Not sure how, but somehow summer is on it’s way out and we are headed into the month of September!
September is also know as “Responsible Dog Ownership Month,” so why not touch on a topic that is important to be educated on if you want to be a responsible owner yourself.
How do you know if your dog is getting enough exercise?
And, why does it really matter?
Not only is exercise important for your dog’s over all health, but proper amounts of exercise also help ensure less destructive behavior in the home.
Does Each Dog Demand The Same Amount Of Exercise?
Absolutely not. It is important to know your dog, and that includes his/her age, weight, breed, and any special characteristics that are individualized to your dog specifically. While typically younger dogs will need more time than an older dog would, this is not always the case. A good general rule is that most dogs need at least 30 to 60 minutes of exercise daily. It’s important to realize that most dogs were bred for a job that entails an active lifestyle and this is just a part of who they are. By understanding the breed(s) of your pup, you can also better understand what they were originally created to do. In turn, this will allow you to provide not only the right amount of exercise, but also the right kind of exercise best suited for them. If you don’t fully know your dog’s breed(s), you can always do some personal research or ask for the opinion of someone experienced, like your vet. You can also send in a DNA test to get exact results if you would like to skip the guessing game.
Check out http://www.dnamydog.com if you are interested.
How Can Exercise Prevent Health And Behavior Issues?
The dogs of today are not living life the way that their wild relatives do. Instead of hunting or scavenging for food, most dogs are cuddling with their humans and being fed food as much as their heart desires. I mean really....we all know how difficult it can be to say “no” when your pup looks longingly in your eyes. All we want to do is give them the very best, because that’s all they deserve. Sometimes however, we may give them more than they need, and this can create health issues in an overweight dog. This is where exercise can be a positive influence in the dog’s lifestyle. The facts show that 54% of dogs are obese. One of the biggest issues with this is, that their owners may not even know that they are obese.
It’s difficult to help fix a problem when you aren’t aware there even is one. If you would like to confirm your dog is at a healthy weight you can talk to your vet, or you could look at a body condition score chart. By giving your dog the proper amount of food daily and implementing the right exercise for him/her, you could actually add around 2.5 years to your animal’s life. Who doesn’t want to help their pup live as long as they possibly can?! On top of the health benefits, when you allow your dog to be mentally and physically stimulated correctly, you are allowing them outlets to release unwanted behavior. This can help eventually eliminate destructive issues in the home, such as chewing, digging, running off and not listening to recall, etc. If you’re noticing your dog act out, think about the different ways made available to them for the release of their frustration or boredom. Do they have ample amounts of activity available to them? Or, are they inside all day alone with no stimulation?
What Exercise is Good For My Dog?
Just like people, each dog is different, and there are some ways to exercise your dog that are better than others. There are actually some exercises that can also do damage to your pup, so again it’s important to be educated and informed before just going with whatever you think might count as adequate exercise. Having your dog in a controlled environment where they can condition and work safety is key. Most pet owners love dog parks, but they can also be a very dangerous place for your pup as well. Because they are not controlled and dogs are free to do as they please, there is room for accidents and possibility for injury. I am certainly not saying to not go to dog parks, but be aware and try to be as prepared as you can to handle what is best for your dog in each situation, good and bad.
It is also a good idea to take into consideration how the weather can affect your dogs performance. A lot of times a dog will try to keep up with others, human and other dogs, and can over exert themselves by doing this. Combine that with 80+ degree weather and you are asking for an episode of heat exhaustion or worse. Try to choose activities that are along the lines of what your dog enjoys and are relatable to his/her interest. This will get them engaged both mentally and physically. Daily aerobic exercise is great for dogs, just make sure to take the route best suited for your fur baby. If you aren’t an athletic person, it’s okay! There are still a lot of ways to get your dog moving, even if you’re standing still. http://pets.webmd.com/dogs/guide/exercise-dogs#2 offers some great ways to exercise your dog and also shares information on different body types and how they perform best.
Not allowing your dog to have adequate amounts of exercise daily can really do some damage both to your dog and your home!
Do your research, reach out to other dog owners around you, and arrange playgroups in safe environments. There are plenty of “games” you can also play with your dog to get them working their brain and their muscles. Make sure to pay attention to what your dog is telling you and talk to your vet to get ideas on how to start a exercise regimen. Overall, this is going to benefit your entire household, not to mention the help in preventing diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and more. Help your dog live longer so that you can both have more years of unconditional love with one another!