We all know that exercise is vital to keeping our bodies fit and functioning as they should. The same goes for your dog, but you might be wondering just how much exercise does my dog need? As a minimum, dogs need 30 minutes a day of physical exercise. The intensity of exercise varies depending on health, age and breed. Dogs who were bred for working activities, such as Labrador Retrievers and Border Collies, need up to 2 hours of exercise a day.
Exercise helps your dog keep unnecessary weight off, keeps his metabolism working as it should and keeps his muscles tones and his mind engaged. Dogs that don’t get enough physical activity often turn to destructive behaviors. There is truth in the old adage, “a tired dog is a good dog”. Keep your dog engaged and pay attention to his signals.
If you have a smaller dog or a senior dog, a casual walk through the neighborhood might be enough activity, but don’t forget to switch it up a bit and occasionally go down a different street or go to the park. Dogs get bored, just like you, so keep it fresh, but regular.
Here are some activities, beyond just a walk in the park, that you might want to try with your dog. Check your area to see what groups exist so you and your dog can learn one of these sports.
- Agility – This is a wonderful way to build your relationship and communication with your dog. It keeps you talking to each other and keeps your dog’s mind and body engaged.
- Fly Ball – For dogs that are “ball motivated”, this is a great way of getting intense exercise that is fun and builds confidence.
- Lure Coursing – This is a very intense exercise for dogs with loads of energy that are “prey driven”.
- Nose Work -Sometimes mellow, sometimes intense, but for dogs who have a good nose, it keeps their minds engaged and keeps their bodies moving.
- Rally – This a great way for you and your dog to work together on obedience and keep moving at the same time.
- Swimming – If you are lucky enough to have a canine aquatic center near you, this is an unbeatable way for your dog to stay fit without any impact on his joints. It’s a great exercise for any dog and a wonderful way to rehabilitee a dog with injuries or compromised joints.
- Freestyle Dancing – Yes, you can take up dancing with your dog! It’s a fun way to build your relationship, keep both of you moving and work on obedience at the same time.
Every dog is different so it’s a good idea to talk to your veterinarian about how much and how intense the exercise should be, but don’t bypass this important and bonding activity with your dog.