4 Exercises to Keep Your Pet Healthy

Dog Walking

Dogs are an important member of many families, and in order to keep them at their happiest and healthiest, they need regular exercise. If your dog isn’t getting enough exercise, they can exhibit behavioral problems like digging, barking, or trouble settling down at night. The following four tips will help keep your furry friend happy and in shape!

Go for a Walk

This is the easiest way to get your dog some exercise. If you have a young puppy, don’t push it to jog or run, as its bones are still forming and can get injured easily, and be careful with older dogs that may have joint pain. Dogs do well with about 30 minutes of walking or jogging at a time, and should ideally be taken out twice a day. If you have short nosed dogs, such as pugs or French bulldogs, make sure you give them time to take breaks; their short nose makes it difficult for them to breathe, and they don’t handle heat as well as their longer snouted counterparts.

Use Toys

Dog Fetch

Fetch is great, especially when you have dogs with a lot of energy to burn off and you aren’t up for going on marathon walks. All you need is a decent amount of yard space and their toy of choice. If you’d like to give them more of a mental work out, consider purchasing a puzzle toy to use; they’ll have to figure out how to get the treat out of the inside, which also gives you more time in between runs, which is helpful if you’re doing outside chores while playing with your dogs.

Hit the Pool

Dog Swimming

Dogs are natural swimmers and most love swimming, especially during the hot summer months. While some dogs are flat out not interested in water, you’re lucky if your dog likes to swim—it’s great exercise and low impact, which makes it perfect for older dogs who may have joint pain. If your dog is swimming in the pool, give it a quick rinse off with the hose so that the chlorine doesn’t irritate its skin later on. Try to avoid lakes or ponds with a lot of algae, which can have harmful bacteria for your dog. If you’re not sure whether swimming is a good exercise for your dog, chat with a board-certified vet.

Hide and Seek

If you have a smart dog that needs a lot of mental stimulation, consider teaching your dog to play hide and seek. Take your dog’s favorite toy or treat, something your dog would be motivated to find, and hide it somewhere in the house, ideally at the dog’s eye level or under, and then let him or her go find it. This is a great game for hounds but can be taught to and enjoyed by any dog. Not only will your dog get exercise from running around the house looking, but he or she will also enjoy the challenge of finding the treat.

There are lots of ways to provide your pet exercise. These are just a few ideas for keeping dogs healthy and living a long, healthy life.

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Dr. Jade Marie Tomaszewski is a pathologist-in-training at McGill University, where she also did her degree in MSc Pathology. She obtained her medical degree (MD) from the University of the Philippines, after completing a BSc in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology. In her (little) spare time, she enjoys spending time with family, curling up with a book and a large mug of tea, and trying out new recipes in the kitchen. You can follow her on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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