How Much Exercise Does A Dog Need?
So how much exercise does a dog need?. Well as most of you know, We own an English Staffy that at the time of writing this, is just over a year old and requires heaps of stimulation to prevent her from turning our backyard into a war zone so a carefully planned exercise regime is not only vitally important for your dogs health but as it turned out in our case, will also save you a lot of money in repair bills ( She chews everything) A bored dog who doesn’t get regular exercise is more likely to get up to mischief. However, a dog that gets regular outings will be more prone to taking long naps when left alone instead of chewing, biting, digging or even barking.
What is considered Exercise?
So Before we start considering how much your dog actually needs, Let’s get a clear idea of what defines exercise for your dog. A very simple definition would be an activity that causes your dog to breathe hard. For example, if I took a large dog ( Like a German Shepherd)for a 5 Kilometre walk is a good outing but is not necessarily exercise because it doesn’t cause him to breathe hard however if I took a much smaller dog like a fox terrier and walked him over the same distance and at the same pace would be considered a decent workout because he has shorter legs. It’s important to determine what sort of exercise is suitable for your dog and how flexible you are to provide it. Activities such as running and fetching is always a good way of keeping your dog fit or a brisk walk Morning and evening if you can fit that into your lifestyle will also have benefits and if you are fortunate enough to own a large property, they will generally find their own activities to keep themselves amused.
Exercises for the Puppies
How much is too much?
It’s a question that I get asked frequently but to be quite honest if your watch your puppy carefully and be attentive to him/her, your puppy will be the best measuring stick whether they have had enough exercise. Puppies often do not have enough muscle development to take long runs, but there are always some breeds that want to push the boundaries. Most puppies will tell you when they have hit their limit but it is important to resist pushing them further. Even if your puppy wants to keep exercising and running, you should take a cautious approach. Some things to look out for would include :
Many puppies have absolutely no filter at all and will run all day if you let them therefore it is vitally important that you plenty of fresh cold water on hand to avoid dehydration. Also avoid really hot days for exercise as they will burn up really quickly A good sign that they have had enough is when they just flop down (There may be other reasons for this as well) or excessive panting so watch out for the signs. .
Be Aware Of Your Puppies Limitations
Until you have a firm grasp on your puppy’s stamina, be absolutely sure that you are able to stop when your puppy starts to lag behind. This might mean taking a shorter route 5 times instead of a much longer route once. If you feel that the puppy is not able to go as far as he should then it might be a good idea to have a chat with your local to see if there are any underlying issues that may need to be investigated. Allowing the opportunity to exercise your puppy is a vitally important part of their care. Apart from providing health benefits, exercising also provides a good opportunity for your puppy to socialize with other puppies and dogs as well as interact with people too, which is vital step for their behavioural development. Check with your vet when your puppy can safely go to the park in relation to their vaccination status.
Exercises for the less energetic dogs
Unfortunately, there are some dog breeds that their sole purpose in life is to fill a space on your couch or your lap and of course, love nothing more than to be in the exact spot that you are walking when you have a washing basket in your hand. It’s important that even for lazy and inactive dogs that they get their fair share of exercise because overweight or under stimulated dogs can lead to health issues and drastically shorten your pets life. Thankfully even for our canine three toed sloths, there is still some exercises that they can partake in with a little encouragement
Using food dispensing toys
The use of a rubber Kong is a great way to get your dog moving. A Kong is a rubber food dispenser that has a hollow middle to place food treats in such as dog biscuits, peanut butter or cheese . It’s dishwasher safe and comes in various sizes. The idea is to stuff your Kong with various bits of food that encourages your dog to work for his food rather than just placing it in a bowl. Place some food that is easy for him to get out initially and as time goes by, make it a little more challenging by placing other pieces that are harder to get out such as carrots or pieces that are lined with peanut butter.
Our Senior Dogs Need Exercise Too!
When we start to get into our senior years ,it’s important that we try to keep as mobile as possible otherwise we run the risk of developing all sorts of health issues. Well its pretty much safe to say that our senior dogs also can suffer the same fate if we don’t keep them healthy. Conditions that we can expect is not that much different from humans and can include Heart issues and joint complications such as Arthritis, Obesity and more. Regular, gentle and appropriate daily exercise helps keep an older dogs joints, ligaments and muscles strong and supple, improve blood flow, reduce pain and/or inflammation, boost his mood and improve his overall quality of life.( And just between you and me, we will definitely see some health benefits as well)
How do we keep our dogs Mentally Healthy
Keeping our pets strong and healthy on the outside as they enter their senior years will be a significant factor in prolonging their lives but keeping them mentally alert and stimulated can also be equally important. It is therefore vital that we engage our pets in activities that will not only stimulate their minds but also keep them healthy and happy at the same time.
You Can Teach An Old Dog New Tricks.
How well does your dog obey you with simple commands like sit, drop and shake hands etc. Teaching your dog some basic commands will not only give you some pleasure but also keep your dog mentally stimulated and alert. There are many obedience training centres about to suit your lifestyle and budget plus you will both get a great deal of enjoyment together as well. Teaching tricks will keep your dogs mind sharp and this tends to slow down the aging process. Playing fetch or even tug-of-war are just some things that you can experiment with to help your dog.
Keeping your dog fit and healthy is the key to a long life of enjoyment so Let’s make sure that we are doing everything we can to make their twilight years filled with love and happiness.