Over 50% of dogs in the United States are considered clinically obese by veterinary standards. That number continues to trend upwards and correlates closely with skyrocketing human obesity rates.
While a number of factors can contribute to a dog’s obesity, one of the most common reasons why dogs struggle with weight issues is lack of exercise.
It is recommended that most healthy dogs be walked 20 to 30 minutes per day. Younger dogs can tolerate much longer walks under demanding conditions (steep inclines for example).
If you’re not meeting those standards with your furry friend, it’s time to do better.
Fortunately, there are a number of exercise for dogs avenues that you can go down to keep your dog in great shape. Below, we outline a few our favorite ways to give your dog (and you) an opportunity to get active!
1. Go on a Walk
We’ll start our exercise for dogs suggestions with an obvious choice… Walking.
Walking is a shared activity that humans and dogs have enjoyed sharing since the beginning of their relationship with one another. The activity doesn’t need to be physically taxing and can make for a great stress-relieving option for all parties involved.
To make walking as pleasant as possible, pick a cool time of the day to get outside and try to avoid routes that feature heavy traffic.
2. Put Your Stairs to Work
Do you live somewhere that has bad weather which makes getting out for walks difficult? No problem!
If your house features a staircase, going up and down your stairs is a great way to keep you and your dog in shape without having to brave the elements outside.
Exercising on the stairs can be as simple as you going to the top of your staircase and calling your dog. Then, you can walk back down your staircase and repeat the process. If your dog won’t follow you up or down your stairs, leash them and gently guide them along.
3. Make Getting Treats a Challenge
If you have a food-motivated dog, leveraging food to get your dog to exercise is a great strategy.
For example, rather than handing your dog their treat, put your treat on top of a desk. Then, have your dog step up onto a chair in order to retrieve it.
You can also place treats at the top of your staircase to make your dog go up to a higher story of your house in order to get rewarded.
Many pet stores sell toys that make dogs work in order for treats to dispense. Depending on your dog’s breed, these could be a good exercise helper as well.
4. Play Keep Away
Whether you’re outdoors or indoors, keep away is a great game that gets dogs active.
Playing keep away is simple. Get two people and have your dog stand in the middle of them. Then, the two people can take your dog’s favorite toy and toss it back and forth.
This should prompt your dog to do their best to intercept their toy while it’s traveling.
When playing keep away, transfer your dog’s toy in a way that makes it possible for them to intercept it. If the game is impossible for your dog to win, they’ll lose interest in playing.
5. Invest in a Doggy Treadmill
Dog treadmills might be a little extreme for some pet owners. For others though, they represent a simple way of giving their dog exercise when going on walks is difficult due to health or weather concerns.
Dog treadmill functionality varies from manufacturer to manufacturer. Some are powered by electricity (like standard treadmills) and others use your dog’s momentum to keep its belt turning.
No matter which kind of treadmill you buy into, be sure to closely supervise your dog as they use it to ensure that they don’t sustain injuries.
6. Tug of War
Pulling ropes plays to your dog’s instinctual tendency to keep resources away from the competition. As a matter of fact, playing tug of war is so instinctual for dogs that it’s often the first game that they learn how to play with their humans.
While a good game of tug of war can make for a great exercise with dogs option, be careful when playing with large or aggressive dogs.
Tug of war can turn serious for some dog breeds fast which can put children and even adults at risk of injury.
7. Take a Hike
Depending on where you live, hiking could be a great way for you and your dog to not only burn a few calories but also to become closer to nature.
If you haven’t hiked with your dog before, choose a mild hiking trail for your first voyage. Then, gradually work your way up to more difficult terrains.
Always take care to stay on trails when hiking to avoid getting lost in the woods. Also, pack plenty of water for you and your dog while hiking and stay vigilant for snakes and other potentially harmful wildlife.
Wrapping Up Our Exercise for Dogs Tips
Exercise for dogs is deeply important when it comes to helping your dog live their best and healthiest lives. Helping your dog get the exercise that they need also has the benefit of giving you opportunities to keep up with your fitness goals.
Given that win-win reality, we recommend leveraging our simple exercise for dogs tips today!
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