Fun Exercises to Keep Your Dog Healthy and Fit
Updated: Jul 29, 2022
Dogs have naturally high energy, which they need to expend. Otherwise, it can result in behavioural problems, such as excessive barking, licking, digging, chewing, and other anxiety-related behaviours, and various health conditions. One of the healthiest to use their energy is through dog or puppy exercises whether at home or in a dog park nearby.
Like humans, dogs need regular exercise, too, no matter their breed, age, or size. Many studies have proven that a tired dog is more behaved, calm, focused, and understanding. Additionally, dogs that engage in regular exercise are the happiest and healthiest. Exercising is a great way to help your dogs build trust and confidence in you. Moreover, it does not only benefit them—but it is also beneficial for your health.
Here are several reasons to engage your dog in physical activities:
Anxiety is not only a common mental health problem in humans — dogs can suffer from it as well. It can manifest in various ways, from barking and whining to shivering and whimpering, as well as destructive behaviours. Engaging in physical activities can help your furry friend combat anxiety. Exercise helps the brain release more endorphins in your dog's system, melting away the feelings of restlessness and anxiety. Fur parents who make sure to keep their dogs physically fit are less likely to come home to a chewed-up shoe or couch.
Obesity can make your dog less active and vulnerable to diabetes, heart conditions, joint problems, and depression. To ensure that your dog stays physically healthy and fit, make sure to take them to the vet for assessment of their current weight and target weight goal. The vet will recommend an exercise program personalized for your dog. This will help improve your dog's metabolism, making fat management easier, as well as reverse the effects of obesity.
Prevent Premature Ageing
Studies show that inactive dogs are more prone to premature aging. Exercise helps sharpen their mind and ward off age-related diseases. While it is essential for old dogs to stay active, make sure to adjust their daily exercise routine according to their level of energy.
Flush Out Toxins
Working muscles help support the lymphatic system in getting rid of metabolic by-products and toxins. Inactivity cause toxins to back up and suffocate the cells. By engaging the muscles in exercise activities, it pumps out the toxins out of the body, leaving your pet feel physically invigorated and more mentally alert. Walking, running, or hiking enables the muscles to promote lymphatic circulation and the working muscles ensures continuous flow of toxins out from the body.
Fun Exercises for Your Dogs
Keeping your dog healthy and fit is one of the responsibilities of a fur parent. Like you, a regular exercise routine is crucial for your dog to maintain a healthy weight and active lifestyle. To ensure the health and fitness of your dog, here are some exercises they can do with their owners:
Too lazy to exercise? Run with your dog! Dog are naturally creatures of habit and getting your pooch into a morning run routine can help you keep up with your weekly mileage. You do not only enjoy the outdoors but also boost you and your dog’s muscle strength and stamina.
Renowned veterinarian, educator, and author on domestic and wildlife animals, Lucy Speman said, “Remember it is your dog’s outing. You should be willing to stop when the dog wants to stop — to sniff and greet other dogs and people — even if this slows you down.”
Avoid having your dog run in the heat since they do not sweat as humans do. If you are running with a Pug, Boston Terrier, or other flat-faced breeds, keep it under 5 miles since taking in air is a bit difficult for them.
Hiking with your dog gives your furry friends an opportunity to explore nature on a deeper level than just taking your dog for a walk around the neighbourhood. The best way to kick start your hiking activity with your pet is taking them on short day hikes on a cooler day. Also, avoid taking your dog on challenging trails with rough terrains until your pet gets used to easy to moderate hikes. Do not forget to bring plenty of water to keep you and your dog hydrated. You can also let your dog take their own backpack, but make sure it is not too heavy for them to carry.
A simple game of fetch is a great addition to your dog’s exercise routine since you can easily squeeze it into your busy schedule. You can take your dog to a nearby dog park or even in your backyard for a quick game of fetch. Also, you can easily train your dog how to play the game. You simply need a ball or a stick to throw and ask your dog to get it for you. Your pet will eventually learn the skill, making the game more fun for both of you.
