Just like humans, dogs need plenty of exercise to be healthy. There is only so much exercise that an animal can get while indoors. Pets are often reliant on their owners to take them outside and help them reap the benefits of physical activity.
Exactly how much exercise your dog needs will depend on various factors, including their breed, age, and size. Many smaller breeds can get enough exercise with a simple morning and evening walk, also giving them the opportunity to empty their bladder and bowels. Many larger breeds need a lot more exercise so that they can burn off the excess energy that they have.
Breeds like Labradors and Weimaraners can often walk for miles. This makes them excellent companions for owners that spend lots of their recreational time in the great outdoors. Breeds like these can often benefit from at least two hours of exercise every day.
It’s also important to remember that the amount of exercise your dog needs will reduce as they get older. Senior dogs generally eat fewer calories, meaning that they don’t require as much exercise to maintain their weight.
So, how do you know if your dog is getting enough exercise? Here are some signs that your dog needs more exercise to keep them healthy and happy.
Maintaining your dog’s weight is crucially important to their health. If they are underweight or overweight, it could prevent their body systems from working optimally and increase their risk of developing some health problems. For example, dogs who are carrying too much weight are more likely to suffer from respiratory problems, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and issues with their joints such as arthritis.
While eating a healthy, balanced diet plays an important role in weight maintenance, exercise helps to burn off excess calories, tone their muscles, and improve their heart health.
Do you regularly come home to scratched flooring or furniture? Does your dog chew your shoes, tear apart cushions or raid the trash can? If so, it could be that they aren’t getting enough exercise. Destructive behavior is one of the most common signs of a dog who is bored and not using up enough energy. Increasing the amount of exercise your dog is getting could help counteract destructive behavior.
Sometimes, pulling against the leash is simply a sign that a dog has not had enough training, however leash pulling can also be a sign that your dog simply wants to walk further, faster or both!
Walking is the most common and well-known form of exercise for dogs, but there are plenty of alternatives. Some other ways in which you can make sure your dog gets enough exercise include:
Playing games inside your home such as hide and seek (with rewards)
Creating scent trails for your dog to follow
Running or cycling with your dog alongside
Taking your dog swimming
Playing games that involve your dog going up and down the stairs
Training your dog to jump on and off a box or crate
Enrolling in agility courses
Find a doggy yoga class
For more information on pet exercise, call Vista Hills Animal Hospital in El Paso, Texas at (915) 592-5867 to discuss any questions or schedule an appointment with our team today!