We all know the benefits of exercise for humans, but did you know that exercise has just as many benefits for your dog? Getting enough exercise is important to maintaining a healthy pooch. Luckily, your dog has many ways of telling you he needs more exercise. Look for these signs when gauging how much exercise your dog needs.
1. Destructive Behavior
Dogs like to chew and dig. Often, they engage in these activities out of boredom because they have no other way to focus their extra energy. If your dog is chewing, digging or scratching, it’s likely not getting the level of activity it needs. Unfortunately, many owners think just a quick trip outside for the dogs to relieve themselves and maybe a quick walk after work is enough, but dogs have a lot of natural energy. Depending on your breed, that energy level can increase exponentially.
More activity gives your dog an opportunity to refocus that pent up energy in a positive way. As your pet gets used to a new, more active schedule, its behaviors will be curbed, knowing that playtime is never that far away.
2. Digestive or Urinary Problems
Constipation and urinary tract infections (UTIs) are common problems in pets, but they can easily be remedied, in part, by a more active lifestyle. The more active your pet is, the more water they’ll drink, which increases urination and the elimination of bacteria. Just as with humans, walking after meal time aids in proper digestion to prevent constipation or chronic stomach problems.
Similar to destructive behavior, your pet just can’t seem to calm down despite your best efforts. They pace, jump on guests, and knock over furniture. They seem antsy or perhaps even stressed. They might even try to rough house your cat or other dogs. Discipline is not an effective solution. Going outside for a game of fetch or taking a walk around the block will stimulate your pet and tire them out.
If your dog just won’t leave you alone, it’s also a sign that he craves more quality time with you. Going for a walk is a great way to spend time one-on-one with your pet.
Insomnia is an often misdiagnosed behavior. Frequently, pet owners try to remedy with expensive calming diffusers, a change in diet, or through the use of medication. In reality, the solution is often much simpler: your dog just hasn’t been tired out. By increasing your pet’s activity level, he’ll be tuckered out by bedtime—letting both of you sleep through the night.
5. Timid or Fearful
Does your dog go catatonic or shiver in new places? Does it whimper and hide when another dog approaches? Being outside amongst the strange noises, peculiar scents and new people allows your furry friend to build confidence and trust. Through more and more exposure to the larger world, your dog will learn to be comfortable in new surroundings and adapt to changes more quickly.
6. Weight Gain
Just like us humans, when your doggy is gaining weight, adding more exercise is a key component to any weight loss regimen. But weight gain in pets is often misunderstood. An extra pound or two doesn’t seem like a lot in human world, but for your dog, it increases stress on their hips and joints, making activity harder and your pet more likely to gain even more weight. Overweight dogs are more prone to preventable diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis, which can be costly to owners and make life less enjoyable for your pet.
It’s recommended that most breeds receive 2 to 3 walks per day or at least an hour of activity.
Luckily, there’s a number of ways you can exercise your dog: jogging, walking, swimming or playing fetch. For those who either don’t have the time for an extra play session or who own a breed with heightened exercise needs, hiring a dog walking or doggie adventure service can help. It’s a cost-effective way to provide extra activity when you can’t.