Exercise Ideas for Keeping Dogs Happy and Healthy
Did you know that exercise isn’t only good for your dog’s health but their happiness too? Exercise doesn’t just keep dogs fit, it also has a holistic effect. Meaning, it isn’t just about weight management. Exercise can promote digestive, cognitive, and even mental health help to name just a few of its benefits. Feel like there’s just not enough time in the day to add exercise into your pup’s routine? You might be surprised to find out what counts as a work out!
Photo by Jamie Street
If the ole’ run in the neighborhood just isn’t cutting it anymore, a hiking trail or a beach can offer a change of scenery that also allows dogs to explore new scents and environments. When going to such locales isn’t a practical option, playing where dogs will have to go uphill to fetch works just as well.
Easy and regular is the name of the game when it comes to activities that promote digestive health. A walk can do wonders for getting dogs’ digestive system to keep things chugging along as they should. It can even work as a remedy if you notice your dog struggling with mild tummy aches or indigestion. Make sure a dog bathroom like Bark Potty is easily accessible at all times when dealing with digestive issues.
Swimming is a great low-impact form of exercise that strengthens joints without the pressure that dog joints normally face when it comes to walking or running. Have an older doggo who needs a less strenuous form of exercise? Doglates, a form of pilates for dogs, is a fun alternative that also promotes cognitive health.
A cognitive workout probably allows the most flexibility and creativity. Activities that include some brainwork can be as active or passive as desired. A game of hide and seek outdoors can be an exciting way to squeeze in some physical activity while also giving your dog’s noodle a workout, too. Need something indoors? Try a treasure hunt or an interactive toy with wholesome treats! Training, which may not feel like exercise, counts as well. Potty training, for instance, requires dogs to engage their senses to learn where to “go” and to use their memory of where pee pads are.
While cognitive health has to do with things like memory, recognition, and problem-solving, mental health has more to do with a dog’s state of mind. What makes a pooch feel content is different for each dog, so take your fur baby’s preferences into mind. And don’t underestimate how little it takes to up their quality of life. Even rolling around in fresh grass can make a huge difference for a city dwelling pup!
If you’re not sure what form of exercise is ideal for your dog, a vet can help determine what would be the most appropriate for your pup. Remember to always keep your dog’s overall health–age, illness, and breed dispositions like short snouts–in mind before engaging in physical activity.