Why exercise is an important part of your pet’s life
Just like humans, dogs are generally much healthier when getting enough exercise daily. There’s the obvious benefit of preventing obesity; which could lead to a string of health issues. An obese dog is prone to heart disease, diabetes, arthritis and urinary infections. Apart from this, an inactive dog can also suffer from depression. What people seem to have forgotten is that dogs were bred for certain jobs in the old days. Dogs were bred for hunting, scavenging, guarding and labor such as herding and pulling sleds. Dogs nowadays still have all those instincts, but their days are spent in confinement and many are left alone for most of the day. Just like us, a dog that’s not living up to its full potential will start to feel an emotional need for more and start feeling depressed.
Health risks are not the only negative side effect of not exercising your dog enough. When your dog has too much energy and no good way to rid himself of that energy, he might start displaying unwanted behaviour. Yes, all that chewing, digging, barking and howling that drives you as pet owner crazy can be prevented. Pets that don’t get enough exercise also tend to be hyperactive and will jump on people. So if Fluffy is driving you crazy, he might be telling you he needs more exercise.
Dog owners who have a backyard tend to think that simply because Fluffy has space to run, he will do so if he needs to. But for a dog, exercise is all about the interaction with their human. You are the only motivation they need, and letting your dog exercise can be a fun activity for both of you. Playing fetch in the backyard, taking him for a walk or a run, running up and down stairs; all of these are excellent ways to help your pet get their heart rate up and improve the quality of their life. In a confined space such as an apartment, a fun way to get your dog to exercise physically and mentally is by building an obstacle course and then guiding him through it. Remember that tip for those days that are just too cold or hot to go outside, as exercise during extreme weather could be harmful to your dog.
How much exercise your dog should get is dependent on their size and breed. Hunting dogs such as terriers have more energy than guarding dogs, and thus need more exercise. Small dogs with shorter legs need less exercise than larger dogs and would generally be winded much quicker. Other breeds have certain traits that determine how much or what type of exercise they would need. So always make sure to research your breed and find out as much about their abilities, strengths and weaknesses as possible to help them live long and happy lives.
And always remember… Happy Fluffy equals happy home!
Article by Zerelda Daniels