Owning a dog can be a very exciting and rewarding experience, and pet owners spend a lot of time and large amounts of money taking care of their furry companions. But one area of looking after our pets can often be underestimated and in some cases neglected, exercise! Many dogs do not get a sufficient daily amount of exercise, and this can cause problems such as boredom, aggressive behaviour and health issues such as obesity.

It can be hard to find time to take your dog for a walk and with people’s busy lifestyles taking up a large proportion of their day, going on a long, tiring walk is the last thing they want to do. However, there are numerous other alternatives, which can be more exciting for you and your dog, and ensure their health and happiness is maintained. Creating a routine can be a great way to track how much exercise your dog is getting and could have excellent health benefits for yourself.

Exercise Based on Your Dog

BREED

There are hundreds of different breeds of dogs, each with different dietary and individual needs. This is the case with exercise too, an old dog would not have the same physical ability as a young, energetic puppy and this needs to be taken into consideration when creating an exercise plan. Another thing to take into consideration would be the size of your dog. Breeds with shorter legs (Dachshund) do not need as much exercise as dogs with long legs (Huskey).

2 hours +

The most active dogs require a minimum of 2 hours exercise daily, this is a large amount of time, however it is needed to ensure your dog develops and stays healthy. The breeds of dog that need this amount of exercise are Border Collies, Labradors, German Shepherds and Dalmatians, as well as other large breeds.

1 – 2 hours

Some dogs still require a lot of exercise, but not as much as the most active dogs. This includes the breeds: Golden Retriever, Border Terrier, and Basset Hound. 1 – 2 hours of exercise is recommended for these, but depending on the day this could be more or less. For example, your dog could be more energetic than usual some days, and this is when they should exercise for a longer period of time.

20 minutes – 1 hour

Small dogs do not need as much exercise as the bigger breeds, but it is still important that they stay active and healthy. Breeds that need 20 minutes to 1 hour of exercise a day include Pugs, Shih Tzu, Yorkshire Terrier, Cocker Spaniel and English Bulldog.

AGE

The average life expectancy of a dog is 10 – 13 years, as your dog gets older their needs will change and different exercises will become more suitable. Young dogs are known to need more exercise. They are developing and need to explore and experience different places and people, exercise is a great way to do this. It is important younger dogs and puppies try out a range of different exercises to keep them entertained and happy, this can be from jogging to swimming.

Older dogs do not need as much exercise, but it is still vital they keep active. Things to take into consideration when thinking about exercise for an older dog are that they will need regular breaks to allow them to recover. Also, their joints are not as strong and are a lot more fragile, so an activity like swimming is great because it takes weight off the joints.

The PetKit Fit P2 is great for keeping track of your pets activity, allows you to set targets and is also waterproof up to 30 minutes at a time so is suitable for swimming.

HEALTH

The health of your dog is extremely important, and the worry of hurting your dog when they have a health condition can stop a lot of owners from allowing their dog to exercise. Joint and mobility issues are extremely common in certain breeds, so swimming is an excellent form of exercise that relieves pressure on the joints and improves mobility.

A large number of dogs are overweight or obese, this can be caused by overfeeding and a lack of physical activity. Any form of exercise can improve an overweight dog’s health, even if it is just playing fetch for 20 minutes. If your dog is overweight, you should consider their diet as well as their exercise levels. The PetKit Fresh Metal Bowl is a great way to keep track of what your dog is eating, with built in scales to measure the amount of food they get.

Different Types of Exercise

Taking your dog out for a walk everyday can become boring and feel repetitive. As a dog owner you want to enjoy your dog exercising as much as they do. There are a number of different activities that can make it fun for both of you.

WALKING

This is the most common form of exercise. A brisk walk can have great benefits and keep you and your dog healthy. Dogs love exploring new places and walks in local parks help them satisfy their curiosity. It is also a chance for them to interact with other dogs, which is important for a dog’s development.

JOGGING

Depending on the breed of your dog, jogging can be a fantastic form of exercise. Breeds such as Labradors and Border Collies are extremely energetic, and jogging would be enjoyable for them. Short-nosed dogs like Pugs can have difficulty breathing however so this sort of exercise may not be best suited for them. Another thing to considers is that heat exhaustion is common amongst dogs as they can’t sweat, so this is only recommended when it is not too hot outside.

SWIMMING

Swimming is a great form of exercise for dogs with health conditions, but it can have a number of advantages for all dogs. It is a non-impact activity and helps burn calories. Also, it is important your dog’s mind stays stimulated to stop them getting bored, swimming helps do this and keep your dog focused.

AGILITY TRAINING

Agility training is an extremely fun way to keep your dog entertained and active, and it can be very fun for the owner too! This involves setting up an obstacle course that lets your dog run through, over and around objects. It also helps with obedience and discipline, as well as improving their cardiovascular fitness.

OTHER TYPES OF EXERCISE

If none of the above interest you, there are other options that can also be beneficial for your dog. Taking them to a dog park is one option, this will let them be able to run freely without a lead and engage with other dogs. Also, a simple game of fetch can be fun for dogs and teach obedience. If you are really short on time and can’t take your dog out to exercise, simply letting them play with dog toys will keep them entertained and active.

TIPS

Bring water

Dogs can become dehydrated easily and this will lead to head exhaustion. You should bring water for your dog whenever they are exercising to avoid this. The PetKit Eversweet Travel Water Bottle is perfect for this as it allows your dog to stay hydrated whilst outside and away from their bowl.

Check with your vet

It is important that you get your dog’s health checked at the vets before starting an exercise plan as some activities might not be suitable for your dog. They can also recommend any exercises that will specifically help your dog and their needs.

Dog walker

If time is a constraint for you, hiring a dog walker is a great idea as it allows your dog to stay healthy when you are busy. Dog walkers can be very cheap too, depending on how often you want your dog to be walked.

Mental stimulation

Stimulating your dog’s brain is just as important as physical exercise for development and health. There are lots of dog toys available that exercise your dog’s brain, from puzzles to games.