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The Importance of Regularly Exercising Your Dog

Everyone always talks about the importance of personal health by eating right and exercising, but what are you doing about regularly exercising your dog?  Exercising your pet is just as important as it is for you.  Health benefits range widely, but include helping hip joints, reducing digestive problems, and keeping your dog at a healthy weight, which decreases the likelihood of developing other health problems.

Exercising Your Dog

Dogs and Exercise:

Regularly exercising your dog also helps control behavioural problems.  Pets that are not given outlets for energy may develop destructive habits like chewing, scratching, or digging, be hyperactive, jump on people or start raiding the bins.  By doing daily activities with your dog you can prevent these behaviours from starting and keep your home, you & your pup happier.

A dog that doesn't get enough regular exercise will not only run the risk of developing health issues such as obesity, heart disease and arthritis, he will also develop various behavioural issues. Lack of exercise results in boredom and frustration, the dog may try to deal with these feelings by developing destructive patterns of behaviour such as aggression, excessive barking, digging and trying to get out.

A dog that isn't allowed to work off excess energy and tension through exercise may develop aggressive tendencies.

In order to maximise the effects of regularly exercising your dog for their health, there are a few things you should keep under consideration when it comes to your dog:

  • Breed – Certain types of breeds such as one with brachycephalic (short noses) like Boston Terriers, Pugs, and Shar Pei’s can have some difficulties breathing and may have a harder time with the heat, so may not be able to handle vigorous exercise.
  • Age – Really young dogs, while they have lots of energy, are still growing so exercise like sustained running may be bad for their bones. Senior dogs, on the other hand, may need to start taking things slower and may not be able to handle activities like long jogs or hikes.
  • Size – If your dog is currently overweight, starting exercise is excellent, but you should start out slow, giving your dog time to adjust to a little exercise at a time, before regularly exercising your dog, as they may find it difficult at first and are prone to overexertion in the beginning stages.

Regular Exercise That Fits Your Lifestyle:

A good way to ensure you regularly exercise your dog is to tailor their play time to your lifestyle.  If you live a very active lifestyle, try taking your dog for early morning jogs, long walks, and any safe adventures you go on.  If you prefer a more laid back lifestyle, try playing catch or ball with your dog, take them swimming, or try training games.  You can also mix and match activities that fit your day to day schedule.
Dogs love exercising and chances are you will love your healthy, happy pet even more.

A healthy body results in a healthy mind, this is true of almost all animal species, and just as you benefit from regular exercise, so will your pup. Regularly exercising your dog is beneficial for all dogs, young or old; you just need to adjust the amount of exercise to suit your pet's age and fitness level. Regular exercise not only benefits all dogs on a physical level, but it will help him on a mental level too.

Top 10 Health Benefits Walking Gives Your Dog:

While you probably take your dog walking at least to relieve itself, you may have overlooked how beneficial regular exercise can also be to your pup's health. Here are ten health benefits you can provide by exercising your dog regularly through walking.

1) Keeps Dogs Healthy:

This one is a no-brainer. Regular exercise is good for us all. It provides many health benefits that include keeping your dog healthy, agile, and limber.

2) Regulates Weight Control:

An overweight pet is not a healthy pet. In addition to regulating their diet, to keep your canine in tip-top shape, you should be doing your best to provide regular exercise as well.

3) Helps With Digestion:

Regular walks can be extremely beneficial to your dog's digestive system, and they can aid in relieving constipation.

4) No More Destructive Behaviour:

Regular walks, can help reduce or eliminate any of your dog’s destructive chewing, digging, or scratching. Dogs are like children: If you are not giving them something constructive to do, you may not like what they choose to do.

5) No More Unruliness:

Behaviours such as knocking over furniture or jumping on people can be a sign of pent up energy. Regular walks will help curb this.

6) No More Hyper-Activity:

Walks can help to alleviate extra energy your pup may have, calming it down and reducing any hyperactivity, excitability, and even night time activity. A walk can help your best friend feel more relaxed and sleepy rather than restless at bedtime.

