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Doggy Fitness: A Lowdown
To most of us, exercising our dogs is a natural part of being a dog owner. Whether it’s walking in the park, a vigorous game of fetch or a rough-and-tumble in the living room, physical exertion is a part of daily life when our canine companions are around.
However, many of us may not be exercising our dogs enough and understanding the importance of the right amount of exercise for our furry friends is essential to keep our dogs in prime condition.
Exercising your dog can also bring a whole host of benefits to you too, regular aerobic exercise is linked with better mental and physical health, as well as being a great time to bond with your dog and spend a bit more time surrounded by the great outdoors. A healthier dog also leads to fewer vets bills and a happier hound around the house, what’s not to like!
In today’s post, we will be exploring how much exercise is the right amount for your dog and how to easily improve your dog's physical fitness if needs be.
How Much Exercise is the Right Amount for my Dog?
The amount of exercise any one dog will need is dependant on a whole host of factors including; age, weight, breed, fitness and how they respond to exercise.
Perhaps the most important of these factors is which breed you have in your family, with some working breeds needing over two hours of exercise per day. Working, herding and sporting dogs, such as Labradors, Setters, Rottweilers, Huskies, Collies and Sheepdogs are the most likely to need large amounts of exercise every day, with vigorous exercise such as ball chasing or swimming accounting for at least 50% of this time, in order to stay in peak condition. Conversely, flat-faced and short-nosed breeds such as Bulldogs and Pugs tend to only be able to do smaller amounts of exercise due to their breathing. These dogs do still need to be exercised for at least an hour a day but will be better suited to lots of small bursts rather than long stretches of vigorous exercise. Small and toy breeds such as Shih Tzus and Bichon Frises are the least exercise hungry but will still need 30-60 minutes per day, these small breeds can be exercised adequately in the home or garden due to their smaller size. Doing research on the particular breed or breeds you own is the best way to find the perfect amount of exercise for your particular dogs.
The age of your dog also affects the amount they can exercise. Young dogs will want to exercise a lot, but it is important to introduce it slowly in order to protect their joints and muscles when they are growing. Older dogs will tend to need less exercise and are more susceptible to problems like arthritis which limit the amount of exercise they can do.
Other factors that affect the amount of exercise your dog does, like weight, fitness and response to exercise, are ones that can only be judged on a case by case basis and should generally be discussed with your vet or canine fitness specialist.
Easy Ways to Improve Your Dogs Physical Fitness
If you have found that you aren't doing quite enough to keep your dog in peak physical condition after doing the research, there are a number of easy ways to improve their fitness levels.
The Scenic Routes
The easiest way to improve the amount of exercise your dog is having is by increasing the length and difficulty of your daily walks. More challenging terrains will give your dog a more well-rounded workout, making them use muscles they may not use on easier walks and will increase the distance they travel. You can also add faster paces to your walks if you feel able, why not try running or jogging through some of your rambles, this should encourage your dog to do the same and give them more motivation to move.
Letting your dog off the lead in safe and secure areas is a great way to improve fitness. This allows them to play and run free and use up some of that extra energy.
When your dogs are off the lead why not add a ball, frisbee or other launchable into the equation, this not only helps with fitness but also helps to keep your dog's mind sharp too. Smaller dogs will benefit from puzzle toys and balls in the home so they can be exercised at any time of the day. Tug-of-war toys are also great for playtime as they encourage the use of a whole host of muscles and joints, helping them to stay in the best condition.
If your dog loves the water, swimming is one of the best exercises out there. Swimming is also great for older dogs and dogs with joint issues, as it is a low impact exercise. If your dog is not a water baby, why not try one of our water-friendly toys to encourage them to take the plunge!
So this spring, if you're worried about the amount of exercise your dog is doing and want to improve their fitness, why not try one of our super-simple solutions and keep them romping around in happiness for as long as possible.
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