Regular Exercise For Your Dog
Is An Important Part of Good Health

Regular exercise for your dog is as important to her good health as exercise is to your good health.

Dogs are naturally active animals, and while they're more than happy to lounge about the house with you, they love to get out and explore, have fun, and make new friends in the neighborhood.

Regular exercise for your dog doesn't mean doing the same thing over and over, day in and day out. Different types of exercise benefit different parts of your dog's body.

Changing the exercise routine or the type of exercise cuts down on her boredom and stimulates her mind.This is especially important for any working breeds, such as border collies or other high energy dogs.  If you don't supply something for them to do, expect them to find their own interesting things.  And you won't like it.

Be careful not to over-exercise her. Too much exercise can be very damaging if she's a puppy.

Too much exercise can worsen an inherited tendency toward hip dysplasia. It can also strain her developing bones and joints.

Just like a small child who needs naps throughout the day, your puppy needs plenty of rest, naps and quiet time.

Exercise should be gentle and brief. She'll keep going as long as she can, just to be with you and please you, so you need to watch for signs of fatigue or pain.

The same holds true for older dogs.

While exercise is very good for dogs with arthritis, too much can tire them. Older dogs can't take the level or period of exercise they could when they were younger.

Watch for signs of fatigue in your older dog. Bring her in, or end the exercise period, at the first sign of her tiring.

Some Ideas For Exercising Your Dog

Here are some great ways to provide regular exercise for your dog, and some of the benefits from each.

  • Daily walks allow you both to get out. While walks don't provide as much exercise as other activities, they're also a great way to increase your bonding time with her (see Spend Time With Your Dog for more on the importance of this). Walks also stimulate her mentally by giving her new scents to explore.

  • Playing catch, or fetch, with her offers a lot of exercise doing something dogs love to do — chase after and retrieve an object. It seems the faster the object goes, the more dogs like playing catch. The beauty of catch is that it never feels like regular exercise for your dog; it's just fun. Don't throw stones or rocks for her to catch, or even fetch. They can break her teeth, or wear them down to the point where the pulp is exposed, which can be very painful. If you throw tennis balls, don't let her chew on them or carry them around in her mouth all day. They are very abrasive and work like those green scrubbies used to clean pots and sinks. They can wear her teeth down to the pulp in short order. This is so prevalent that there's a name for this condition — Tennis-ball Mouth. Even an indoor dog can benefit from playing catch. Instead of throwing the ball, roll it down a long hallway and watch her chase after it. This type and amount of exercise may be all she needs to remain healthy.

  • Many walks involve encounters with other dogs. If you don't meet dogs on your walks, consider taking her to a dog park or off-leash area where you know you'll find other dogs. These encounters will give her the social interactions she needs and loves as a descendant of pack animals. Allow her to go free inside the enclosure so that she's free to choose her interactions.

  • Swimming is an excellent form of regular exercise for your dog that's not hard on the joints and bones. It will help tone her muscles, give her strength, and improve her cardiovascular fitness. Always supervise her when she's in the water. Even the strongest swimmer can encounter trouble and be unable to swim to shore.

Consider a canine life jacket if she's a real water lover.

One of these will allow her to stay in the water longer before she tires, and it may save her from drowning if she develops problems in the water.

  • If you have a very active dog (for example, a Border Collie), you might want to set up some agility training equipment in your yard, and put her through the paces. This can include hoops to jump through, tubes to run through, flags to weave in and out of, and ladders to climb. The two of you might even enjoy it enough to enter some competitions!
  • Regular exercise for your dog will keep your dog healthy

    To Mental Health from Regular Exercise For Your Dog

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