10 Ways to Ensure Your Dog Gets Enough Exercise
By Sviat Oleksiv | Updated on Mar 21, 2023
Did you know regular exercise is essential for your furry friend's overall health and happiness?
But we understand it can be tough to fit in with our busy schedules and unpredictable weather.
We’ve put together ten ways you can exercise your pup, whether you're inside or out.
Sound good? Let's dive in!
Get your dog walking at least once a day.
So, how often should you walk your pup?
Puppies and older dogs might need more frequent, shorter walks, while younger, energetic dogs could use longer, more intense ones.
Some dogs might need more or less exercise, and the type of walk (a leisurely stroll vs. a power walk) can also make a difference.
Here are some perks of taking your dog for a walk:
- Cardiovascular exercise: Walking can keep your dog’s heart and lungs healthy.
- Weight management: Regular walks can help prevent obesity, a common health issue for dogs.
- Mental stimulation: Going on walks can give your dog a chance to explore new sights, sounds, and smells, which can keep their minds engaged and fight boredom.
- Socialization: Walking is a great way to give them the opportunity to build their confidence and social skills.
Playing fetch is a fun way to exercise your dog.
If your dog loves chasing after things, this is the perfect game for them!
You will need a ball or frisbee to throw. Your dog will run after whatever you throw and happily bring it back to you.
Playing fetch is fun and a great form of exercise for your dog, and an excellent way to spend quality time with your pup. They get to run, jump and burn off those extra calories, essential for boosting their cardiovascular health, improving their coordination, and overall health and happiness.
Besides the physical benefits, fetch also:
- provides mental stimulation for your do
- enhance your dog’s problem-solving skills
- helps with socialization and bonding
- and teach your dog to follow your lead.
Just remember to use safe toys suitable for your dog's breed and size and supervise the game to ensure safety for both of you.
Go for a run with your dog.
Have you tried taking your dog for a run?
It's a great way to keep them active and mentally stimulated. Here are things to bear in mind when planning to run with your dog:
- Check with your vet to ensure your dog is healthy enough to run.
- Get your vet's advice on how much exercise they can handle.
- Start slow and gradually build up your dog's endurance over time.
- Make sure your dog has a comfortable harness and leash for safety.
- Avoid running during the hottest hours of the day.
Go hiking with your dog.
Hiking is a great way to get your dog moving and expose them to new sights and smells. Plus, it's a chance to bond while enjoying the great outdoors.
Hiking is a really low-impact activity perfect for dogs of all ages and fitness levels. It's great for their heart health, muscles, and mental stimulation. Just check the trail's rules before you go - some places might have dog leash requirements or size restrictions.
Bring plenty of water and snacks for your doggy. Ensure you're picking up their waste along the way. Monitor your dog's energy levels and take breaks if necessary. And watch out for any hazards on the trail, too - you don't want your pup hurt!
Go swimming with your dog.
Swimming is a fantastic workout for dogs because it's easy on their joints, and many breeds love it, especially those bred for water activities like retrievers, spaniels, and Newfoundlands.
When dogs swim, they work out all their major muscle groups - legs, chest, back, and core - which can help them get stronger and more flexible and improve their cardiovascular fitness.
Swimming is also an excellent way to help dogs lose weight, particularly if they're carrying extra pounds.
Just a heads up, not all dogs are natural swimmers, so it's essential to supervise and even train them if necessary. And when your dog is swimming, ensure they're relaxed and have a life vest or flotation device to keep them safe.
Also, watch for any signs of exhaustion or dangerous conditions like strong currents or choppy waters.
Bring your dog into a dog park for some playtime.
Dog parks are fantastic places!
This is where dogs can run and play with other dogs without being on a leash. They're usually enclosed, so the dogs and the community stay safe.
Dog parks are super crucial for a dog's mental health because they let them interact with other dogs.
Dogs are social animals, after all!
Playing with other dogs teaches them how to communicate and behave better.
Not only that, but dog parks are also great for getting exercise to avoid bad behavior like chewing or feeling anxious. Introduce them to other dogs slowly and always keep an eye on them while they play.
But not all dogs are comfortable at dog parks. Some might be nervous around other dogs or even become aggressive. So, before you take your pup to a dog park, ensure they have the temperament for it.
Enroll your dog in agility training.
Have you ever considered agility training for your dog?
It's a fun and challenging activity involving running through obstacles like tunnel jumps, weave poles, and seesaws. It’s a great way to give your dog a good workout and help them build their muscles and stamina.
Agility training helps:
- improve your dog's problem-solving skills
- improve their ability to focus on a given task
- and build confidence and trust between you.
The best part?
You can do agility training indoors or outdoors and modify the course to fit your dog's size and ability level.
If you're interested in giving agility training a try, look for local classes, or you can set up your own course in your backyard using household items. Start with simple obstacles and gradually increase the difficulty as your dog gets more comfortable with the training.
Take your dog along for a bike ride.
A bike ride with your dog is a great way to exercise while enjoying the outdoors but before hitting the road, remember to ensure your dog stays safe and comfortable:
- Make sure your dog is comfortable around bikes.
- Start by walking your bicycle with your dog.
- Start riding slowly and gradually increase your speed.
- Use a properly fitted harness and a hands-free leash.
- Choose a route that matches your dog's fitness level.
- Take plenty of breaks.
- Avoid biking during the hottest parts of the day.
Try enrolling your dog in a doggy daycare.
Doggy daycare is a safe place for dogs to play, socialize, and exercise with other dogs. It's perfect for pet owners with long work hours or other commitments that keep them away from their dogs during the day.
Different doggy daycare facilities offer various services, but they all have trained staff to watch over the dogs and ensure they're not getting into trouble. Most doggy daycares have enclosed spaces for your dogs to play and interact with each other.
Enrolling your dog in a doggy daycare can help reduce their anxiety or aggression towards other dogs. Plus, the exercise and playtime they get can help prevent destructive behavior at home.
If you're considering enrolling your dog in a doggy daycare, research and visit different facilities in person. You'll want to check their reputation and quality of service by reading reviews from other customers.
Also ensure your dog's vaccinations are up-to-date since some facilities require proof of vaccination.
Consider indoor activities.
When the weather is yucky, or you can't take your dog outside, indoor activities can still give them a good workout.
Here are some ideas:
- Hide-and-seek: Hide treats around the house and let your pup sniff them out.
- Tug-of-war: This classic game of pulling a rope back and forth.
- Training exercises: Teach your dog new tricks or practice obedience training for an invigorating workout.
- Stair exercises: If you have stairs in your house, your dog can get some exercise by running up and down them or chasing a toy.
- Indoor fetch: Play fetch with soft toys or foam balls to avoid damage to your home.
Just remember that not all indoor activities are suitable for all dogs. If your dog has joint issues, be cautious with running or jumping activities.
Taking your dog out regularly for exercise is crucial to being a responsible pet owner. It keeps your furry buddy healthy and happy and strengthens the bond between you. Don't let bad weather or a busy schedule stop you from giving your dog the exercise they need. Start today and enjoy the benefits of having a happy and healthy pup!