Just like humans, dogs need to exercise regularly. In fact, they have a much greater need to exercise than we do. As humans, we’re used to being indoors and doing different tasks throughout the day. No matter how domesticated dogs are, they’re still wired to be outdoor animals that run around. So, if you keep yours stuck inside all day long, then it goes against its very nature!
Dog exercise is a key thing for all dog owners to learn about. You need to know why your dog should exercise, what type of exercise is good for them, how often they need to exercise, etc. Ultimately, it all comes down to being a great owner. You want what’s best for your dog, so be sure to understand everything you can about dog exercise.
Why do dogs need exercise?
I briefly touched upon one of the reasons in the introduction. It’s in a dog’s nature to want to be outside and run around. So, imagine you were stopped from doing something that is literally in your nature. Imagine someone stopped you from going out and talking to your friends. It would be horrible, and your mental health would deteriorate. The same thing happens to dogs – yes, they can have mental health problems too. Your dog will get upset and sad, and it will lose the will to do anything fun in the future.
Similarly, exercise is great for nervous dogs or dogs that are trying to settle into a new home. It lets them go outside and feel free. When you’re with them, they quickly realize that you’re a friend. It’s a wonderful way to bond with your dog and make them feel more at ease. If you don’t let them exercise frequently, then they start to feel trapped.
Lastly, dogs need exercise for the obvious reason of staying in shape. Just like you need to exercise to avoid getting fat, so do dogs. Let’s be honest, you spoil your dog. It gets more food than you do, and it gets the leftovers from your food. Strictly speaking, this is not a good thing to do as you overfeed your dog, and leftovers can be harmful. But, that’s another topic for a different day. If your dog is eating multiple times per day and doing no exercise at all, then they’ll gain weight. Their muscles don’t develop, so they end up like a little pudge ball. It may look quite cute, but it’s not good for a dog’s health. From here, they can develop lots of health problems that shorten their life.
So, as a summary, dogs need exercise because it helps both their physical and mental health. In turn, this can prevent many issues and lead to a long and happy life with you.
What type of exercise is good for dogs?
Humans have lots of different exercise types that we can choose from. You can go running, cycling, lift weights, row, and so on. Conversely, you’re unlikely to see a dog bench-pressing weights and using a rowing machine. They do all of their exercises on four little legs, which is kind of good news for you.
It means that you don’t have to think about loads of different exercise types. In truth, taking your dog out for walks is perfectly fine. Give them time off the leash to stretch their legs and use up all their energy, and walk them back home. Make sure that you take them to a field or open space where they’re allowed to roam off their leash. They don’t need you to do anything else – watch them run around of their own accord.
However, if you wanted to take a more active role, then there are games you can play with your dog as well. Some of these can be done at home, which lets you get in some extra exercise away from walks. fetch is the obvious one – throw them something, and they will find it and return it to you. This is a great way of training your dog as well. Other than that, you can join in by running with them, chasing them around, cycling while they run on their leash next to you, etc.
There are loads of ways to become more involved in dog exercise, which might help your pet get more into it. As for exercises your dog shouldn’t do, well, it depends. In general, avoid anything that’s really taxing. Anything that involves too much jumping or force can be damaging for a dog – especially little ones. Many dogs end up with knee injuries after trying to perform jumps or vigorous exercises. If this happens to your dog, you’ll soon be wondering how much does a dog knee brace cost, and you’ll be stunned by the answer. Not only will your dog be in pain, but it’ll be expensive to help them get healthy again. So, the best course of action is to stay safe and avoid anything too strenuous.
How much exercise does a dog need?
The other two questions are easy to answer, but this is where things get tricky. I can’t give you a proper answer as it honestly depends on the breed. Some dogs will naturally have really high energy levels. Sheepdogs are a fantastic example of this. The breeds used here will need to run around a lot every day. It’s in their bones, and they aren’t satisfied with one 30-minute walk a day. On the other hand, some of the dogs that require the least exercise will only need a short walk. You’re not going to get an English Bulldog out for more than one walk a day, it just won’t happen!
When you’re getting a dog, the best thing to do is to check the breed. Look online and see how much exercise this breed needs. Why is this so important? It stops instances where you buy a dog with massive exercise demands that you can’t keep up with. If you’re in work all day, then you can’t walk the dog two or three times. As such, it becomes depressed. So, if you need a dog with low-exercise demands, then be sure you pick the right breed.
It’s also worth thinking about the age of the dog as well. A young dog will be able to exercise more than an old one. It’s simply a case of older limbs getting tired quicker! So, as your dog gets older, you will find it needs less exercise.
Taking all of this into account, there is a very general rule to follow for all dog owners. Try and get at least 30-minutes of exercise per day. Some will need a lot more than that, but this is the bare minimum for the lazy ones. Also, keep your dog off its leash at home and give it free rein of your garden – if you have one. This gives it the opportunity to run around the house and garden as they please. In essence, you give it a chance to do any extra exercise if it still feels energetic.
The three questions I’ve covered should give you all the vital information you need to know about dog exercise. I guess the main point is that all dogs need to exercise regularly. Whether this is once a day or multiple times a day depends on the dog. If you don’t let them run around, then their physical and mental health will deteriorate. So, for a happy and healthy dog, give it all the exercise it needs.