The best type of exercise is when they don’t even realize they’re exercising. I like to mask working-out by doing things I know we’ll all enjoy such as:
- Walk on the beach – that soft sand is sure to get everyone’s thighs burning
- Hike in nature – The fresh air is so rejuvenating, and dodging the fallen limbs and branches is a sure way to you alert and on your toes
- Spend some extra time at an off-leash dog park – sometimes the mere act of a new doggy friend is exerting
- Go for a swim – This is a great way to keep cool, and still get some exercise
- Dog + Yoga = Doga – this will not only strengthen the bond with your dog, but also help decrease stress and anxiety in your dog (great for small dogs)
Much like with humans, there is no “right” way to exercise when it comes to your dog. There are a number of variables to consider like your dogs breed and size (snout and other factors that affect the breathing), weight (you don’t want to over exert), personality (some dogs are just lazy, happens’), and build (leg size/muscle mass). Here are some of the best types of exercises based on some of these factors.
Large breed (in height and girth) | I.e. Great Danes, Bernese, Greyhounds – Brisk Walks for about 20-30 minutes or less a day. Long walks or hikes can be hard on their joints.
Large breed (standard snout)| I.e. Pointers, Ridgebacks – Running will help these dogs stay in shape. These breeds can endure up to 3 miles after their first year.
Large breed (short snout) | I.e. Mastiffs, Boxers, and Chows - Brisk Walks for about 20-30 minutes a day. These quick and untimely walks will help these types of dogs avoid overheating and over-exerting.
Water lovers (med sized dogs who can obtain much of their exercise through water activities) | I.e. Labradors, Golden Retrievers, Springer Spaniels, Poodles – 20-30 minutes a day in a clean body of water (deeper than a bath tub)
Small breed (short legs, long backs) I.e. Basset hounds, Dachshunds – Short brisk walks, try to avoid jumping or playing fetch.
Small breed (standard snout) | I.e. Chihuahuas, Yorkie’s – These dogs are known sniffing machines! Hide their treat or favorite toy and let them hunt for it.
Small breed (short snout) | I.e. Pugs, Bulldogs, Terriers, Shih Tzus – Create an obstacle course or a small obtainable goal that requires movement. Have them jump over a roll of paper towels to win a treat!
A few things to have on hand while exercising with your dog
- Poop bags
There are other aspects to be considered when exercising aside from just weight loss/maintenance. Here are a few more reasons why pet-exercise is so important.
- Removes Toxins – this is powered by muscle movement to the lymphatic regions
- Brain stimulation – as little as 20 minutes of exercise a day has shown to increase information processing and memory function
- Slows aging
- Sensory enhancement – exercise increases circulation to the ears and eyes
- Strengthens bones and muscles – exercise can decrease the chances for brittle bones in your dog’s upcoming years, this will reduce chances of diagnosis such as osteoporosis
- Improves behavior – getting that little extra bit of energy and endurance out every day will help tremendously with keeping your dog’s behavior and energy consistent; some may compare this to a runner’s high
Like I mentioned earlier, there is no right way to exercise. Anything from fetch in your own backyard to taking the long way home from dinner can greatly benefit your dog’s physicality and overall health. You just have to look :)
Plus, summer brings so many more opportunities!