Physical and mental exercise for dogs is so very important for your pup’s overall health. We get a lot of both at our house, but you don’t have to be a dog sports person to keep your dog properly exercised. Each form of exercise has its own benefits.This is the last of my four part series on keeping your dog at an ideal, healthy weight. If you missed any of the previous posts, you can click below to get to them:
- What is the ideal weight for your dog
- What’s in your dog’s food bowl, do you know
- Remember dog treats are snacks, not meals
Physical Exercise For Dogs
Physical exercise for dogs is the kind of exercise most people think if when they think of exercising their dog. Walking is most likely the top choice for canine exercise. Walking is easy to do, good for you and your dog, and carries little risk. Dogs of all sizes and ages are suitable for walking. One does need to take age and health condition into account before starting a walking routine. Remember, if your dog doesn’t usually walk, start with shorter walks and work up to long ones. As with humans, we need to strengthen our muscles too.
Running is a favorite way to exercise at our house. Mom says running with dogs is so much more fun than running alone. Not all dogs are suitable as jogging partners, though. Make sure to check with your veterinarian before starting a running program with your dog. Puppies should never go running with you as their growth plates are not closed and running can cause permanent damage to their joints.
Playing games with your dog counts as exercise too! If you have a dog who loves a game of fetch or Frisbee, get outside and start playing. Remember, we don’t know when to stop, so use good judgement to determine how long your dog can safely play.
Keep in mind, just because you have a yard and your dog goes out in the yard during the day, this is not exercise. Unless you have more then one dog so they can play together, or you are out with your dog, she will just hang out and not really get any exercise. Think about it…what would you do if you were out in the yard for a half hour by yourself? Probably not much, maybe take a nap? A yard itself does not mean an automatically exercised dog!
Mental Exercise For Dogs
Mental exercise for dogs is a great tool for so many reasons! For one, we love it, and for two, it totally wears us out mentally. Mom will tell you how we almost always sleep on the way home from our sniffing classes. Most of our dog sports are full of mental exercise, but you don’t need dog sports to get your dog’s brain working.
Nose work, scent work, barn hunt, and tracking are all good mental stimulation for dogs. If you are interested in some mental exercise for fun at home, there are several easy games to play.
- Hide your dog’s favorite toy and have her search for it.
- Try hiding some healthy treats around a room and let her search for them. Start out easy and then hide them better and better.
- Food puzzles are a great way to slow down your dog’s meals and get them thinking about how to get their food out of the puzzle.
- Outdoors you can also hide treats around your yard for your dog to find.
- A game of hide and seek is always fun, with you being the one always hiding.
Physical and mental exercise for dogs is not only a big part of a dog’s overall health, but it is super fun for us. Do you have any tips we didn’t think of?
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