it back to you. The game increases the body activity, and therefore it ultimately helps your pup stay in shape.
Take Your Canine Pal Swimming
Swimming is a rigorous activity that largely promotes fitness for both humans and pups. If you are into water activities, this is a cool exercising activity for you and your pup. However, it is important to take precautions as appropriate gear is essential, more so for your pup. If your pet buddy is not very good at swimming, they might not be in very good shape to swim for long, and might become fatigued in water. For this reason, you should consider getting a pup life jacket to ensure the safety of your pet.
The Bottom Line
Dogs, being the closest and most loyal human companions, are playful pets that require frequent enjoyments to keep fit. Similarly to humans, pups that are not physically fit are susceptible to health problems and are often dull and unhappy. The best way to ensure that your pup exercises is through playing. Playing not only lightens up their mood but also allows them to exercise and stay in shape. Another advantage is that you also get to interact and bond with your canine buddy.
Though there’s a wide array of activities you can engage in with your dog for exercising, some are suitable for all dogs of all age brackets while some are not. It is important to pick games that are safe for your pup, depending on medical condition, size, and age. Given the safety concern, ensure that both you and your pup have the proper safety equipment whenever necessary. Which is your favorite pup exercising game? How often do you exercise with your dog? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.