Every dog requires regular exercise, regardless of size, breed, or age. It keeps them physically healthy, and a tired dog is more well-behaved, calm, and understanding.
As a dog parent, you want to give them the best possible lifestyle. But you can’t deny that juggling both work and being a fur parent takes great effort and sometimes you forget how important it is to schedule exercise and training sessions to get your dog moving.
On that note, you can associate the importance of regular exercise for your dog with your own health too! Having a pet already has so many benefits, and much more awaits when you take them out for a regular exercise.
Benefits of exercise for dogs and their owners
It keeps both of you physically active
Exercise keeps your dog physically fit. It is the best way to keep weight off your dog, combined with a nutritious diet. Maintaining a dog's weight gets increasingly challenging as they age. They can avoid gaining too much weight and becoming obese by exercising.
Exercising with your dog also encourages you to move. And you might think it’s not proper exercise but it is. Walking your dog has many health benefits including lower blood pressure, improved cardiovascular fitness, stronger muscles and bones brought on by walking regularly, and reduced stress levels.
It improves mental health
Regular exercise can do wonders for your dog's mental health. When they go outside, their anxiety lessens as they interact with other dogs. Also, just like humans, dogs also produce endorphins after exercise, which gives them a natural high and makes them feel good.
Being outside eases their boredom. Dogs are more inclined to act boisterously and have behavioural problems when they have pent-up energy. When your dog is overly energetic, common habits such as excessive barking, clawing, and chewing happens. Exercise is a great way for your dog to burn off some energy and become calmer at home!
In return, you also get to go outside and relax. Spending time outside and bringing nature into your everyday life improves both your mental and physical wellbeing. And you get to spend time with your dog, which is your source of fun and relaxation.
It’s a way to socialise
Socialising is important for dogs. Only by experiencing various environments can they get used to them and learn to regulate their behaviour and stay calm when they see other dogs and other people.
Socialising for humans is good, too. When you walk with your dog, you get to socialise with other dog owners and your neighbours, even if it’s only to exchange nods and smiles.. People who walk their dogs are seen by other people as friendly and approachable, so expect greetings!
It makes both of you happy!
Your dog will feel much better after being outside. The fresh air and a change of scenery outside can brighten their day. Especially when their surroundings changed or when they just lost a companion, they can experience depression. The exercise is good, but being around you is what truly makes their tail wag.
Of course, when your dog is happy, you’re happy too! In time, you’ll see walking your dog as not a chore anymore but an extra fun time. You can build a deeper relationship with them too as you spend time with them everyday.
Health benefits of exercise for your dog
Healthier digestive system
Walking your dog might help keep their digestive systems in check. Walking your dog might encourage them to poop if they are having constipation.
If your dog spends a lot of time inside, it's possible that they're holding back their wastes, which makes them uncomfortable. Dog walking is a terrific opportunity for them to eliminate and digest their meals properly.
Muscle and bone density
While maintaining a healthy weight can help keep your dog in shape, regular exercise will also build bone and muscle.
Your dog's joints will stay lubricated and experience fewer issues if it receives regular, age-appropriate exercise. The muscles that support them will also become stronger at the same time.
Less chances of health issues
Dogs that do not get enough exercise are more at risk of getting health problems. Dogs that are overweight are more likely to have stiff joints, osteoarthritis, heart disease, liver disease, and insulin resistance.
So it’s better to make a schedule for your dog’s regular exercise to help keep them healthy and prolong their life!
How much exercise does your dog need?
All dogs need exercise, but some may require more or less than others. That depends on whether your dog is an adult or a puppy, and their breed might also be considered as a factor.
With that said, here are things to consider to determine how much exercise your dog needs:
- Their breed - Your dog’s energy levels may depend on their breed. Some need 1-2 hours of exercise daily, white others might need more than 2 hours. Some, mostly working breeds, require much more physical and also mental stimulation every day.
- Their age - In order to protect your dog's joints as they mature, start introducing exercise to them slowly. In general, puppies should go on a couple brief walks each day. Puppies frequently move about recklessly and quickly due to their high energy levels. Adult dogs, on the other hand, need to exercise for between 30 minutes up to two hours per day. But again, it still depends on the age, breed, and condition of your dog.
- Any health issues - If your dog is currently sick or injured, they don’t need that much exercise as the priority is rest for a fast recovery. Rest them as often as your veterinarian recommends, and find other ways to entertain them to prevent boredom and frustration.
- Their current fitness level - If you want your dog to start moving more, like engaging in dog sports or going with you on hikes and cycles, you need to check how fit they are first. And if you think they’re not yet fit for more strenuous exercise, start improving their fitness gradually.
Indeed, your dog’s regular exercise routine does wonders for their health, and for your health too! Taking the time to exercise daily improves both your lives, and strengthens your relationship with each other, enhances socialisation skills, and improves overall mood and wellbeing.