7) No More Attention Seeking Behaviour:

Barking and whining are just signs that your dog wants some attention from you. Regular walks together will help both of you to stay healthy, and …

8) Help Promote Your Bond:

Spending time with your dog is extremely important. It strengthens the bond between you and leads to a strong, trusting relationship. Walk to strengthen your bond and your bodies!

9) Helps Build Trust:

If you have a timid or fearful dog, regular walks can help your pet to build confidence and trust. You will likely be exposing your pup to other humans and animals alike, and with you there for comfort your dog can learn to be comfortable around them.

10) Keeps You Healthy Too:

Walking a dog is sometimes regarded as a chore. However, it shouldn’t be, as it is beneficial for all involved. The health benefits you will gain from walking are as great as for you as your pet!

Most dogs enjoy the great outdoors and are master explorers; it is in their genes after all. Try to walk two to three times a day, if possible, start slowly until you both build your fitness levels. Walking will allow your dog to become more socialised and accepting of new situations and environments which helps build his self confidence.

More active people (and dogs) can jog together and some people even train their dogs to jog next to them while they're cycling. You should only attempt to do this if your dog is physically fit enough to handle vigorous exercise. Swimming is another activity you can do to regularly exercise your dog; most dogs love to swim once they've tried it a few times. Dogs are natural swimmers and it shouldn't take long for your pet to enjoy regular swims with you. If you are at all worried or concerned about your dog's safety while swimming there are special life jackets for them to wear.

No self respecting dog will turn down a game of fetch, and this is another great form of regular exercise. Most dogs enjoy chasing a ball, Frisbee or stick and your dog will love the opportunity to play with you. Tug of war is another activity dogs enjoy playing, with each other and with humans as well. You can use an old towel, rope or chew toy to play tug of war with your dog.

The key to an effective exercise program is regularity; try to maintain a regular exercise schedule for your dog. Regularly exercising your dog is one of the best things you can do for them and will help them live healthier and happier. Remember to make sure you consider your dog's fur coat and the hot sun too. Your vet will be able to give you the best advice on how much exercise and temperature changes your dog  can handle according to his age, breed and level of health.

Walking Your Dog

"A Tired Dog Is a Well Behaved Dog."

Regularly exercising your dog, along with enrichment, a good diet, a clean bill of health and positive training, are the most important factors when owning a fur kid. Unless your dog is very elderly, a leashed walk is not really exercise. It's exercise for the human end of the leash and an opportunity for your dog to sniff bunny trails and do his business, but it is by no means sufficient enough for your canine companion.

Leash walks are important, though! It gets your dog out into the world, you can teach him leash manners and allow them to meet friendly people to socialise with.

However, before regular exercise, please keep in mind the breed and age of your dog and the outside temperature and humidity.  (You would not want to be running with a Husky on a 30 degree day.)

Remember to get your vets 'OK' before starting any exercise program for your pup and begin in increments.

The more exercise you can give your dog, the better. Most young adult dogs need at least one hour of daily exercise, some breeds need a lot more. Herding breeds and sporting dogs under the age of five years, for example, need hours of daily activity to be happy canine companions, but not all of this has to be physical exercise.

Another form of exercise many people do not exploit enough is mental exercise and stimulation. Teach your dog some tricks and stuff.

Dogs do not self-entertain. If you put your dog outside in your fenced-in yard, he will not exercise himself (unless there is another dog to play with). As his guardian, it is your job to regularly exercise your dog. If he spends 10 hours a day alone in the yard or in a crate while you work, do not expect him to be a well-mannered member of the family when you come home in the evening.

If you work long hours and truly cannot commit to regularly exercising your dog, please try to find your dog an exercising buddy — such as a friend or college student — or a professional dog walker or doggie daycare facility (great for active breeds, such as retrievers.) You and your dog will not regret it!

So do you regularly exercise your dog? Let us know below.

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