To ensure that your dog remains fit and healthy throughout its life, you need to make sure that it not only eats a healthy well-balanced diet, but that it also gets plenty of exercise. Not only can no exercise have a negative effect on your dog’s health, it can also upset their mental well-being, leaving them agitated and frustrated and prone to disease later on in life.
Now while there is no magic formula to be able to tell how much each individual dog needs to be exercised, PDSA has created a general guide to help you out… although age and health will also have an effect on that. For example, the chart suggests that Pug dogs only need 20 minutes a day, whereas Border Collies need at least 2 hours.
So what counts as exercise?
- Walking – taking your dog out for a dedicated walk every day is essential, but if you aren’t in the position to do that because of your job or your health, it might be worth considering professional dog walkers to do that for you – it’s in the best interest of your dog after all. The workers at these dog walking companies will take the time and effort to get to know exactly what is best for your dog, leaving you in no doubt that they are getting the best treatment.
- Throwing a ball – dogs love fetching, so this can be a great interactive way for them to get their allocated time of exercise. If you take a racket, this activity can take minimal effort for you too, meaning you can still do it after a long tiring day at work.
- Let the off the lead – having a run around their local park with other dogs is another activity that they enjoy, which can give you a rest too. This is also a great place to meet other dog owners, making the experience more sociable and fun for you too.
- Swimming – dogs love splashing in the water, and taking them for a swim can add variety into their exercise program for both of you. Just be careful that they don’t get too cold – it might be worth purchasing a dog vest to help overcome this issue.
- Play games – hide toys around the house to help increase your dog’s mental well being, and use treats as rewards to motivate them (just not too many of course!)
Just be careful not to go overboard when starting a new exercise regime for your pet, and to factor in weather conditions too. You don’t want your dog to get ill from the cold, or to overheat in extreme temperatures. Always take water with you to keep your pet hydrated, wherever you are going – just in case. Remember, your pet is your responsibility, and it’s up to you to make sure that they are well looked after. Your dog is relying on you for its exercise, so don’t let it down!