There is nothing cuter than seeing your dog all curled up sleeping or just relaxing. But if it seems like your dog spends the majority of its day laying around, its sedentary lifestyle could be taking a toll on its health. Obesity in dogs brings about many of the same concerns as it does in humans: added stress on the joints and increased risk of heart problems, kidney problems, high blood pressure, and more. It is important that your dog gets a moderate amount of exercise each day to promote better health.
April is Canine Fitness Month and a great time to reflect on just how much physical activity your dog is getting each day. Simply letting them out into the backyard may not be enough if they aren’t being very active while they’re out there. Wandering around sniffing or going out, doing their business, and coming back inside probably isn’t enough. As you’re fitting in your minimum of 30 minutes of daily exercise, consider including your dog as well. Here are just a few ways to boost your dog’s fitness:
Walking. This is the easiest way to start helping your dog become more active. Start with short walks at an easy pace, then work your way up to longer walks at a brisker pace, or more frequently throughout the day. Encourage them to keep moving on the way out, then you can give them more freedom to sniff and explore on the way back.
Play fetch. When you have your dog out in the backyard or at the park, encourage them to run and move more by throwing ball, stick, or frisbee that they must retrieve. If your dog isn’t into that, play some tug-of-war with a rope or toy, or simply let them run at a dog park with other animals. You want to get their heart rate up and their muscles working.
Try an agility course. Many local dog parks have agility courses built in, or you could create your own in your backyard. Get your dog to run, jump, climb, crawl, and move in different ways. This provides not only physical activity but mental stimulation as well. They must figure out how to maneuver each obstacle.
Go hiking. Go on an adventure together exploring a local wildlife reserve, forest, mountain, or other area. Hiking generally offers a variety of different terrains and obstacles, which can be good for your dog. It can keep their interest, expose them to different scents, and give them the chance to walk at different inclines and paces. Swimming can also be a wonderful activity to help your dog stay fit while being easy on their joints.
Use the stairs. One way to get your dog moving in your own home is to have them go up and down the stairs. Make it into a game, alternate the location of their food, or have them search for treats. A few laps up and down can be good exercise for when you’re inside.
Yes, rest is important for your dog, but so is physical activity. They need to burn off energy and get out of their sedentary slump. If your dog is snoozing away while you’re at work or out of town, consider signing them up for a doggie daycare program or boarding them at Lake Wylie Pet Resort. They’ll have plenty of opportunities to run and play while also enjoying some down time. Contact us today to book your dog’s stay.