5 Easy Ways to Exercise Your Dog
As a dog owner, your number-one priority should always be keeping your dog happy and healthy. But sadly, it’s still all too common to see dogs that are missing out on their fundamental need of physical exercise. A good indicator that your dog lacks exercise is an increase in hyperactive behaviors—such excessive barking or ruined furniture around the house—but lethargy can also be telltale sign. In this blog, we’ll cover 5 ways to enhance your dog’s daily exercise routine.
1) Evaluate your dog’s needs
Get to know your dog! Do some research online or ask your vet about the kind of exercise your specific dog breed needs to stay physically and mentally healthy. As you might imagine, the hours and intensity level of exercise that a French Bulldog needs daily will differ greatly from what a German Shepard needs. While the ideal exercise time for one dog could be an hour, it may be up to two hours a day or more for another. Therefore, it’s crucial to do your research ahead of time, in order to give your dog the physical stimulation it needs to stay happy and fit.
2) Stick to a routine
Just like us, dogs thrive when they have stable routines. It’s easy to satisfy their needs just by incorporating their daily food, potty, and exercise needs into your own schedule. Below is an example of what a normal day could look like.
- Alarm goes off for work. Take your dog out for a morning walk or to the nearest park to play fetch.
- Once you are back from playtime, feed your dog while you get ready for work.
Before you leave for work, take your dog for a final potty break since they should have had time to digest their morning meal.
- Lunch break means walk break – at least to your dog. If you can’t make it home from work due to distance or other reasons, you can easily schedule a dog sitter using popular online dog sitting apps. Even if your dog is comfortable alone at home, it’s important to let them out for a potty break.
- When the workday is over, the fun starts for you and your dog. By now, your special friend is excited to see you, and in need of some good exercise after a long day at home.
- Take your dog for a run, a bike ride, a hike, or some frisbee fetch in the park. Other options may be a longer power walk, or for your dog to run around freely in a fenced dog park.
- After intense exercise, allow your dog to rest for at least one hour before feeding; rushing a post-exercise meal can bloat their stomach.
- End the day with an evening stroll around the neighborhood and a final chance for your dog to potty before it’s time to sleep.
- Now, your furry friend can happily curl up in bed.
3) Plan for Outdoor Activities
Dogs love to explore nature! But did you know that just by letting your dog run around terrain, you’re also exposing them to healthy mental stimulation? It’s true! In natural settings, there are many different scents from animals and plants that your dog will pick up on, helping to stimulate their brain.
If you’re not able to take your dog on hikes or out in nature on a daily basis, make the weekends the designated nature days for your pup. Natural settings are not only a perfect place to strengthen their muscles--they're also an ideal place for the two of you to bond.
4) Use Your Surroundings
Once you start to look around for fun dog activities, you’ll likely find that your neighborhood is packed with them. Take advantage of parks and grass fields to play fetch, or set up a unique obstacle course for your dog. If your home is surrounded by hills, why not try a walk or run up and down a few times to build those muscles? And if you live by a beach or a lake, lucky you! You can now make the day even more fun with some playtime in the water.
5) Bring Your Dog
Make it a habit to bring your dog wherever you go. If you plan on meeting up with a friend for a powerwalk, let your dog join the fun. When you run errands, leave the car at home and hit the town with your four-legged pal—turning your to-do list into a walking adventure. Don't forget that your dog is always looking forward to spending time with you, and as you move on with your day, you’ll make them happy simply by bringing them along.