Safe exercise for dogs
30 June 2021
As responsible owners, we should strive to provide our animals with an appropriate level of exercise and variety.
Human lifestyles have given rise to pets who are couch potatoes, and this has significant negative implications for their health and development.
What problems can develop if my dog doesn’t get enough exercise?
Behavioural problems. Behavioural problems are likely to manifest as a result of your dog not having the opportunity to exercise and expend their energy. A hyperactive dog can engage in destructive behaviours like chewing, digging, scratching, knocking over furniture, jumping on people, biting, excessive barking, fighting or chasing other animals.
This might be gradual at first but can become a problem over time, particularly as your pup ages. Weight gain can cause heart disease, high blood pressure, fatty tumours and skin diseases. Carrying extra weight also puts pressure on your dog’s joints and can lead to arthritis.
Lack of exercise also affects a dog’s emotional and social health. Dogs that do not get enough physical or mental stimulation can become withdrawn and show a disinterest in engaging with their owner.
Safe exercise tips
Aim for 20 to 60 minutes of physical activity with your dog each day.
Exercise your dog’s body and brain by focusing on games that involve searching for objects, performing tricks and obedience training. If you have a big backyard you can even set up a simple obstacle course to enjoy together with your dog.
Choose low impact exercises for arthritic dogs. If your dog has joint mobility issues such as arthritis, taking your dog for a long hike or run is not suitable and can cause further inflammation and pain. Low impact and high resistance exercises such as swimming and underwater treadmilling are ideal as they don’t put stress on the joints. Gentle, slow walks are also appropriate.
On-leash walks outdoors are a safe way for your dog to explore and move around while being under your watchful gaze. It’s also a great way for them to get fresh air and vitamin D. Vary your route to expose your dog to new sights and smells. Find out where the dog parks are in your area so your pet gets the opportunity to socialise with other dogs while exercising.
The responsibility for ensuring a dog receives an adequate level of exercise lies with the owner. The type of physical activity that is suitable for your pet depends on their breed, age, weight and level of mobility. Health issues such as arthritis and joint mobility issues are another factor to bear in mind when deciding on an appropriate exercise plan for your canine. Make sure you consult your veterinarian for tailored advice on suitable forms of exercise for your dog.
The opinions expressed here are the personal opinions of the writer. Content published here does not necessarily represent the views and opinions of Petcover.