For any dog, exercise is of paramount importance. It is not just a nicety. It is a necessity for maintaining the optimal mental and physical well being of your pet. A lot of dogs nowadays are overweight, which can make it more difficult for them to deal with heat, as well as decreasing their stamina and speed. Obesity can also cause a vast array of medical issues. This includes increasing the risk of some cancers, whelping issues, skin problems, increased surgical risks, trouble breathing cardiac problems, back issues, increased risk of torn ligaments, and overly burdened joints. With that in mind, it is clear to see that exercise is important for any pet pup. So, let’s find out whether your dog is getting enough exercise, as well as some advice on how to make sure your dog is as active as is required.
SIGNS YOUR DOG IS NOT GETTING ENOUGH EXERCISE
Knowing whether or not your dog is getting enough exercise can be difficult. However, there are some clear signs you should look out for. These are as follows:
- Irritating and annoying behavior – Let’s be frank; sometimes dogs can be a little bit frustrating! They won’t leave you alone, and their unwanted behavior can drive you a bit mad. It is important to recognise that they are not doing this on purpose. In most cases, they have too much energy and they need some exercise. After all, a good dog is often one that is tired.
- Pulling at the leash – This is not a definitive sign that your dog is lacking in exercise. There are some dogs that simply don’t have any leash manners. Nevertheless, this can be another sign that they have too much energy. Why not try wearing your dog out a little bit with some play time before you go for a controlled walk? If your dog is bursting with energy, the walk is going to be anything but controlled.
- Depression or sluggishness – When you exercise, how do you feel? Exercise is a great mood booster. It can leave us feeling revitalized and refreshed, and the same goes for your pet pooch. Exercise isn’t just about physical fitness. It is about emotional and mental health too. Your dog can easily become depressed if it is not getting any exercise. Nonetheless, a loss of interest can also be the sign of a more serious condition, so it is a good idea to talk to your vet if you are concerned about your pet.
- Excessive barking – If your dog is barking way more than usual, this could mean that they are anxious. It could also mean that your dog has a lot of pent-up energy and is bored.
- Restlessness – Do you find that your pup paces around the room while you are trying to clean or get work done? Does your dog seem to be up a lot throughout the evening? If your dog can’t sleep and is restless, this is a sign that they have too much energy left to burn.
- Weight gain – Weight gain is one of the easiest symptoms to spot when it comes to a lack of exercise amongst dogs. Just like humans, if your dog doesn’t exercise enough and eats too much, they are going to put on weight. And, again, just like humans, this is more common when a dog gets older, as they naturally slow down with age. If you have noticed that your dog has put on quite a bit of weight, it is time to get more exercise into its regime. If you believe your dog’s weight gain is very unusual and has happened rapidly, this could be the sign of a certain disorder or disease, so you should talk to your veterinarian as soon as possible.
- Rough play – Yes, some dogs are a little bit rougher than others. However, if your dog seems to have lost self-control and is always engaging in rough play, it is likely that they have too much energy. Structured exercise opportunities will be exceptionally beneficial.
Destructive behavior – Last but not least, have you come home to overturned rubbish bins? Perhaps your shoes have been chewed or your dining table is scratched? A bored dog can often become destructive, and exercise can be one of the best solutions to his problem.
HOW TO MAKE SURE YOUR DOG GETS ENOUGH EXERCISE
If you have noticed any of the signs that have been mentioned above, it is vital to make sure your dog starts getting more exercise. Of course, this can often be a lot easier said than done. After all, if you are someone that is time poor, making sure your dog gets the activity it requires can be a challenge. However, it is not impossible. Here are some tips to help you tackle your dog’s lack of exercise:
- Get someone or something else to do the work for you – You don’t have to be solely responsible for your dog’s exercise. Do you live with a partner or have children? If so, why not set up a schedule for dog walks, ensuring that everyone does their bit. This is a great way to make sure that your dog gets the exercise it needs while also sharing the load. Plus, your dog will love the attention from the entire family. Another way to make sure your dog gets activity when it feels restless yet you are unavailable or can’t be bothered is to invest in the best automatic ball launcher of 2018. You don’t need to worry about throwing balls around the garden; there is a machine that does it for you. This will give your dog a great workout while minimizing the effort on your behalf. Moreover, if you are single, or you and your partner work long hours, why not pay someone to walk your dog instead? This is especially beneficial if your pups are going to be cooped up inside all day long.
- Include mental stimulation – As already mentioned in this post, exercising is as much about the mental as it is the physical. Not only do you need to give your dog physical activities, but you should focus on mental stimulation too. Brain games are a must. While you may not want to give your dog a novel to read or a Sudoku puzzle, you can play hide-and-seek with your pet, teach it a new skill, or try a bit of obedience training. Pairing physical activities and brain games is a must, rather than only taking your dog for a walk.
- Make sure the exercise is tailored to your dog – One mistake a lot of pet owners make is exercising their dog without a purpose or without any thought. Yes, walking your dog is good. But how long should you walk it for? Is a run better? Well, this all depends on the physical abilities, age, and breed of your dog. This is something you need to consider carefully, as overworking your dog is never good. This can lead to heat exhaustion, extended periods of fatigue, and sensitive and sore pads.
- Exercise with your dog – And finally, one of the best ways to fit time into your regime to exercise your dog, is to exercise with it. That way, you kill two birds with one stone. You get to enjoy your workout, and your dog gets the activity it needs too. Plus, you will both be exhausted at the same time, which means you will be able to shower, cook dinner, and chill out in peace. There are plenty of ways you can exercise with your dog. Why not go for a run together? You could even create an assault course in your garden – if it is big enough. You can have jumps for you and your dog, so you’re running around and burning energy together. Not only will you have a lot of fun working out with your dog, but you will probably burn a lot of calories trying to keep up with your pup too.
All in all, the importance of exercise when it comes to any pet should never be underestimated. If you feel that your dog is not as active as it should be, yet you are time poor, use the advice that has been provided above. The last thing you want is for your dog to become ill because of a lack of activity. Dogs need exercise just as much as humans do!
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Ann, Thank you! This is a gem of an article about canine exercise.