Dog Exercise Essentials

Dog Exercise Essentials

Dog exercise is a necessity. As a dog owner, you need to realize that dogs don''t just want exercise, they actually need it.

Regular exercise is every bit as important for dogs as it is for people.

Some breeds need more exercise than others, of course. For example, large dogs need more exercise than tiny toy dogs, and dogs bred to pull a sled or hunt all day need more exercise than dogs bred to be lap dogs.

But no matter what type or size dog you own, and no matter how young or old he is, your dog needs at least some exercise each and every day.

Making sure that your dog has the right type and amount of exercise is one of your main responsibilities as a dog owner, right up there with ensuring that your dog has the proper nutrition, shelter and veterinary care.

But why is dog exercise so important?

Well, because it''s absolutely essential for your dog''s physical and mental wellbeing. Let''s talk about some of the reasons regular exercise is so important for your dog''s body first.

The Impact of Dog Exercise on Physical Health

Obesity is becoming a major canine health issue. Vets in the US estimate that between 20 and 40 percent of the dogs they examine are overweight, and many of those are obese.

In addition to reducing a dog''s ability to handle high temperatures, excess pounds can significantly reduce a dog''s physical stamina. But that''s not the worst of it.

Overweight dogs are also more prone to joint problems such as arthritis, high blood pressure and other cardiovascular diseases, diabetes mellitus, respiratory issues and a host of other potentially serious health conditions.

It is incumbent upon every dog owner to ensure that his or her dog receives the wholesome, nutritious food and regular exercise that are necessary to avoid obesity. A proper diet isn''t enough to prevent a dog from gaining too much weight - regular exercise is also essential.

Like people, dogs simply are not meant to be inactive. Instead, their bodies are designed to run and jump and play and go for long walks. You should never allow your dog to get fat.

Regular exercise will improve his cardiovascular health and tone his muscles to their optimal condition. A dog in excellent physical condition will be better equipped to fight off disease and will have a much better chance at a long, healthy life than an overweight dog. And one of the keys to achieving tip-top physical condition is regular exercise.

Dog Exercise as a Means of Preventing Behavioral Problems

It''s often said that "a tired dog is a well-behaved dog." In addition to tending to be physically healthier, dogs that get plenty of exercise on a regular basis tend to sleep better and be more content with life. The proper amount and type of dog exercise can help prevent boredom and many of the behavioral problems associated with it, such as inappropriate barking, chewing or digging. Exercise can also help prevent the destructive behavior that often arises when a dog has excess energy it needs to burn off.

Exercise provides a healthy, appropriate way for a dog to avoid boredom as well as release the excess energy that could otherwise lead to a number of behavioral problems. Lack of adequate exercise is one of the main causes of dog behavioral problems.

A physically active, well exercised dog is much less likely to get into trouble than a dog that leads a sedentary life.

So, How Much and What Type of Dog Exercise is Appropriate?

Dogs have different energy levels, so different dogs need different amounts and types of exercise.

As a general rule, large dogs and dogs with high energy levels need more physical exercise than smaller dogs and those with lower energy levels. For example, a brisk walk around the block might be enough exercise for a toy Poodle or a teacup Chihuahua, but it wouldn''t even be a warm-up for a high-energy dog like a Jack Russell Terrier or a Pointer.

Dogs with naturally high energy levels may not get enough exercise even when they are taken for very long walks on a daily basis. In fact, if you have one of these dogs, you might be worn out long before your dog.

High-energy dogs often require an additional "level" of exercise, something much more strenuous than a simple walk, no matter how long it is.

Agility training might provide the perfect outlet for all this energy. It''s strenuous, fun for your dog, and it provides the perfect bonding opportunity, too. Just don''t overdo it, especially if you have a pup or a senior dog.

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