Is Your Four-Legged Friend Getting Enough Exercise?
The Importance of Exercise for Dogs
We Aussies love the outdoors, or at least we understand the importance of a good, rigorous workout. And just like us, our dogs need regular exercise to keep them fit. Like humans, a consistent exercise routine helps maintain their body weight, improves cardiovascular health, boosts their mood, and increases their overall lifespan.
The Benefits of Regular Exercise for Dogs
Just like we thrive on physical activity, our dogs do too, and not just for the physical benefits.
Exercise stimulates their minds, feeding their innate instincts to hunt, chase, and explore. It also enables socialisation with other dogs and humans, essential for their social development and well-being.
Signs of Inadequate Exercise
But what happens when your pooch doesn't get enough exercise?
Without regular exercise, dogs can become anxious or even aggressive. Their pent-up energy can manifest in destructive behaviours, such as tearing up items in the house, excessive barking or digging holes in the garden; things you don't want to be coming home to!
Health Effects of Inadequate Exercise
Health-related issues for your canine companion can range from increased lethargy, and obesity (the most common effect of lack of exercise) which leads to stress on joints, heart disease, and a decreased lifespan; to more severe conditions such as diabetes.
And as far-fetched as this may sound for some, inadequate exercise can also lead to mental health problems. Dogs are highly intelligent, social animals who need interaction and stimulation. Deprived of these, they can develop depression and anxiety.
How Much Exercise Does Your Dog Need?
The amount of exercise a dog needs depends on its breed, age, size, and health. Generally, dogs should have at least one hour of physical activity every day. However, some active breeds like Border Collies or Australian Shepherds may need over two hours!
Puppies tend to have a lot of energy and may need several short periods of exercise, along with playtime each day. Older dogs may not require as much physical activity but should still be taken on short, gentle walks. If you're unsure, your vet can guide you on what's best for your specific dog breed and age.
Fun Ways to Keep Your Dog Active
You don't want exercise to be a tedious chore for either yourself or your canine friend. Keep things interesting by mixing up the routine. Instead of always going for a walk, you could play fetch, try agility training, or for water-loving breeds like Golden Retrievers, how about a trip to the beach, or your local dam or lake, if these are available options to you. Dog parks provide a great opportunity to interact with other dogs.
Puzzle toys that dispense treats can keep your dog mentally stimulated and busy.
So let's pledge to ensure our furry friends lead the active, healthy lifestyle they deserve. Any chance of having a good active session is bound to leave those tails wagging. After all, a fit dog is a happy dog!