Exercising regularly to stay healthy and fit is essential for dogs just as much as humans. Dogs must be given regular exercise no matter how busy we as dog owners may get, as exercising is one of their basic needs.
Generally, dogs are enthusiastic when it comes to walking or playing around, but they do need a little push when it comes to exercising.
To do it right, all dog owners must know a few things. This guide points out all the necessary factors on why and how much exercise dogs need.
Why Do Dogs Need Exercise?
Regular exercise helps keep dogs in good shape and improves their mental health. Dogs that exercise regularly are less likely to suffer from health-related issues such as obesity and arthritis, and it also improves their behavioural patterns.
Behavioural issues such as chewing furniture, social anxiety, and crying can be reduced as they engage themselves more in outdoor activities. Exercising also helps them to feel happy and less anxious.
Regular exercise is important for every dog, regardless of breed, size, or age. When you take your dog out for exercise, they learn to socialise, which can help reduce anxiety.
Exercising strengthens dogs’ muscles, keeps their joints lubricated, and eases pain.
How Much Exercise Do Dogs Need?
To help keep dogs healthy, most of them need to get at least one to two hours of daily exercise. However, it may depend more or less on your dog’s breed, age, and tolerance.
An adult Rhodesian Ridgeback or Border Collie might still want more even after four hours of agility a day, while a senior Shih Tzu might just want to loaf around.
You may have to go through some trial and error to discover the kind and amount of exercise your dog needs, as no two dogs are the same.
Start with little steps and slowly if you plan to get your dog on a new exercise program, as this will help your dog build tolerance.
It is best to avoid taking your dog out for activities on hot summer days; they also must have access to cool and fresh water. Always be on the lookout for signs of exhaustion, like panting and wheezing.
Your dog may also slow down or stop continuing the activities if they are exhausted. When you notice that your dog is tired, reduce or stop the exercise.
Puppies generally need a few short walks daily. Unlike adult dogs, puppies have additional energy that they exert through running around at fast speeds, and this is done spontaneously and normally called ‘zoomies.’
Adult dogs need daily exercises that range from 30 minutes up to at least 2 hours, depending on your dog’s health, age and breed.
How To Start Your Dog On A Regular Exercising Program?
Different types of exercise can be determined through on-leash and off-leash walking.
- On-leash keeps you in control and helps structure the walk. Ensure your dog is comfortable with leashes right since they were a pup.
- Off-leash allows your dog to explore their surroundings as they move at its own pace. The walk will also get more exciting as they move on their own, making your dog walk longer.
The first step to starting your dog for exercise is taking them to the vet and checking its weight. Ideally, your dog’s vet will advise you on how much exercise your dog will require based on its weight and health condition.
Ways To Exercise Your Dog
Dogs may get bored with similar kinds of exercises, so you must find new ways to keep them motivated.
Here are some ideas to keep your dog active:
Walk And Jog
The first step to training your dog for exercise is to take them for a walk. Walks should be short, for like 20 minutes at the initial stages, and then as days go on, the time can be gradually increased.
Change the routine from walking to running or jogging after your dog is completely comfortable with the daily walking routine.
Game Of Fetch
Playing the game of fetch can make your dog sweat while having fun. This activity is easy to train and also can be played anywhere.
Once your dog learns the skill, he will enjoy playing it.
Most dogs love and enjoy swimming, which is also great exercise. If your dog is not interested in swimming, you can try another activity they enjoy instead of forcing them.
In activities such as agility training, dogs can race through obstacles with hurdles and tunnels. This kind of training provides an excellent workout for your dog.
Do Not Over-Exercise Your Dog
Never take your dog for an intense workout if they are not used to regular exercise. This can strain their joints and bring about a lot of medical issues. This is why it is important to learn how much exercise your dog needs, depending on its age, size, and breed.
Knowing these basic factors can help you plan the perfect exercise routine for your dog that will be beneficial. If your dog exercises for longer periods than what’s recommended for them, they can easily become anxious and lethargic.
Do not exercise your dog in hot temperatures. This can cause them to overheat, resulting in terrible health conditions. Speak to your vet and receive guidelines on fitness goals for your dog.
Another great way to ensure your dog is getting its required exercise is by taking them out to some fun, dog-friendly places. It would surely add some excitement to the everyday routine.
Give your dog as much exercise as possible (don’t overdo it). Remember to make time for them even through your busy schedule, as it is an important duty as a dog owner.
You want your dog to be active and healthy as a dog owner. This can be achieved through regular exercise. It also reduces obesity and the risks of many illnesses in dogs and helps prolong their lives. Contact your dog’s vet if you notice any kind of sickness during exercise or even after.
You can also engage a professional dog trainer to help you ensure your dog gets the right amount of exercise in the right ways. As experts in the field, they would exactly what your dog needs to stay active and fit.