Like humans, dogs require regular exercise to stay fit and healthy. But unfortunately, when our life gets busy, many of us forget to give our dogs the routine activities they deserve.
And this lack of movement exposes dogs to many diseases, which is not a good sign for a dog’s health.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused rising pet obesity globally, especially in dogs.
According to experts, almost one-third of the pet parents said that their pet became overweight during the lockdown. And, this led to many problems like dizziness, lazy behavior, and lethargy in dogs.
As a dog owner, you should keep checking your dog’s body weight and health to counter the risk of uncertain diseases.
In this detailed guide, you’ll learn some innovative ways to keep your dog fit without exerting excess effort.
Before considering options to keep your dog fit, let’s find out how much exercise is actually required by our beloved dogs.
How much exercise do dogs need?
Generally speaking, the amount of exercise required by dogs depends upon your dog’s breed, age, and lifestyle.
Most dogs need at least 30 to 60 minutes of daily physical activity. But this varies and depends on your dog’s breed.
For example, guarding or military dog breeds such as a German Shepherd or Doberman are naturally strong. For them, even 10 to 20 minutes of physical activity is enough to stay healthy and fit.
On the other hand, dog breeds such as Labrador or Golden Retriever tend to get fatter if they don’t get enough exercise.
Exercise goes beyond walking and running. Any activity that keeps your dog moving helps keep them in shape.
5 easy ways to keep your dog fit and happy
Now that you understand why exercise is vital for your dogs, let’s find some options to keep your dog active and healthy.
There are many engaging activities for dogs. As a dog owner, your goal should be to keep them happy while they’re trying different activities. Watch your dog and monitor his breathing to prevent overexertion.
Let your dog socialize with other dogs
You might wonder how socialization keeps your dog healthy.
Dogs who have excellent social skills are less fearful and likely to explore new places. This helps boost their mental health by reducing anxiety. In addition, dogs who love interacting and playing with other breeds are more likely to lead happier and healthier lives.
If a dog is anxious, he can exhibit problem behaviors like excessive barking, scratching, digging, or chewing.
Feed your dog a nutritious and balanced diet
A balanced diet is crucial for keeping your dog fit and healthy.
Owners need to understand that different dog breeds have different tastes and needs. While some dogs enjoy a plant-based diet, others need meat.
While determining a diet for your dog, select nutritious dog food that provides:
- High protein
- High fiber
- Limited oil and grease
Consider gluten-free meals and avoid highly-processed foods. And most importantly, feed your dog something they enjoy eating. When your dog starts enjoying their meals, they naturally become stress-free and their metabolism gets stronger.
Swimming and water activities
Water activities can do wonders for dogs to keep them fit. Swimming is one of the best alternatives for dogs who hate running or who have joint problems.
You’ll be surprised to know that for dogs one minute of swimming is equivalent to four minutes of running.
Water-resistance while swimming helps dogs build muscles and strengthen their cardiovascular systems.
Remember too much playtime in water can be harmful to dogs. Spending excessive time in water can lead to water intoxication and hyponatremia In dogs.
Swimming at least once a week typically is enough to keep your dog fit and healthy.
Outdoor dog sports
Dogs are capable of doing amazing things, and outdoor sports are a great way to challenge them. Moreover, dogs love to play outside.
Here are three outdoor activities or sports you can try with your dog:
- Agility training
- Jogging and running
- Camping and hiking
Consult your vet before starting with high-intensity workouts for your dog.
Rewards and treats
Rewarding dogs can be beneficial to your dog’s mental health.
Also, positive reinforcement is one of the easiest ways to train and educate a dog. Proper training helps make dogs well-behaved and calm.
Whenever your dog learns a new command, for example, sit or stay, you reward them with a treat. This teaches your dog good things happen when he follows your directions.
You can decide how to reward your dog. You can give them food treats, new toys, or even a cuddle with you.
Final thoughts to keep your dog fit and healthy
Working to keep your dog fit and healthy is one of the most important challenges for dog owners. Check on your dog’s mental and physical health regularly.
If you suspect your dog’s energy level is dropping without a logical reason, consult your vet to make sure he’s getting the proper diet and effective exercise.
Follow these tips to keep your dog fit so he can live his best life and enjoy every moment with you.
Harsh Goyal is the founder of Improve Dogs, a comprehensive blog for modern dog training techniques and dog lifestyle. He enjoys researching and writing on new dog trends, dog industry statistics, DIY dog guides, etc. In the meantime, you’ll find him exploring mountains and enjoying the company of his dog.