If you're a dog owner, you already know that your canine friend needs plenty of exercise to stay happy and healthy. But just how much exercise does your dog need, and how do you know if they're getting enough?
RISK OF NOT ENOUGH EXERCISE
Just like humans, dogs need to be exercising regularly to stay in shape and avoid becoming overweight. One in four dogs is obese, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. As a result, this has been putting more dogs at risk of heart disease, diabetes, joint issues, and other serious medical problems.
Another risk that comes along with a lack of proper exercise is the development of behavioral problems. Do you ever notice yourself feeling antsy or crabby if you've spent too much time sitting in one place without being able to let out pent-up energy? Dogs can experience this too. They may start feeling frustrated and bored, which can result in excessive barking or even acting aggressively.
HOW MUCH EXERCISE IS ENOUGH?
This answer to the question above depends on the breed of dog you have as well as their age, size, and even, to an extent, their personality. Certain dogs may just be more prone to needing and wanting more exercise than others.
Unlike puppies, most adult dogs have high stamina and do better with longer, steadier exercise. Regular walks and exercise lasting about 60 minutes per day are recommended on average. However, some adult dogs may need more while others need less. In addition to breed, some dogs may have medical conditions or health issues that you should be aware of so that you don't push your pup too hard while exercising. Again, ask your vet if you have any specific questions.
SIGNS YOUR DOG NEEDS MORE EXERCISE
Not sure if your dog is getting enough exercise? Sometimes there can be obvious signs, as stated earlier, of your dog seeming restless, more aggressive, or barking more often. You may also find your dog getting into things they shouldn't be or trying to initiate playtime. Maybe your pup is even up to trying to play while the rest of your household is asleep. These can all be signs that they need a little more activity.
However, it's often a matter of trial and error to see if your dog is getting enough of a workout regularly. Experiment with more exercise on some days or less on others. Are you noticing any differences? You may even want to change up what kind of exercise they're getting, regardless of if you've discovered how much they need. It's always a good idea to change things up now and then! Besides simply going for walks or playing fetch, take your dog with you on a hike! Or have them join you the next time you go for a bicycle ride. Find some other games to play with them that involve activity along with listening to and obeying commands. Mental stimulation is just as important as physical activity and giving them new things to do will keep them alert and curious about the world around them!
Remember that no matter what stage of life your dog is at, exercise is just as important to them as it is to humans. Make this a priority in their routine so that they can stay healthy in every aspect of their well-being.