Fetch can also be a great indoor exercise for your dogs during rainy days. You can play fetch on the stairs using toys that bounce. This encourages your pet to run up and down the stairs and use up their energy.
Have your dog run beside you while your cycling. Biking is a form of aerobic exercise which helps your dog’s brain to produce more serotonin, which reduces anxiousness or aggressiveness. It also helps your dog to become more calm and relaxed. Note that this form of exercise is perfect for high-energy dog breeds but can be dangerous for low-energy ones.
Like hiking, make sure to start at a slow speed, so they can eventually adapt to running and keep up with the speed. Avoid twists and turns and ride as slowly as possible during the first time. Make sure your dog is leashed to bicycle attachment so you do not have to hold it during the whole ride.
Swimming is a good exercise for dogs. This weightless exercise is ideal for dogs with arthritis, making them enjoy the activity. Contrary to popular belief, not all dogs are good swimmers. Some even hate to swim. However, if you have a dog that loves water, let your pooch swim and enjoy it.
Teach your pooch to swim by taking them in a swimming pool or on the beach or any place safe for dogs to swim. Make sure they wear a doggie life jacket and start in shallow water until your pooch gets the hang of it and is fine on their own. You can even add a game of fetch to make swimming more fun. However, if your pup does not like the water, never push them to swim.
Take them to the Park
Dogs are social animals that love to meet, greet, and get along with other dogs. Taking them to a dog park allows them to interact with other canines and start playing their own doggie games. You can also take their favourite toys in case there are no other dogs in the park.
Dog-Friendly Boot Camp
Fitness classes for both dogs and their owners have become increasingly popular over the years. The class includes running through high-intensity moves to enhance your strength, balance, and cardio, while your dog practices obedience drills. While the boot camp focuses more on the person's workout, it will also help your furry friend to feel more comfortable in a distracting environment.
Walking with your dog is good for both your health and your dog's. You and your pet get to reap the same health benefits, including improved cardiovascular fitness, reduce blood pressure, strengthen bones and muscles, and lower stress and prevent various health conditions, such as obesity, osteoarthritis, heart problems, and insulin resistance. Dog and puppy walking also allows them to explore and check out the sights and smells.
The dog's playful nature makes exercising an effortless activity. Doing different fun physical activities with your dog to keep them motivated. Doing the same exercise routine over and over again can eventually get your dog bored.
Before you start with your dog's exercise routine, make sure to take your pet to the veterinary clinic near you. The vet will assess the dog's current health condition and weight and help you plan the right exercise regimen.
Let your dog set their pace when exercising. Make sure to give them breaks to drink water and rest. Never take your dog for outdoor exercise in hot temperatures, especially short-muzzled breeds, senior dogs, or those with health conditions. Also, be alert for signs of exhaustion or injury. When in doubt, stop exercising and take them to the vet.
How Much Exercise Your Dog Needs
While your pet needs daily exercise, each dog has unique exercise needs. The level of exercise a dog requires depends on various factors, including breed, age, body type, and current health condition. Veterinarians recommend that dogs should get between 30 minutes to 2 hours of physical activity every day to stay healthy. Collies, shepherds, retrievers, and other large dog breeds need the most exercise while smaller dogs, such as Shih Tzu, terriers, and Pomeranians, do not need as much. Moreover, pugs, bulldogs, and other flat-faced breeds do not need a significant amount of exercise daily.
Keep in mind that you have a responsibility to ensure the health and fitness of your dog. Unfortunately, the demands of your job or household chores can take much of your time and prevent you from exercising with your dog. Luckily, there are professional dog walkers in Etobicoke and Toronto that you can hire to take your place in the meantime.
Hot Diggity Dogs offers on-leash and off-leash dog walking services in Etobicoke and nearby areas to ensure that your pooch can get the socializing and exercise they need to stay healthy and fit. Call us today at (647) 901-9103 to book an appointment, or use our contact form to send us a message.